Saturday, May 19, 2012

Updates on America's Shameful War on Drugs, Which Has Spread to Mexico and Killed 55,000

1. George Will's latest Washington Post column highlights the shameful government overreach that is part of America's costly "War on Drugs Peaceful Americans Who Voluntarily Choose To Use Intoxicants Not Currently Approved of by the Government, Who Will Put Users in Cages if Caught."  It's titled "When the Looter is the Government," and profiles a case I featured on CD last October about a 68-year old Massachusetts businessman Russ Caswell who operates a budget hotel that has been in his family since 1955.  Unfortunately for him, he owns the $1.5 million property free-and-clear, and that's one reason the government is motivated to confiscate his property under the civil forfeiture statute of "equitable sharing," which George Will describes as "a process of government enrichment that often is indistinguishable from robbery."

Reason? In the last 20 years, 30 motel customers have been arrested on drug-dealing charges, which represents 1/20th of 1% of the 125,000 rooms that have been rented out during that time.  Mr. Caswell is fighting the seizure of his property and is being represented by the Institute for Justice.  But even if he prevails in court, it's shameful that the case has gotten this far, and even a legal victory for Mr. Caswell would still leave him as another victim of the War on Drugs for all of the personal costs of his ordeal.  

2. America's War on Drugs has exported our drug-related problems of crime, gangs, and violence to Mexico, where more than 8,000 corpses left across the country since 2006 have not even been identified, and where more than 5,000 people who have disappeared during the drug violence sweeping the country have never been tracked down, according to this Bloomberg report.  

"The sheer scale of the carnage makes it difficult for authorities to handle the murder cases. The latest violence has pushed the total number of drug-related deaths to around 55,000 since President Felipe Calderon assumed power in December 2006. Emergency teams have had to confront mass graves with more than 200 corpses, dozens of bodies thrown into mine shafts and massacres such as the 49 headless corpses found last week."

Note that the number of drug-related deaths in Mexico is about the same as the number of American casualties during The Vietnam War, so it makes the use of the term "war" very appropriate.  

3. To get a powerful visual understanding of the impact of the "War on Drugs 55,000 Mexicans Who Have Given Their Lives Because of Shameful, Senseless Government Policies in the U.S. and Mexico," check out this collection of 44 recent photographs from Mexico's drug war and the people so horribly affected by it, from The Atlantic (Mexico's Drug War: 50,000 Dead in Six Years), with this caution:

Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full. There are many dead bodies; the photographs are graphic and stark. This is the reality of the situation in Mexico right now.

17 Comments:

At 5/19/2012 11:06 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The War on Drugs has many beneficiaries. They will fight tooth and nail to keep it going no matter how much damage is done to society and to innocent individuals.

 
At 5/19/2012 1:57 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

How about all the illegal drug users in the U.S. stop for a year to weaken the drug cartels. So, law enforcement can much more easily capture or kill the criminals.

It's shameful innocent people suffer, just because of ignorant, inconsiderate, or irresponsible drug users.

 
At 5/19/2012 1:59 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Of course, it's easier for drug users to just shift blame.

 
At 5/19/2012 2:27 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Good God

 
At 5/19/2012 3:04 PM, Blogger kuhchung said...

@PeakTrader
Yeah, there's definitely some blame shifting going on here. But you're the guilty one, not the drug users.

 
At 5/19/2012 3:06 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

How about all the illegal drug users in the U.S. stop for a year to weaken the drug cartels. So, law enforcement can much more easily capture or kill the criminals.

Who are you to tell people that they can't drink, smoke, or ingest something that you do not like?

It's shameful innocent people suffer, just because of ignorant, inconsiderate, or irresponsible drug users.

Nonsense. What people do to their own bodies is their business. What next? Will busybodies and nannies call for regulating the use of salt, sugar, or fatty meats? Where will you fools stop?

 
At 5/19/2012 4:54 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

"Of course, it's easier for drug users to just shift blame"
________________

I'm not a drug user at all. I don't even use the legal ones.

But the "blame" for the drug war lies with the politicians who support it (and with the people who make "campaign contributions" to politicians in exchange for continuing the war).

 
At 5/19/2012 5:00 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

After the Republicans get finished "defunding" Obamacare, they ought to turn their attention to defunding the DEA.

 
At 5/19/2012 6:30 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

I guess, some people believe individuals should choose which laws to obey, regardless of the consequences or costs to other people, as long as they're satisfied.

Afterall, that's what's important.

 
At 5/19/2012 9:32 PM, Blogger Bill Champ said...

Mr. Perry says "1/20th of 1%." George Will says, "1/500th of 1%".

1/20th of 1% is 0.0005

1/500th of 1% is 0.00002

But I say 30 / 125,000 = 0.00024

Or one quarter of one tenth of one percent.

Or one arrest for every 4,166 room rentings.

 
At 5/19/2012 9:47 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

George Will said 5/100ths of 1 percent, which I think is the same as 1/20th of 1 percent, no?

It actually should be 1/40th of 1%, maybe the Washington Post will run a correction?

 
At 5/20/2012 6:11 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Obviously George Will is speaking from a totally different reality considering that this line, "Peaceful Americans Who Voluntarily Choose To Use Intoxicants" has damn little basis in reality...

 
At 5/20/2012 6:15 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Nonsense. What people do to their own bodies is their business."...

Well right there vangeIV is your problem, that's not what people do to merely their own bodies, its wat they do to others...

Don't go all George Will on me now...

 
At 5/20/2012 9:15 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I guess, some people believe individuals should choose which laws to obey, regardless of the consequences or costs to other people, as long as they're satisfied.

Not exactly. Some people believe that in what should be a free country there are bad laws that should not be obeyed. There isn't a single day that the average American does not break some law. There isn't a single American who knows all of the laws that are on the books. That includes all lawyers and all judges.

Why should there be a law that regulates the amount of water that flows through your shower? Should you be fined or jailed if you fix the shower heads so that you use more water than someone in Washington thinks is appropriate?

Why is it illegal to play Dominoes on Sunday in Alabama?

Should people really face the death penalty for putting salt on a railroad track?

Why should voluntary but "unnatural" intercourse result in 10 years of jail time and a $10,000 fine in Mississippi?

And why should it be legal for the state to sterilize people against their will?

You are clearly one of those people, and there are plenty on the left and right, who believe that all of your rights come from the state. That if the state says that something is all right than it is all right or that if it says that something is wrong it is wrong. Well, the morality of serfdom is not compatible with a free society.

 
At 5/20/2012 9:17 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Well right there vangeIV is your problem, that's not what people do to merely their own bodies, its wat they do to others...

We already have laws against violence and theft. The War against Drugs has nothing to do with them. It is an exercise in prohibition that is cheered on by imbeciles who do not remember history very well or know anything about human nature.

 
At 5/20/2012 3:32 PM, OpenID Fallibilist said...

Juandos thinks his puerile graphic can substitute for a reasoned argument.

Juandos, if you think the secondary effects of drug use--independent of those caused or exacerbated by the Drug War--are worth keeping drugs illegal, then make the argument with facts and logic, not cutesy pictures.

 
At 5/22/2012 8:38 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Fallibilist you're a naive idiot and apparently proud of it...

 

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