Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (Cops w/ anti war of drugs)

truroutetruroute Posts: 251
edited October 2006 in A Moving Train
edit: messed up thread title. oops

MMMMM K.

I like the idea that cops are actually seeing how dumb and useless the "war on drugs" is.



http://www.ctnow.com/custom/nmm/newhavenadvocate/hce-nha-0921-nh39drugcops39.artsep21,0,4369099.story




Just Say 'Yes'

Drug Attitude Reformation Education
September 21, 2006
By Casey Miner It's 7 p.m. on a Wednesday, and a ponytailed man is speaking with no small enthusiasm to a small room filled with laughing people, devouring their dinners and listening with rapt attention as he cajoles them to help him legalize every illicit drug in America.

If you’re flashing back to your teenage years and picturing a basement filled with stoned kids and aspiring Timothy Learys, think again. The merry audience is the North Branford Rotary Club, one chapter of the international civic organization that leans towards older and more conservative membership. The charismatic speaker is Peter Christ, a retired police officer who spent twenty years arresting people for drug offenses before retiring and enlisting in the drug policy reform movement.

Christ is the founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan group of law enforcement professionals—including FBI agents, DEA agents, judges, parole officers, and prison wardens—who believe the best way to win the war on drugs is to abandon it altogether. Bringing the drug trade under the same level of regulation as alcohol, tobacco and prescription medication, LEAP argues, would eliminate almost overnight the crime and violence problems that for many people are inextricable from the drug war and allow the government to focus its resources on treating the public health issues surrounding addiction. The event at Nataz restaurant in North Branford kicked off LEAP’s Connecticut tour, which will stop at over 40 civic clubs around Connecticut between now and November.

“Let me ask a question,” says Christ, rubbing his hands together like a magician about to draw a dove from thin air. “Does anyone in this room believe we can do anything in this society to make drugs go away?”

No hands go up. Christ nods.

“If it’s seriously possible to end this drug war by making drugs go away, by locking more people up and building more prisons, then I’ll tell you I’m the biggest drug warrior you ever saw. But I agree with the rest of you here who didn’t raise your hands: That’s not a choice. That isn’t one of our choices.”

Jack Cole’s voice crackles over the telephone, worn down by age and static.

“The thing I remember most is no matter what we did, no matter how hard we worked or how many hours we put in, there were always more drugs at the end of the day than at the beginning of the day.”

Cole, LEAP’s executive director, spent twelve years as an undercover narcotics officer in New Jersey. He estimates that over a thousand people went to jail as a result of his work. Every one of them haunts him.

“A good undercover agent is a cross between a magician and a con artist. You mislead and misdirect and make people think that they want to become your friend, not that it’s the other way around.

“I used to think of myself as a chameleon. When I was a kid, many many years ago, they used to sell those little lizards at circuses with a chain around their necks and a safety pin. You’d pin them to your shirt and whatever color your shirt was, their skin would turn that color, in order to hide them. I changed everything about me except my skin color to fit in with those individuals, became whatever they wanted me to be, their best friend, their closest confidant, so I could betray them and send them to jail. As soon as I finished with one I would start with another. Friendship, betrayal, jail, over and over again.

“I can’t tell you how many of those people, mostly young, mostly poor, probably mostly people of color, would have gone on to have a perfectly good, healthy, happy lives had I not come across their path.”

The numbers in America’s drug war are grim. The FBI has reported over 1.5 million drug arrests every year since 1996, fewer than one third of which involve violent crimes. Since President Nixon declared war on drugs in 1970, the cost has run over a trillion dollars, though the flow of drugs through the country has in no way abated. In Connecticut, nearly 25 percent of prisoners are incarcerated for drug offenses, a disproportionate 47 percent of whom are black men. Mandatory minimum sentences account for many of these incarcerations, including penalties triggered for offenses like selling drugs within 1,500 feet of a school. The only place in New Haven that is not within 1,500 feet of a school is the Yale golf course.

The cost alone is enough to convince many people that it’s time to change course. Ironically, says Christ, it’s often easier to convert hard-core conservatives than it is liberals.

“All I have to do is say, ‘We’ve wasted a trillion dollars in 36 years and every year we continue we’ll throw another 69 billion down the rathole.’ They say, ‘Not with my taxes you don’t.’”

Cole estimates that about 80 percent of people LEAP speaks with agree with their position. People at law enforcement and legislative conferences often admit they’ve held those beliefs for years, he says. Now LEAP wants to build on its apparent success by doubling its membership from 5,000 to 10,000 by 2008, a number the group thinks will give it enough leverage to make drug policy a major issue in the presidential election.

“We don’t have to get any of the presidential candidates to say they agree with us, we just have to get them to talk about it,” says Cole. It’s a stance reminiscent of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, a group Christ credits with inspiring LEAP.

LEAP does not offer suggestions for how legal drugs would be regulated and distributed because its members hold a diverse range of opinions on the topic. Instead, the group aims to bring awareness to the drug war and to destigmatize the “L-word” – legaliaztion.

One thing all members apparently agree on: drug prohibition works no better than alcohol prohibition did in the 1920s.

“We cannot win this thing for you,” Christ told his audience in a rare serious moment. “This is not doable using us.”

By the end of the night, he had nine new members.
Post edited by Unknown User on

Comments

  • miller8966miller8966 Posts: 1,452
    I dont care about pot...but heroin and other drugs should be illegal and be punishable with jail.
    America...the greatest Country in the world.
  • aNiMaLaNiMaL Posts: 7,089
    miller8966 wrote:
    but heroin and other drugs should be illegal and be punishable with jail.
    What does that solve??? Or should I ask; what has this solved so far with this method?
  • miller8966miller8966 Posts: 1,452
    aNiMaL wrote:
    What does that solve??? Or should I ask; what has this solved so far with this method?

    SO you think nothing should be done about hard drugs?
    America...the greatest Country in the world.
  • CollinCollin Posts: 4,932
    Finally.
    THANK YOU, LOSTDAWG!


    naděje umírá poslední
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