Monday, October 13, 2008

The Idiotic Drug War And The Idiots Who Cheer For It

It's a damn holiday. I wanted to do some quick little post about nothing of importance. Maybe snicker at something stupid someone said accidentally or whatever it is I try to pass off as humor around here.

Sadly, this was not to be.

You see, the Fitchburg Police Department has decided that instead of doing something valuable with their time they should devote a whole lot of effort to busting low-level drug dealers.

So some people are probably having a slightly more difficult time getting pot than they did a week ago. Don't you feel safer already?

To make matters worse, they're talking about all this asset forfeiture bullshit. If you're not familiar with it, asset forfeiture laws basically allow the cops to steal the stuff of anyone in any way related to a drug offense. It's abused basically as a matter of policy.

So yeah, I'm not behind this current pointless law enforcement theater. But as anyone familiar with them should already know, the editors of the S&E love it.

Their editorial is entitled New approach against drug crimes will make a difference, which is both unsupported by the facts and laughably naive. Shocking, isn't it?

Let's look at some idiocy:
For literally years now, we have been saying that police and prosecutors, along with city officials and judges, need to start treating drug offenses like the serious crimes they are, and stop coddling drug addicts, who by definition are criminals.
Oh fuck you, editorialist! This "drug addicts are by definition criminals" argument is the oldest and stupidest argument in the prohibitionist's arsenal.

Fornication is illegal in Massachusetts. If you have sex before marriage, you are by definition a criminal. So we could just as easily change the above to say:
For literally years now, we have been saying that police and prosecutors, along with city officials and judges, need to start treating fornication like the serious crime it is, and stop coddling fornicators, who by definition are criminals.
Shit, they probably actually do think that.

The point is, just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's inherently wrong. Apparently the big-government Republican assholes behind this editorial like having the government legislate their morality, but the rest of us can do just fine without the help, thanks.

Also, hey assholes, drug addicts are NOT criminal by definition. The vast majority of people with a drug problem use only legal drugs (alcohol, mostly). So let's stop with the bullshit argument already.

Whatever. Moving on:
DeMoura said that any property where a drug dealer has been arrested will receive a letter addressed to the landlord or listed owner warning them to evict or eject any tenants that are committing illegal activity.

DeMoura said if no action is taken by the landlord then the owner can be fined between $100 and $1,000, imprisoned for between three months and one year, or the house can be seized.
There's our friend asset forfeiture again.

Don't misunderstand what's going on here. The landlord is being told to evict or eject any tenants that are committing illegal activity. If they don't do this, they face fines, imprisonment, or even the seizure of the house. Even though they had nothing at all to do with the alleged crime, the landlord could suffer serious repercussions.

Why do they do this?

Well, courts have a funny way of considering you innocent until you're proven guilty. I'm sure the S&E doesn't back that either, but that's the way it is. Landlords, on the other hand, aren't bound by that (though they may be bound by the lease).

An arrest took place on their property. That's not a conviction, that's an arrest. It could all be a big mistake. The landlord still has to do the eviction thing, apparently. And they have to evict anyone who's "committing illegal activity." Man, I hope nobody has any speeding tickets!

How, pray tell, is the landlord supposed to know if someone's committing illegal activity? Most people make an effort to keep their illegal activities pretty quiet. But hey, the police don't care about your fancy "rights" and other liberal claptrap. They care about intimidating your landlord into kicking you out of your home, even if there's no basis. Better yet, if your landlord is the principled sort who doesn't want to go along with it, they can fuck up his/her life seriously. Hooray for our great protectors!

But if you ask the S&E, those great protectors aren't worth a damn unless they also punish, punish, PUNISH the already-presumed-guilty!
As important as the actions taken this week are, it's just as important that judges set high bails in these drug cases, and then implement strict sentences when a defendant is found guilty.

Likewise, city officials, working with our Statehouse delegation, should do everything they can to rid the city of Fitchburg, and particularly Main Street and the downtown -- of non-profits that cater to drug addicts.
Oh yeah, and that's who the real guilty party is! It's non-profit organizations that make an effort to help people with substance abuse problems! Those fucking assholes, with all their compassion and their "helping your fellow man"!
It's long past time to get serious about fighting drugs and to throw these failed treating the criminal like a victim or client policies out the window.
There's your final sentence of the editorial. It's a garbled sentence, but the message is clear.

Do you have a substance abuse problem?

Well then, according to the Sentinel you don't have a medical problem, you are a problem. You're not sick, you're a criminal. The system isn't corrupt, you are. And they'll do everything they can to influence asshole cops and spineless lawmakers into ruining your entire life.

We need to take this power away from the cops and the lawmakers (the editorialists are already impotent, they can whine all they like). For now, make sure you vote for Question 2, and help move us in the right direction.

This stupid war on drugs helps nobody. It's just the way that moralizing nitwits like the S&E's editorialist get their rocks off. They clap and giggle when people's lives are ruined. And for what? Because some people like to put things in their body that the government doesn't like.

That's it. That's what people go to jail for.

Time for the government and the police to face reality. Understand that people have always taken mood-altering substances. Get over it. Decriminalize it. And let's start helping those who suffer instead of making everything worse.