By Paul Armentano
Just in case this recent CNN headline — “Government: More than 22,000 dead in Mexico drug war” — didn’t make this point crystal clear, we now have a scientific study published by the good folks at International Centre for Science in Drug Policy to drive home the painfully obvious.
Study links drug enforcement to more violence
via The Associated Press
The surge of gunbattles, beheadings and kidnappings that has accompanied Mexico’s war on drug cartels is an entirely predictable escalation in violence based on decades of scientific literature, a new study contends.
A systematic review published Tuesday of more than 300 international studies dating back 20 years found that when police crack down on drug users and dealers, the result is almost always an increase in violence, say researchers at the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, a nonprofit group based in Britain and Canada.
… In 87 percent of the studies reviewed, intensifying drug law enforcement resulted in increased rates of drug market violence. Some of the studies included in the report said violence increases because power vacuums are created when police kill or arrest top drug traffickers. None showed a significant decrease in violence.
Predictably, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske — like all prohibitionists — would rather stick his head in the sand than acknowledge the obvious.
When asked whether he believes that legalizing and regulating marijuana — the crop that, according to his own office, provides Mexican drug lords with over 60% of their present profits — would in any way stave this ongoing violence, he responded: “I don’t know of any reason that legalizing something that essentially is bad for you would make it better, from a fiscal standpoint or a public health standpoint or a public safety standpoint.”
Really? So does the Drug Czar favor outlawing alcohol, tobacco, red meat, trans-fats, soda, corn syrup, junk food, caffeine, sugar, and any one of thousands of other products and activities that are “essentially bad for you” too?
And what about those 20,000+ dead since 2006 — many as a direct result of the United State’s prohibitionists policies? The Drug Czar doesn’t believe that staving such violence isn’t benefiting the public’s health? (Answer: You can’t make someone understand when it is in their job description not to.)
Sickeningly, ex-Drug Czar John Walters does Gil K. even one better — reiterating the notion (previously expressed by pending DEA head Michelle Leonheart) that the soaring violence and death south of the border is a sign that U.S. marijuana prohibition is working!
According to the AP: “The former drug czar, John Walters, said the researchers gravely misinterpret drug violence. He said spikes of attacks and killings after law enforcement crackdowns are almost entirely between criminals, and therefore may, in a horrible, paradoxical way, reflect success. ‘They’re shooting each other, and the reason they’re doing that is because they’re getting weaker,’ he said.”
Yes, you read that right. In John Walters’ deluded mind, murder victims Lesley Enriquez, — who worked at the U.S. Consulate and was four months pregnant — and her husband must have been ‘criminals,’ and the rising death toll on the U.S./Mexico border is obviously a human billboard of our success!
It’s now apparent that only a fool — or someone who is paid to act like one — would fail to see that it is time to remove the production and distribution of marijuana out of the hands of violent criminal enterprises and into the hands of licensed businesses. Of course, the only way to do that is through legalization — yet this is a policy that, tragically, remains devoid from the Drug Czar’s, and the President’s, vocabulary.