Like a lot of people I have a fascination with American police forces and the legal system, watching television programmes from Cops to Judging Amy, C S I all over the place, Boston Legal, even Dexter with his own brand of justice, I grew up watching Jack Webb and Broderick Crawford keep us all safe.
There is such a wide range of enforcement agencies, Constables, Sheriff’s, each county having its own representative answerable to the local populace and elected by them. Next municipal and City police forces, some of these are vast organisations employing thousands. I was amazed to find that in the US there are over 19000 local and state enforcement agencies, this does not count volunteer groups or subcontractors, just full-time officers, and it does not include federal agencies, the last year that figures are available, 2006, showed that U S spent 214bn Dollars on law enforcement, Judiciary, and confinement, and a huge proportion of this on Drugs and drug related crime. I have wondered what a criminals Tax Return might look like.
Burglary. 3 houses per week 31.200 pa Drug Dealer 45.000 pa
Mugging. 2 per week 5.200 pa Prostitution 14.000 pa
Robbery. 1 per week 25.000 pa Alcohol 7.000 pa
Violence 10.000 pa Loan Shark 11.000 pa
Total 71.400 pa 77.000 pa
As you can see my outgoing’s exceed my income considerably and I respectfully request a tax rebate.
If it wasn’t so sad and serious it would be laughable, perhaps it is time for the politicians to look at the problem in a slightly different way. According to CNBC the US marijuana industry is worth 44bn dollars, it’s almost legal you just cannot deal in it, if it was made legal and sold the same way as tobacco with appropriate health warnings at least there would be controls and tax revenue would be generated helping to reduce the deficit.
Now we come to a more contentious point, hard drugs, wars are being fought in Mexico, Columbia, Afghanistan and before them Laos and Cambodia all drugs related, many inner city streets have become war zones, automatic weapons are common place as gangs fight for supremacy and the right to sell, some streets are no longer part of main stream life, hidden away and ignored, let them kill one another seems to be the accepted view, but many innocents get caught up and murdered by these ruthless people.
I offer a suggestion! If the American government went to the drugs producers and purchased a large proportion of their product and make it available to addicts, they could go to a clinic and be able to take it there. Drug addicts will always find a supply no matter what authority does, they will use dirty syringes spreading disease, overloading hospitals, break into your house and steal all your valuables, some how they will get the money. Smugglers will bring the drugs into the country and distribute it, getting dirtier until it kills with all the additives. Governments will spend untold billions to fight the drugs problem but will always lose, surely it is time to look at some sensible options instead of just standing on the high moral ground and wringing their hands.
This isn’t for the benefit of the addicts, it’s for all the innocents that get killed in the crossfire.