LETTER TO THE EDITOR: More Band-Aids won’t solve wave of drug violence

The shootings in our streets have only increased over the past few years.

These are real mothers’ sons dying in droves, and innocent children wounded or killed by stray bullets. The primary purpose of government is to protect its citizens, and our government is failing dramatically.

I live in Dover, Delaware, where shootings used to be virtually unheard-of. With great fanfare, the police chief announced in May the resurrection of the “street crimes unit” to stem the increase in shootings and the violence. Since then, the violence has increased significantly. I see that now, the attorney general is calling for immediate funding to put more police and cameras on the streets in Dover and in Wilmington, Delaware. Wow! More Band-Aids!

I, too, have called for community policing and more police on the streets. Some tactics will make a marginal difference. However, as I have stated so many times, none of the measures being talked about will achieve any significant reduction in the numbers of shootings and the plague of violence sweeping our streets. Until we end the “war on drugs,” we will continue to pay the price for our shortsighted “tough on crime” approach to these problems.

Depending what study one reads, 84 percent to 92 percent of all crime is drug-related. Virtually all property crime is driven by the drug trade; the New Castle County police chief stated so. Think about it! Alcohol did not create Al Capone; Prohibition created Al Capone.

The first step should be to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. In doing so, we must simultaneously advertise the dangers of marijuana. Advertising works! In every jurisdiction (the entire country of Portugal, four American states — with more to follow next year, and D.C.) where marijuana has been decriminalized or legalized, crime is down, addiction rates are down, violence is down, millions of dollars have been saved by not arresting and locking up marijuana violators — a policy proven ineffective over the last 40 years! Revenue is up, way up! Colorado in its first year of legalization took in $55 million (below predictions, but no small chunk of change).

Provide treatment, instead of prison, for addicts. When we successfully treat addicts, instead of wasting millions of dollars locking them up, not only do we prevent future crime victims, but we restore people to becoming productive members of society, instead of being a plague on society.

Good Lord, all the Band-Aids in the world will not heal a double-barreled shotgun blast to the torso; and that is, metaphorically, what we are experiencing — a double-barreled shotgun blast to the torso. Our streets are awash in heroin, and our children are dying from overdoses and from the whirlpool of crime inevitably swirling around the illicit drug trade.

READ www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/how-the-war-on-drugs-has-destroyed.

READ www.leap.cc/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/After-Prohibition.pdf.

Where is the bold leadership necessary to protect our citizens?

Ken Abraham

Former Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Division

Now President of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE


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