Letter to the Editor: Why shootings are the norm

In many neighborhoods in America, shootings are the norm, violence is endemic. In my home state, Delaware, not a month goes by without reading about some new “task force,” “forum” “committee” or the like to discuss this awful problem. With headlines like one 2 inches high saying “Anguished mother asks: “Who’s next?,” we can feel her pain.

Why is it a problem? There are several reasons, but I identify two major ones in this Letter. One – and this is a drum I have been beating for years – is our utterly failed “war on drugs”! Alcohol did not create Al Capone, Prohibition created Al Capone. And so it is with drugs. Criminalizing drug possession the way we do only drives this very lucrative business into the hands of street hoodlums, gangsters, drug kingpins, and organized crime. Just look at places where drugs are not criminalized and you will see dramatically less crime and less violence!

Here is another big reason why: for decades we have been violent against non-violent people! Millions of Americans have seen and experienced this violence … called prison abuse! They were imprisoned for non-violent offenses, only to be brutalized by the system.

We need to stop talking and get results, which lessen the violence.

The difficulty is that the criminal justice system thrives on the status quo; for every one person arrested, 29 people profit! Cops, prison guards, prosecutors, all the support staff and contractors serving, for example, DOC. These groups spend billions of dollars lobbying against needed changes, yet most of them are really helping nobody – not individuals, not society.

For too many people, the issue is not about “what is the real solution”, it is “what will save my job”! The people must take charge and demand changes.

Ken Abraham