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The almighty roach

17 Feb 2007--The almighty roach

I've read the online edition of Creative Loafing's Atlanta paper for a few years now, to catch up on those issues in Atlanta which the main newspaper doesn't care to elaborate upon beyond a minimum. It's an alright publication, apart from being uncompromisingly left-wing and therefore not entirely objective.
Two days ago, I had the gall to opine on John Sugg's article about how the war-on-drugs has damaged or destroyed countless American lives. I actually wouldn't argue that too ferociously, but at the same time I saw that Kathryn Johnston, a 92-year-old woman who was shot dead in a botched drug raid after firing at police, was being used to advocate legalizing drugs.
Slander? Not so much. Take this brilliant excerpt:
"If you need an exclamation mark to the statement, "The drug war is insane," here's a dilly. Marijuana is America's top cash crop, according to a study released in December. About 10,000 tons of grass are grown each year, worth almost $36 billion. That dwarfs the $23 billion corn crop or $18 billion in the annual harvest of soybeans."
The argument being used here is that, because marijuana is a moneymaker and is
"a drug far more benevolent than legal alcohol"
it should be legal. I might argue the benevolence bit; I have known some frequent teenage users of marijuana, and can always tell them apart from non-users by their slightly slowed reaction time and daydreaming look. Science it ain't, but it's my own evidence that pot makes you stupid. I wouldn't argue that drinking every day is less damaging, since it's legal for people older than 21 years, but the question I really want to ask follows below.
What is up with young, hip people and drug use? Or at least, lots of CL readers? Why is it so important to them apart from its incurrent psychological dependency? Why is it to them a right that needs to be upheld before, say, the Atlanta Police Department is cleaned out following Mrs. Johnston's unnecessary death?
I will be fair and say that Mr. Sugg devoted a section of his article to police corruption in the Anta, but some responses to one comment of mine were pretty blunt, no pun intended.
Here's my original comment:

I gotta ask

How many people reading this are drug users?
It's a very relevant question, as they would obviously be more likely to gripe about the war-on-drugs and use Ms. Johnston as a decoy for advocating, say, legalized pot.

The first respondant to the above, by the name of Nathan Cook, did not mince words:

Oh please

To MC,
Users, of course, would be in favor of legalizing drugs. Many users are upright citizens whose choice to use a banned substance, to put a particular chemical in their own body, makes them criminals. Those who absolutely would not want the war on drugs to end are the dealers and the drug king pins. Explain to me the error of correcting a policy that keeps money out of the pockets of REAL criminals and keeps non-violent users out of prison?

Never mind that the kingpins do, in fact, lose everything if they step into the government's line of fire. I wonder what would happen to them minus our current drug policy? Would they suddenly become law-abiding entrepeneurs?

After Nathan came Brian, for whose state of mind I am, in fact, pretty worried.

Legalize it all...

MC, I have never used an illegal drug in my life, never even smoked a cigarette. However, I want to see drugs, alcohol, prostitution and gambling all legalized and freely available. I believe it is not the place of the government to interfere in the willing transaction of 2 (or more) consenting adults. 
The FDA should be changed to be merely a drug testing and safety administration. Meaning that they can issue statements regarding drug safety and side effects, but it is up to the individual if they want to take something. So if you feel it's in your best interest to snort paint thinner, go ahead, but here's how you would expect to be affected.

Drugs, prostitution and gambling legal and freely available? I don't mean to sound like a Concerned Woman for America, necessarily, but what the hell kind of environment is that for the underage? Morally, I mean? Or is this a total non-issue?

Not everybody wants to see Studio 54 resurrect and expand to encompass the entire country, myself included. Certain things are illegal because they're bad for public health. Obviously, not all such things are illegal, but why make things worse with legalized prostitution?

Don't tell me about the Netherlands. Wikipedia says that about 7% of prostitutes there have HIV, if you care to look it up and verify. As far as that particular virus, things are much worse in Thailand, another country with legalized prostitution. Granted, though, HIV is much more prevalent in southeast Asia than in western Europe, but there's what I think of legal pimping-and-whoring.

Don't like it? Fine. Get your damn joints out and smoke 'em, then head down to Stewart Avenue and pick up some prostitutes and a few exotic-sounding diseases. It's still illegal, and if caught you still go to jail. I know, life is hard.

Better yet, if you really just can't contain yourself sexually: masturbate. It's legal.

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