Sheriffs' Association Urges 'Investigation' Of Assistant Attorney General Nominee For Her Pro-Drug Legalization Comments

from the WE-HAVE-SO-MANY-MOUTHS-TO-FEED dept

When it comes to the business of law enforcement, there's one golden rule: thou shalt not derail the money train. Drug enforcement is a multi-billion dollar industry -- not just here in the US, but all over the world. "Industry" is the correct term. Drug busts push people into private prisons. The pursuit of drug dealers and users gives local law enforcement agencies access to federal funding and cheap (or free) military gear. Millions more are spent on "educational" programs like D.A.R.E., which teaches children subtleties like "all drugs are bad" and "so are all drug users." Just Say No, anyone?

These billions are wasted. Four decades into the drug war Nixon formally kicked off by deputizing multiple-substance abuser Elvis Presley as a "Federal Agent at Large" for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and we have nothing to show for it. Drugs are as widely-available as ever, often featuring both higher quality and lower prices.

If law enforcement agencies were honest, they'd admit they want this war to go on forever. It's profitable, plays well with much of the voting demographic, provides them with new toys and it gives them the excuse to claim property that isn't theirs.

That explains this bit of noxious stupidity from the National Sheriffs' Association (the other NSA) [via The Drug WarRant]:

On behalf of the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) and the 3080 elected sheriffs nationwide, Sheriff John Aubrey, NSA President and Sheriff of Jefferson County, Kentucky wrote today to The Honorable Chuck Grassley to advise him of our strong concerns over the potential nomination of Vanita Gupta as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. NSA believes that Ms. Gupta’s previous statements on a range of issues make her ill-suited for this important post.

If Ms. Gupta is formally nominated, NSA urges Grassley to investigate her previous statements on the legalization of drugs. As recently as 2012, she wrote in the Huffington Post that “states should decriminalize simple possession of all drugs, particularly marijuana, and for small amounts of other drugs.” Decriminalization of all drugs—including heroin, LSD, cocaine, and more—would have disastrous effects on our communities and our citizens. Communities have been crippled by drug abuse and addiction, stifling economic productivity and destroying families. Ms. Gupta’s short-sighted statements on legalization and her apparent beliefs would put her at odds with the goal of public safety day in and day out. As the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, it is imperative that any nominee understand the challenges faced by law enforcement in protecting our communities.
The NSA "urges" Sen. Grassley to "investigate" statements publicly made by Ms. Gupta. In what reality does that sentence make sense? How do you "investigate" opinions that were offered freely and publicly? What this association wants isn't an "investigation." It just wants to throw some mud and hope it's enough to head off a nominee that might tamper with the money train's tracks.

Look at the wording it uses to describe what's happening because of "drug use and addiction." As if tossing tons of people in prison for violating outdated drug laws doesn't "stifle economic productivity" or "destroy families."

The NSA also completely ignores the fact that four US states have fully legalized marijuana for recreational use and many more are working towards decriminalizing possession. If there's a drug problem in America, at least half the blame lies with the enforcement of drug laws. The US locks up more people per capita than any other country in the world, and has led to an expansion of law enforcement power at the expense of Americans' civil liberties. No-knock raids -- almost all of which are propelled by drug charges -- have placed both citizens and police officers in the line of fire. A cottage industry of law enforcement-focused surveillance technology has sprung up over the past decade, thanks to this constant and narrow focus on one section of criminal law.

These sheriffs want an assistant AG that works for them, rather than for the public. That's the most disgusting message this letter sends. Hopefully, Sen. Grassley will file this in the recycling bin shortly after reading it. Without a doubt, Gupta will be questioned about her views on legalization, but let's hope that's just because there's still too many reactionary, tough-on-crime types circulating Capitol Hill, rather than this self-serving agency being capable of wielding any significant amount of influence.

Filed Under: assistant attorney general, doj, drug legalization, drug war, legalization, sheriffs, vanita gupta


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2015 @ 11:42am

    "crippled by drug abuse and addiction" = If it's only abuse because it's illegal, then why not make it legal and stop the abuse?

    "stifling economic productivity" = they aren't buying from a taxable regulated market as well as arrests and jail time negatively affect their ability to work and their ability to contribute to society. Legalize it and this clears up right?

    "and destroying families" = Yes you do when you lock up family members and punish them for the rest of their life

    This NSA sure doesn't care about anything more than making people live the way they want to live their own life. Mistreatment of other people including family members is already illegal. Making drugs illegal doesn't do anything but stop someone momentarily and harm them more in the long run. I wonder if they want to tally how many lives they have destroyed against the lives 'saved'. Or maybe it's ok because one of those lives was a child, or maybe a teen, or young adult, um.. what age is it a person's life is worth more than another's again? Maybe it was a formula, one that also included expected lifetime earnings.

    This self-righteous 'Take you're freedoms because I know best' is exactly what the country was founded against. Helping is not the same as Hiding. They are counter productive in not addressing the real problems and actually helping people, but that's actually more difficult than burying them away when they get caught and hoping they get better at hiding. Which is usually the case for people who try to impress their superior morals, they actually are just accepting behavior that presents itself in a way they find proper, as long as immoral behavior is hidden to whatever arbitrary degree. Which comes down to they just don't want to be offended by others doing what they dislike.

    If you want to ensure public safety day-in and day-out (which I take as in their own home and outside of it) the sure-fire way is to remove everyone's limbs and tongues and there won't be any more physical or mental abuse. If it's not there they can't be tempted right? I'm sure it'll cut down on 90% of crime too. It's that or we could handle things like civilized humans that hopefully care for more than just themselves.

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