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.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.
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.
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.