Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Law and Disorder
To “police” is to make things orderly. There was a time when police kept order in our neighborhoods, walking the streets and keeping the peace by discouraging disorderly conduct that is a nuisance to neighbors and visitors alike. Over the last 50 years, police have started calling themselves Law Enforcement or Public Safety officers, and have become more interested in enforcing state laws, the higher the penalty the better, regardless of whether such laws create order or disorder.
Prohibition of Alcohol caused extreme disorder and was repealed in ten years, but our nation did not learn its lesson: there is no substance so bad that a black market can’t make it worse, by putting a legion of addicted salesmen on the street. The Prohibitionists and drinkers pretended instead that everyone else’s drugs were worse than that one, and that they could be and must be banned. They kept bans on narcotics, added marijuana to their list, made new drugs legal only with a prescription from a licensed doctor, banned a few more over the decades, and continued to enforce laws that create markets outside the rule of law.
This discourages the enforcement of laws that create order and keep the peace by making the people within those illegal markets afraid to talk to the police, and vice-versa. When they are victimized, they can only let it go or take private revenge. The gangs that naturally arise and fight for territory in a black market make police afraid to walk in neighborhoods and talk to people. The money that such criminals make and spread around corrupts people within and without the government.
Worst of all, children have become our dealers. The drug laws make them so by having lighter penalties for children, and heavy penalties for selling to children. Some start making easy money in middle school and high school, and never try to get a real job. By the time they are in their mid-twenties, they are stuck in the black market, without legitimate work experience or pay stubs to show a landlord, unable to get a job or rent a place of their own.
The black market created by our laws reaches around the world to destabilize governments that were never really stable to begin with: Afghanistan, Mexico, and Columbia come quickly to mind. Fighting between the gangs and the government in Mexico is killing thousands every month; kidnappings spill over into Arizona.
Last, but not least, the feds buy our sheriffs and police chiefs with federal grants to make drug war on us. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and for the last 40 years, our officers have danced to the feds’ tune, including heavy traffic enforcement to try to catch smugglers. Thieves, assailants, and disorderly nuisances are not their concern.
Governments should not be giving money to other governments; it only makes the recipients less accountable to the people who would otherwise pay their salaries. And it confuses and enrages the people when unnecessarily evil goodies are funded, but our sheriff, his jail, and prosecutors are not, while weeds and litter take over our cities.