A month in the life of the drug warWritten by Kurt St. Angelo
A month in life of drug war by Kurt St. Angelo @2005 Libertarian Writers' Bureau
Near end of my Libertarian campaign for Marion County Prosecutor in Indianapolis in 2002, I noted stories by news partners WTHR-TV Channel 13 (NBC) and Indianapolis Star newspaper that supported my outspoken political position against war on drugs. There were very few news stories, if any, which did not support my view.
It is my Libertarian view that drug prohibition policies of Democrats and Republicans are ineffective, wasteful, hypocritical, and destructive. The policies are a leading – if not leading – cause of crime in America, including violent crimes. As odd as this may seem, Americans overwhelmingly vote for policies that actually promote crime. For example ... The first notation I made was on October 31 when WTHR reported that two suspects were arrested for shooting an Anderson, Indiana police officer in hand during an armed robbery of a drug store. The thieves stole tens of thousands of dollars in narcotics including hydrocodone and Oxycontin.
Suspect Jack Lankford, who looked to be in his forties, admitted to being a drug addict since he was 15 or 16. That police wanted to know if two suspects were tied to a string of drug store heists suggests that they recognize a causal relationship between addiction, prohibition and crime that leaders of both major parties have not been willing to admit.
On November 3, Star reported that illegal drug exchanges between elderly is both common and risky – because such illegal drug users are "out of loop" of doctor protection. Three days later, Star carried an article about how between 1997 and 2000, doctors prescribed medications to adults that potentially caused 3,750 serious injuries, birth defects and deaths in children under 2 years old. Statistically, this makes drug companies and doctors hundreds of times more dangerous to children than, say, marijuana dealers.
On November 4, Steve Johnson of WTHR presented a report about car theft. He interviewed inmate Shawn Jackson who admitted to stealing cars to support a drug habit. "Every time a thief takes a car in our state it drives up every drivers' insurance," Johnson said. Given this, wouldn’t we be smarter to give Jackson freedom to get drugs cheaply so that he wouldn’t need to steal cars, or as many of them? That’s what we’ve done for decades at methadone treatment centers, with goal of reducing theft.
On November 5, Star reported that a woman pleaded guilty to selling her Oxycontin prescriptions. Like heroin and methadone, Oxycontin is an opiate. Some users crush tablet and swallow, snort or inject drug for rapid and intense heroin-like highs. Surely this abuse is not rare in over 7 million OxyContin prescriptions legally filled in U.S. each year.
On November 8, Star carried an AP story about seven people charged in drug-weapons plots involving al-Qaida and a Colombian paramilitary group. Without drug prohibition, these groups would get only one-tenth money for their opium and cocaine than they do today. Prohibition is best funding mechanism ever devised for terrorists and drug cartels. Ending it, and allowing free market to address demand for drugs, is only responsible alternative. On November 13, Star reported that a drug dealer received 25 years for his role in importing drugs to this state. (Contrast this with WTHR's report on November 23 about a repeat child-molester named George Vance who recently served only nine months.) Despite success of drug stings, police cast doubt on whether they can cut flow of drugs. "Unfortunately, drugs have such a grip that someone else will be (ready to sell them) because there is money to be made," said article’s quoted expert.
Don't cry for me, ChristianaWritten by Kurt St. Angelo
Don't cry for me, Christiana by Kurt St. Angelo @2005 Libertarian Writers' Bureau
One of Indiana's most unique and special places to visit is historic community of New Harmony, near Evansville. Prior to 1850, it was site of two of America's great utopian communities, which had unusual impact on science, industry, architecture and public education.
Harmonie on Wabash was first established in 1814 by Harmony Society, a communitarian separatist group from German Lutheran Church, led by charismatic George Rapp. In 1825, Harmonists sold entire town of 30,000 acres to businessman and social reformer Robert Owen of Scotland, who sought to create a community without social classes and personal wealth. Along with Scottish geologist William Maclure, community introduced vocational education, kindergarten and other educational reforms.
In contrast, one of Europe's most unique and special attempts at utopia is free community of Christiana, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since 1971, when Danish hippies squatted in 18th century navy fort on abandoned state property and then declared themselves immune from laws of Denmark, Christiana has been one of world's great experiments – and success stories – in libertarian self-governance.
Its minimal straightforward approach becomes readily apparent to all lucky visitors. Signs just inside its entrances read in English: No photography or hard drugs allowed.
In Christiana, little is asked of either its small government or big expensive one of Denmark. Christiana is peaceful, sane and self-sustaining. And now, because it is on such valuable property less than two miles from Copenhagen's business center, Liberal-Conservative government elected in 2001 is trying to shut it down. Will this happen?
In 1987 Danish government recognized Christiana as a "social experiment" to be tolerated. Since 1991, its 800-or-so residents have assumed costs for water, electricity and rent to defense ministry. They also contribute to paying for community's own postal service, trash collection and children's nurseries.