Going through the daily news, there are plenty of heartbreaking stories related to the drug war. But I came across something recently that was especially stunning and heinous. The ratio of officers working drug war cases, most of which are victimless crimes, to those working violent crimes is absolutely staggering.
In other words, the funding priorities and state power that could be used toward preventing legitimate crimes perpetrated on innocents is instead being used to pursue recreational users of a simple, non-toxic plant. This is completely unacceptable.
A guest post on Rare by Officer John Baeza paints a grim picture of the criminal justice reality has been thrust upon us thanks to the catastrophic federal war on drugs.
Baeza is a retired officer who formerly worked in the Manhattan victim’s squad. The squad he belonged to was made up of only 22 officers who were handed a caseload of 4000 plus violent crimes per year. Imagine the amount of work that would have to be put in to cover even a fraction of those cases with such a limited amount of resources. This is nothing short of a social justice tragedy.
Meanwhile the drug war division was made up of 600 officers, almost thirty times the number of officers in officer Baeza’s squad. The police were more concerned with the folks engaged in voluntary exchanges through the marketplace than rapists, murderers, thieves and other brutes that pose a legitimate danger to society.
When even those involved in enforcing the laws of the criminal justice system are speaking out against the ridiculous abuses caused by the drug war, people must stand up and take notice. And they are, as evidenced by the tidal wave of state-level resistance we are seeing against marijuana prohibition and other drug-related non-crimes.
“Let’s end the drug war so police can concentrate on real crimes like rape and child abuse,” Baeza said. This sums it up really well. How can there be peace on our streets when our criminal justice priorities are so misaligned? The war on drugs has turned everything upside down. Our P.EA.C.E. Act will be the first step toward making our system more sane. Join us, and help it get it enacted by your state legislator before more lives are destroyed.