Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Teeth Of The Hydra

I've spent many an hour trying to wrap my planet-sized brain around the enormity of the cultural problems affecting this country.
To be sure, I don't have many answers. Hillary Clinton might have some insight, though:

The United States is at least as responsible as Mexico for the violent drug wars that are roiling its southern neighbor because of an insatiable US market for narcotics, the failure to stop weapons smuggling southward and a three-decade "war" on drugs that "has not worked," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday.

"Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians," Mrs. Clinton said.

"How could anyone conclude any differently? . . . I feel very strongly we have co-responsibility," she said.

The gun and drug culture, believe it or not, are very tightly tied together, and I don't just mean the dealers who carry Glocks.
I mean that there is a subculture in America that attempts to subvert the system and pervert our citizenry by promoting both guns and drugs in tandem.
No, not video game authors and publishers, although I have no doubt they are complicit.
I mean the people who buy and use both of these items.
Now, I've made no bones about where I stand on guns. I think there is a limited need for legal guns for protection and provisions in some sectors of the country, but that on the whole, we should do whatever we can to limit and/or ban them. Period.
On drugs, I have a slightly different outlook. There are some drugs that are inherently so destructive that access to them ought to be as difficult as humanly possible, and in point of fact, I'd include tobacco on that list along with crystal meth, heroin, and possibly cocaine.
And then there are some drugs that are dangerous, but when used in moderation or under supervision should be decriminalized. LSD, mescaline, and cocaine (if it's not outright outlawed). And I do mean "under supervision."
Finally there are, or rather is, the drug that should be legalized, full stop: pot. And you can keep alcohol legal, as well. And I suppose I'd be grossly outvoted on my call for the closely guarded regulation of tobacco, so it likely would remain here, even if suicide by smoking is a leading cause of death in this country.
Hillary Clinton's acknowledgement of the sales of assault weapons across the Mexican border as a result of spats amongst rival gangs for the right to smuggle illegal drugs back into the United States highlights a rather disturbing fact: it is in the (legal) gun sellers' best interests to see (illegal) drugs flourish.
They have a vested financial interest in it. And that stinks. Drugs create gun users, both criminals and legal (since the crime rate goes up as drugs become more and more pricey).
By creating a criminal subculture-- 700,000 Americans are arrested each year for pot possession and sales alone, and that represents slightly less than half of all drug arrests in this country-- you create a need to take justice into one's own hands, rather than look to the legal authorities.
Legalize pot, for example, and 700,000 more Americans are walking the streets without a criminal tarnish every year. That could mean a few thousand or tens of thousands of illegal guns off the street. And illegal guns start somewhere along the lines as legal gun sales.
Not only that, but as crime rates decrease because of legal or decriminalized substances, legal gun ownership would wane slightly, since people will feel safer on the streets and in their own homes.
If the NRA has a problem with stemming supply, then why not turn the tables and lower demand? After all, it's not like 700,000 pot-laced zombies are going to start breaking and entering homes in search of Cheetos. The NRA would be hard-pressed to take offense at that point, even if that would expose the underbelly of the truism I've laid out here.