Two Stories To Look Back Upon Ruefully When The Nation Has Gone To Pot And It’s Too Late To Reverse Course

Once heroin is legal, there will be no more heroin problem...

Once heroin is legal, there will be no more heroin problem...

One of the horrible results of the coming election—not as horrible as the possibility of electing Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump President, perhaps, but horrible still—will be the nation’s final capitulation to the movement started in the 1960’s to keep the country, the culture and the poor stoned. Cognitive dissonance will ensure it on the Republican side, as opponents to legal pot will be the same old fogeys who proclaim that gay marriage will destroy the earth, causing a valid and correct argument to be destroyed by a senseless one. Others in the party, caring about staying in power more than our society’s welfare, will just give in, citing the usual ethically inert rationalizations that legalizing drugs is the lesser of two evils and that we need to use treatment, not punishment. Meanwhile, Democrats will pander to its pot-loving base, while also stumping for state governments legalizing the crap to close budget deficits created by their fiscally irresponsible policies. Heck, even I would rather see the pot industry taxed instead of me.

And we will be bombarded by the pairing of pot legalization with the allegedly racist “mass incarceration problem,” which is really and truly the “too many African Americans break laws and expect to get away with it because their parents and culture don’t send the message that its a big deal” problem. The big deal they, and we, are now being told is that they get punished for breaking laws, which is racist because Black Lives Matter.

I was in court watching sentencings a couple months back in Northern Virginia. While the crimes the defendants being sentenced for were not drug related, every single one of those sentenced–-every one—had either  a pot charge dropped in favor of a guilty plea for a more serious crime, had record of drug arrests, or had tested positive for pot during while awaiting sentence or on parole. Bernie and Hillary and the gang (the gang including journalists, who like their weed) would have us believe that the prisons are just teeming with otherwise law-abiding black citizens who are there because they engaged in harmless recreational drug use and nothing else. The new paradigm, pushed by the President (of course), is that prison should only be for violent felons, not habitual scoff-laws who often dabble in violence too.

Ah, yes, this is all going to work out so well.

I  encountered two stories on the web that show the path we are on as well as the muddled thinking and dishonesty that got us there.

In Maine (and elsewhere ), there is a heroin epidemic. I will maintain until my dying day that the current spike in the use of this deadly drug is directly related to the government and the culture weakening its message to society about drug use by caving on marijuana. Oh, I’m sure there will be studies aplenty “proving” otherwise, by researchers who want legalized recreational drugs and make sure their objective research supports their preference, but the fact that several states  have legalized pot and so many legislators, commentators and celebrities mock drug laws is what turned heroin use, any illegal drug use, from a social taboo to a beneficiary of the “It’s a dumb law” rationalization. Paris, Maine is following Gloucester, Massachusetts in taking the next step down the slope:

Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Chief Leonard Campanello said heroin is a problem for them as well. With four overdose deaths in the first three months of 2015, Chief Campanello decided it was time to do something different. He wrote a Facebook post that outlined his plan and people took notice.  “2.4 million hits, shared another 30,000 times to another 30 million people, so here we are,” Chief Campanello said. 

Gloucester started the first police assisted rehab program. Addicts seeking help can come to the police station with their drugs; instead of handcuffs and a jail cell they’ll get into a rehab program and be assigned a mentor called an “angel.” Their rehab is paid for with state seizure money. “We couldn’t think of a better way to spend money out of drug dealer’s pockets than to put it into the care of the people they helped get addicted,” Chief Campanello said.  In just four months, the Gloucester initiative helped place 220 addicts in treatment facilities and already police departments across the country are taking notice. “

Some notes:

1. This is how bad ideas spread.

2. Funny: “We couldn’t think of a better way to spend money out of drug dealer’s pockets than to put it into the care of the people they helped get addicted.” The government also helped them get addicted, and will apparently redouble its efforts.

3. What a great plan! A  kid warms up by becoming a regular pot user, and since the stigma against heroin is falling away and the drug is cheap, decides to try that. What’s the risk? He won’t get addicted; he is smarter than those other junkies. If he’s wrong, so what? The state provides free treatment: all he has to do is turn in his drugs. Ah, but the plan sounds compassionate and keeps the protesters and pundits at bay.

4. As the line of heroin use acceptance and enabling get pushed forward, the culture will push it further. In “Little Miss Sunshine,” the wise, unconventional  and free grandfather, a heroin user, says to his grandson,

“Let me tell ya, don’t do that stuff. When you’re young, you’re crazy to do that shit. What about me? I’m old. When you’re old you’re crazy not to do it.”

When the re-make comes around, Grandpa will be extolling heroin for young and old.  That will happen sooner than you think: that movie is a decade old, and the charming, bespectacled, chubby  little actress who played Olive, who looked so out of place in the “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty pageant…

little-miss-sunshine1

…now looks like this:

abigail-breslin2

I bet Abigail Breslin smokes pot, too. Cultural norms, like children, can change dramatically before you know it.

The second story is on Da Tech Guy blog, as he recounts another blogger’s revealing experience regarding medical marijuana and its devotees. He writes in part (read the whole thing):

…[T]his young woman was stating quite bluntly that anybody who is looking to score recreational pot to get high, including the young, is able to get a license to circumvent federal law to do so. One might think that my conclusion is rather obvious, particularly when you read her description of the shop and the people there…However there is a lot of incentive to ignore this reality:

  • The sellers pretend otherwise because they see easy money.
  • The state pretends otherwise because they see easy tax revenue
  • The elected officials pretend otherwise because they the likelihood of big contributions coming from the lobbyist to protect this business.
  • The lobbyists pretend otherwise because they see a big pie with a piece reserved for them.
  • The bureaucracies pretend otherwise because see they power to licence dispensaries and distribution as a way to reward friends and punish enemies.
  • And of course Democrats pretend otherwise because their base is the main customer base for this product and wants it.

Now I’ve said many times that I have a perverse incentive to go along with this. Every single drugged out loser out there increases the value and price to any employer for people like my sons who don’t touch the stuff, because everybody is just dying to have some pothead changing their oil, to cook their food, and ringing up their groceries and working in their factories. Pot legal on the state level is a geek full employment plan at every single level. But I think it’s a bad thing for society to normalize a product that messes with your brain, that leads the vulnerable to other worse drugs and helps trap people in a permanent underclass.

That’s not only a morally wrong thing, but it’s a stupid thing that…a windfall for some will cost society in terms of pain, treasure and achievement. That’s the story that’s hiding in that piece and I think a hell of a lot more people need to know and understand it before they jump on the medical pot wagon or decide to push pot as an alternative to opioids. It’s a horrible idea and creating a legal space for a permanently stoned underclass joined by a bunch of teens who won’t know better protected by law will have costs long after we’re dead and gone.

This is so clear to people like me and Da Tech Guy, but it is also clear that neither of us have the influence or support necessary to stop the inevitable. People believe what they want to believe, especially when there are so many role models, celebrities and journalists sneering at the idea that one of the purposes of laws is to guide society into safe, responsible, productive habits, and who want their tokes besides. I apologize for not being sufficiently successful or influential that I could have some tangible impact, and I don’t even have the excuse of being stoned. Because I and many others have had neither the wit nor persuasiveness to stop this social disaster, many dangerous drugs (not dangerous to health in all cases, but dangerous to the prospects of a successful and productive life) are going to join alcohol and nicotine as embedded parts of the American culture, causing our nation to be weaker, dumber, poorer and less successful from this point on.

There will be no going back.

______________________

Spark and Pointer: Fred

Graphics: Family Talk, Hawtcelebs, Just Jared

Facts: Da Tech Guy, WGME

 

 

31 thoughts on “Two Stories To Look Back Upon Ruefully When The Nation Has Gone To Pot And It’s Too Late To Reverse Course

  1. And of course this mass attitude toward destructive drugs will lead to the “elites’ ” agents of the police state being virtually the only persons who have guns. When that happens, the licensed gun users will likely be among the chief drug dealers, too – a new breed of “law enforcement.”

  2. “…I think it’s a bad thing for society to normalize a product that messes with your brain, that leads the vulnerable to other worse drugs and helps trap people in a permanent underclass.”
    Exactly! I cannot fathom why this is so difficult for people to understand. I have already seen this phenomenon building on a local level. Solid felony drug cases get routinely pled down to misdemeanors; misdemeanors get dealt down to Drug Court (rehab and counseling) and the revolving door of misdemeanor probation, aka “pay us so you don’t go to jail.” Prescription pain medications are another huge problem, and even the marijuana available today is “not your daddy’s (or grandpa’s) pot.” The wrong message is being sent at virtually every level. A nation of stoners is not likely to be able to solve the myriad of serious challenges facing our nation. But then again, they probably won’t care as long as they can get their high. I’m not conspiracy-minded, but maybe normalizing drug use is part of “the plan,” to make the masses docile, dependent and compliant.

  3. I can see it coming: Food stamps can be used to buy pot legally. Or perhaps there will be stoner cruises available for those wealthy enough to afford it. Ah what a *Brave New World* we are living in!

  4. But, um, I was gonna write something here, um, but, I, I don’t exactly recall what. Something about dwarves doing a man’ job maybe?

      • Gotta be. I confess, I have fond memories of them. I had a friend, retired Navy, and his retired wife, who had a sailboat down in PR (45-foot Ketch). Every so often, they’s say “C’mon, Joe; let’s sail!”, and I’d take a few weeks of leave, and we’d go all over the Carribean, sailing, swimming, diving for lobster during the day, then getting silly and either talking or listening to Firesign Theater at night, swinging on hammocks, laughing our fool heads off under the stars.

  5. While we’re speaking about bad trends, can someone ask Ms. Breslin why she forgot to cover most of her chest before she posed for that picture? Why does every twenty something actress, singer or celebrity feel compelled to go before the cameras without wearing a blouse? Bizarre.

    Is it really newsworthy or otherwise remarkable that women in their twenties are nubile?

  6. Others in the party, caring about staying in power more than our society’s welfare, will just give in, citing the usual ethically inert rationalizations that legalizing drugs is the lesser of two evils and that we need to use treatment, not punishment.
    This is a good argument. The alternative is mass incarceration. America already imprisons more people than any other country on Earth. How can we call ourselves a freecountry if we do that?

    • Really simple: really free countries encourage defiance and rebellion. Liberty encourages criminals to go for it, and we don’t cut off hands. The culture in many ways supports criminal activity: people break laws when they think they are too strict, and don’t knuckle under. It’s a feature, not a bug.

    • “The” alternative is mass incarceration? There are many alternatives. The following is a far from exhaustive list of alternatives:-

      – the cangue or barrel pillory;

      – visitations of the prisons (I am ignoring the peculiarity of U.S. dialect that makes a technical distinction between jails and prisons);

      – induction into labour battalions (with or without the further sanction of “doublage”);

      – deportation, transportation and various forms of internal and/or external exile;

      – the introduction of hot shots into the drug supply chain (with or without publicising this before or during the exercise), much as cartridges that had been sabotaged by replacing cordite with T.N.T. affected gun running adversely.

      In none of these do I make any comment on the legality or ethics of any of them; I merely point out that there are many alternatives to incarceration (and even that can be modified to be more cost effective by carrying it out on the sponging house principle).

  7. Sigh. I, on the other hand, look forward to our drug-war-free future, although unlike you, I doubt it will happen.

    Da Tech Guy talks about all the politicians and bureaucrats and lobbyists who benefit from legalization, but there are powerful forces on the side of keeping drugs illegal as well, including police departments and the unions that represent the officers, the prison system (public and private) and all the unions involved there, every District Attorney who gets “tough on crime” so he can run for higher office, drug testing companies, trainers of drug dogs, DEA agents, drug treatment centers who get thousands of captive customers, and every politician who gets votes with tales of scary drug users.

    You talk about the harm from “normalizing” drug use, but the alternative you prefer is imprisonment. I don’t like illegal drugs either. I don’t do them, and I don’t encourage anyone else to use them. But I don’t want to imprison those who choose differently from me.

    If you’re right about how things are going, however, it won’t be stories like those two that we look back on ruefully. It well be posts like this one, and their general encouragement of our destructive war on drugs.

    • I don’t understand this argument, Mark, and never have. If people choose to violate a very clear law, they choose to risk society’s penalty for it. This is not a choice that society can ever encourage. That’s not what laws are for. Laws say: Don’t do this, it’s bad for everyone. If you do it, then there are penalties.

      Violators choose the penalties.

      • No they don’t. They don’t punish themselves. They don’t leave their families and friends and jobs and lock themselves in a cage for months or years. Society, and more specifically our criminal justice system, chooses the penalties, and enacts them by force on the unwilling. And we can certainly judge a society, and a government, by what it chooses to punish.

        In many cases, punishment may be well deserved and laudable, such as for murder, robbery, theft, and rape. But when a place like Saudi Arabia beheads political protesters and gays, we can justly call them monsters for doing so. When the Taliban punish young men for shaving their beards, we call that crazy. When our society chooses to imprison people for using drugs, some of us think that’s crazy too.

        • Some do, but they can only do so by ignoring the societal consequences of the conduct that is illegal. If someone wants to live in a cave, and neither get nor give anything to society, then fine do what you like. But my taxes are higher because of those “choices, ” my family members are endangered by the consequences and influences of that conduct, the stuff I but is shoddy because of it and overpriced, the society I live in is uglier, poorer and dumber because of their “choice.” Society has not only a right but an obligation to take reasonable steps to make irresponsible. selfish citizens choose between doing their part, or suffering penalties.

          • Amen to that, Jack. I would also say that exposing children to these illegal poisons or condoning it by example is a serious crime in itself. It’s incumbent on any healthy society to encourage the highest standards of responsibility and conduct to its young. When it does not, the consequences we see today- the depravity and tawdriness that now infests every aspect of modern life- become immutable.

            BTW: I might also point out that not only was depravity of purpose illustrated throughout that movie in the ways described, but it also contained child sexualization and the condoning of it by Breslin’s stage father in the movie; a scene that some perceived as “cute”.

  8. After observing the criminal justice system in my state, it seems clear that you usually have to do something REALLY wrong to get sent to prison. They waive charges and give out probation and drug court like candy. They give people 4, 5, even 6 chances to start paying on their fines and doing their community service. Jack is right that most of this goes back to drugs, but is it better for a poor, kindhearted drug user to kill you for your money or someone who is just evil? I am just sick of it and sick of the condescending attitudes and the indignant lies of the marijuana legalization proponents. Marijuana is not a gateway drug? How many heroin users STARTED with heroin and how many used marijuana first?

    I think we need to listen to the President. The solution is we need to stop treating these nonviolent and only-violent-sometimes drug users as criminals. They just really need to be around more understanding people. As such, we need to send them to Colorado, California, Illinois, New York, and Washington state. We will be doing them a favor by getting them away from the mean, racist people in the rest of the country who aren’t tolerant enough for them and this should eliminate the racial disparity of our prisons. It will make the whole country wonderful, the President says so.*

    *Disclosure: I don’t live in Colorado, California, Illinois, New York, or the state of Washington.

    • Oregon?
      The costal Oregonian is a unique species devoted to “studies” graduates with voting power that embraces non-violent drug criminals. As you get further inland the more sparsely populated regions support conservatives, also known by the coastal group as one-toothed redneck trailer dwellers.

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