Thoughts on Cops and Drugs
- Cops are civilians too. The metaphor of 'war' leads to a dangerous misapprehension
on the part of some police officers, who think that they are above the laws they administer.
- There do exist police officers who take their jobs seriously and do them well.
There also exist punk cops who abuse their authority. I make no guesses about which is in
the majority, save to point out that a good cop one day may be a bad cop
the next; they're human (see my previous point).
- There are two main problems with the 'War on Drugs' as currently pursued
by American law enforcement:
- The unConstitutional (despite the nine gray justices) use of property seizures against suspects (not criminals). The money goes into the coffers of the people whose responsibility is to uphold the rights of citizens--the police themselves--and is therefore an unbearable temptation for perennially cash-strapped police departments (a legitimate problem in many cities, but one which should not be addressed by allowing police to, in effect, steal their budgets).
- Willful ignorance of the facts that
- All drugs are not the same. Some drugs are legal (caffeine, nicotine, alcohol). Some drugs are legal but restricted (morphine, e.g.). Some drugs are entirely illegal; no possible benefit from them may be recognized. The basis or rationale for the legality/illegality of the drug bears no relationship to the hazard presented by the drug, either to the user or to the people around the user. (Ever hear of a 'mean drunk'? My dad was one. Ever hear of a 'mean pothead'?)
- Use is not abuse. If you smoke crack, then go to Denny's and eat a hamburger, you haven't done anything criminal (peace, vegetarians!) If you are perfectly straight, but take your assault weapon that your daddy bought you, shoot your dad, a cop and finally yourself (as happened in 1994 in Los Angeles--kid's name was Chris something), you have committed several real crimes and should be locked up (assuming you survive, though the kid in question did NOT).
The cops have been placed in the unenviable position of attempting to regulate behavior which is not really criminal. Think about it. Breath and urine testing are necessary exactly and only because you cannot tell who is using drugs by their behavior alone--some people are violent and destructive, some people use drugs, but the two sets are not equivalent. Far better would be for criminal ACTS to be punished. But apparently I'm nearly alone in that opinion.
Original content on this page ©, 1996 Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.