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Make-believe Crimes

By Carmen Yarrusso, USG

A REAL crime requires action that harms another. It implies both a victim AND a perpetrator. Robbery, for example, harms another and has a victim and a perpetrator. It's pure fantasy to invent a crime you commit against yourself.

Can you imagine being arrested and jailed for mugging yourself? As insane as this sounds, our government has done the equivalent by making adult use of some drugs a "crime." Our government says that deciding for yourself what can be put into your own body is a CRIME like robbery, rape and murder.

Putting nicotine, alcohol, Big Macs or some drugs into your body may be unwise, but should you be jailed for doing it? Using drugs simply doesn't fit the definition of crime. (If a drug user harms another, that's a real crime.) But this "crime" doesn't require harming another, nor does it require a victim and a perpetrator. It only requires an imaginary "criminal/victim"­­a drug user.

In the make-believe world of our government, you can be both criminal and victim at the same time. Since the perpetrator can't be separated from the victim, the VICTIM goes to jail. This pathetic perversion of justice is vigorously championed by our government. Billions are spent jailing drug users while real criminals go free.

Studying the history of drug prohibition shows that our government uses drug "crime" as a tool to control "undesirables" and as a distraction from real issues. Politicians discovered a simple way to handle "undesirables"­­make their drug-of-choice illegal. Illegal opium to control Chinese immigrants, illegal marijuana to control Mexicans (and hippy war protesters,) illegal crack to control inner-city blacks etc. Using lies and deception our government continues to convince Americans that simply putting something into your own body is a serious crime.

Nearly all the harm associated with drug use is caused by the sole act of making drugs illegal, not by the drugs themselves. There are millions of drug users, but relatively few are harmed by the actual drugs. These few should be patients, not criminals. Our government must take responsibility for the extreme human suffering caused by creating a "crime" out of thin air. Trying to fool reality carries a heavy price. The following tragedies are totally unnecessary, extremely expensive and all the direct result of inventing a make-believe crime.

  • A tax-free, totally unregulated, multi-billion-dollar drug industry run by violent criminals.
  • A law enforcement bureaucracy wasting billions in taxes each year trying to curtail this same industry.
  • A deteriorating public education system robbed of billions to support this law enforcement bureaucracy.
  • Courts and prisons overflowing with non-violent "criminals" while murderers, rapists and other real criminals are set free to make room.
  • Tens of thousands of children with one or both parents in jail for a gratuitous "crime."
  • The gradual erosion of our Constitution as more and more civil liberties are sacrificed to fight a crime "Made in USA."
  • Rampant corruption of foreign governments (like Columbia's and Mexico's), so driven by US drug money that life and human rights are secondary.
  • Hundreds of thousands of adults and children infected and dying from HIV because our government prefers death over legal clean needles.
  • Violent street gangs with little incentive for education or legitimate jobs reaping huge drug profits made possible by inventing a crime. A growing death toll from police breaking down doors to catch people using products less dangerous than tobacco, alcohol or fatty foods.
  • A growing cynicism and disrespect for all laws and authority fueled by the knowledge that our government can arbitrarily invent a crime.
  • Hundreds of thousands of politically connected people making billions of dollars from other people's misery and death. An immoral gold mine generated by a make-believe crime.

This sordid list goes on and on.

We're appalled when Islamic regimes invent make-believe crimes against reading some books, or listening to some music. Using some drugs is our government's version of the same thing. All of these "crimes" lack the moral basis of real crime. All are clear cases of a repressive government dictating the private personal behavior of its citizens.

If real crime means causing harm to others, then the real crime here is not drug use, but laws against drug use. And the real criminal is not the drug user, but our own government.

Carmen grew up on eastern Long Island about ninety miles from New York City. She has a degree in physics, but has worked on computer operating systems for about thirty years. In her spare time she listens to music, writes and does a lot of reading especially in the area of human cognition and consciousness. Currently, Carmen lives in the woods of New Hampshire on a peaceful little river. She has been an actively opposing the drug war for about five years. 

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