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March 1, 2010 -- WeedPolitik (US)

Prohibition Increases Violence At Home and Abroad

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I stumbled across this comic on NORML's website, and I think it really encapsulates one of the biggest hypocrisies of the War on Drugs : the illegality of marijuana, rather than reducing crime and use as per its goals, actually increases violent acts. The Drug War has claimed many victims, including many innocent bystanders.

Drug War Mistakes Kill Innocent People

* Read about the Georgia Pastor who was gunned down in his car. Link.

* In Tennessee, a botched drug raid left 64-year old John Adams dead after the police stormed the wrong house. Link

* "Lt. William Brown of the Wilmington Police Department, who was close enough to seize and handcuff the helpless victim, instead shot him in the chest at point-blank range, tearing apart his vitals with three .40-caliber rounds. He did this after Derek had said, repeatedly and explicitly, that he was trying to cooperate. He did this despite the fact that witnesses on the scene had confirmed that Derek was trying to cooperate. He did this in front of a traumatized mother and two horrified children." Link, Another Link

* Police accidentally raid a Mayor's house, shoot his dogs in the process. Link

* Unable to face the idea of forfeiting her home and property, Shirley Dorsey committed suicide rather than testify against her boyfriend who grew her Cannabis to medicate her debilitating back pain. Despite her suicide, he was sentenced to 9 months prison, and his home and $177,000 life savings were seized. Link

* Jose Colon, 20, died instantly from a 9mm to the head. "Police said the shooting was accidental, explaining at a press conference the next day that an officer carrying a battering ram tripped over a tree root, bumping Gonzales and causing his weapon to discharge at least three bullets." Link

Read more heart-wrenching stories of Drug War fatalities here.

"With this, our city has reached a new historic mark in violent acts that verifies that this is the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones," Norte newspaper reported Tuesday.

Prohibition forces people who choose to consume cannabis to acquire their marijuana through one of two ways: grow it yourself or with a friend and face incredibly harsh punishment if caught, or buy it from a drug dealer. In the case of the latter, the money disappears off the map and goes straight into the criminal networks. From there it pays gangsters, buys guns and creates an incentive to get into crime. Counterintuitively, Prohibition is actually rewarding criminals with money made off of the insanely inflated drug prices. America certainly has its drug violence problems, but take a sobering look South of our border in Ciudad Juaréz, where two rival drug cartels are waging war:

* "Though little more than 1 percent of Mexico's 105 million population lives in Juárez, it accounted for a third of the country's nearly 5,400 gangland murders last year, according to the federal government" Link.

* More than 2,600 people were killed in 2009, which is more than a thousand deaths higher than 2008, and according to Chihuahua state police, four more were murdered within the first twelve hours of 2010. Link.

* The severed heads of four men have been delivered by a courier service to a police station in northern Mexico, according to the local authorities. Link.

* 85 children and 107 women also were among this year's victims, according to Norte newspaper. The death toll also included 49 police officers and several attorneys. More than 10 were U.S. citizens, the Chronicle has previously reported. Link.

* Prosecutors said the one man's body was found on a street with its hands and head cut off. Another man's body, with its head cut off and eyes gouged out, was found elsewhere. Link.

* About 60 percent of the drug cartels' revenue comes from the sale of marijuana to the United States, [City Rep. Ortega] said. Cutting off a significant source of its revenue could prevent the cartels from continuing to "kill and terrorize with impunity" Link.

* "[The Citizens] no longer have faith in their authorities; they have no faith in the military; they have no faith in the police; they have no faith in the state and local police forces," Link.

While the cartoon posted above is certainly lighthearted, nothing is more serious than our responsibility to the Mexican people to stem the violence in many border cities (not even talking about the widespread American gang violence here). This starts by cutting off the funding of the drug cartels, who are fighting for control over drug passages into the United States.

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