Monday, November 28, 2011

Drug War

I read this article in the HuffPost, which features a girl that had been brutally attacked yet the police refused to investigate even as she dogged them for a year, investigated the crime on her own, interviewed witnesses, and identified her attackers. Still the police didn't do anything until a story was published in a local paper. Topping off the irony is that about a year later, a full SWAT team broke down her door on a drug tip. So the fight against marijuana gets lots of agents, time and money, the fight against people that would bash your head in doesn't even get a police report filed. Another Chicago PD member offers great insight as a response to the article.

The problem isn't the Chicago PD. It's the perverse incentives of our drug war that rewards police departments nationwide for drug busts but provides few incentives for capturing murders. It's the same incentives that caused officers in New York to admit to planting marijuana on innocent people as well as tricking others into a committing crimes (PDF) that they would not otherwise have committed.

We all understand how things such as our current drug war as well as it's perverse incentives occur. They come from good places. The problem is that laws are necessarily course instruments and therefore always have unintended consequences. But what has it accomplished? It directly supports Evo Morales and has resulted in thousands of deaths and nearly open civil war in Mexico. It has concentrated an enormous amount of wealth and weapons in the hands of the worst. It disproportionately punishes people of color, which slows down our improvement in national race relations. It fills our jails with non-violent offenders costing us billions of dollars each year... and it takes away detectives within the Chicago PD that should be capturing the brutes that bashed that poor girl's head in. Change is needed.


Musique's Poetry said...

Well said. I agree. Where is the correct order of things? yes we gotta fight drugs, but what about safety and being able to walk down the street.

Roger Poladopoulos said...

Well said Musique!