The Wire's War on the Drug War

heads up: this is a pretty old post, it may be outdated.

First off, great photo. The lighting is great, the location is great (watch the show to really appreciate it).

The article that accompanies this photo is an editorial authored by the three writers of HBO's TV show The Wire. In it they argue the uselessness of the US drug war. Citing a statistic:

A new report by the Pew Center shows that 1 of every 100 adults in the U.S. — and 1 in 15 black men over 18 — is currently incarcerated. That's the world's highest rate of imprisonment.

I had actually run across this stat several weeks ago, thought, "Man, that's a little extreme," and then carried on with my life here in London. When put into this context though, the information just becomes annoying. So many of these prisoners are behind bars for a drug charge.

I am of the opinion the US drug policy needs to be changed. We need to explore the options behind legalizing some of the 'illegal' drugs out there today. (I'd start with cannabis, but that's just me.) And, I say this is a person who does not do drugs. At all. I enjoy a drink or two, but drugs, just like cigarettes remain on the untouchable list for me.

Our leaders? There aren't any politicians — Democrat or Republican — willing to speak truth on this. Instead, politicians compete to prove themselves more draconian than thou, to embrace America's most profound and enduring policy failure.

…and that's an issue. If the politicians are not motivated to change, then nothing ever will. The American public, in my opinion, has largely forgotten about the drug war. The people who sell drugs have just gotten used to cops beating down their doors and accept it as a risk of doing business. The cops have gotten used to "court pay" and easy arrests that accomplishes nothing. And politicians have gotten used to not having to argue this topic.

The authors close their article by calling for a bit of civil disobedience, which I will happily go along with:

If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun's manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens.

 The Wire's War on the Drug War - TIME