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Drug War = Gun War (in progress)

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Note to readers: I publish essays long before they are ready, as long as I feel that I 'get the main points across'. My apologies for grammatical errors and any lack of style. As time permits, I revise and edit the essays to improve their quality. In the meantime, I hope you consider the ideas presented. The plans and proposals I've made on these pages are designed to protect the freedoms and liberty of all Americans equally. This essay is a case in point. Our lives are in the balance of our policy choices, and we can all agree we need to improve our policies. In a manner of speaking, we have one obvious outcome: something got us where we are today. What effect did our policies have over the last 50 years that got us here?


Either...

1. Our policies were inadequate and allowed a falling world to fall farther and faster into the heap we're in today. If this is the case, then if we need to improve our policies to stop the slide into death and chaos.

2. Our policies actually contributed to the decay of our society. Generally speaking this is my belief, especially as relates to gun violence, drug overdose deaths, and other negatives related to drug abuse, misuse, and addiction. Our policies have led us into a dark place. Though Americans often have the best of intentions, the actual implementation of our laws and policies creates negatives that are worse than the problem they are trying to solve. We're feeling that 'worse than' broadly across our nation in many or most areas of our lives. I hope that you can see option 2 as the more realistic and hopeful option. Option 1 implies that only the government can save us. That's a common belief in many areas of our lives. Option 2 suggests that we're fundamentally doing ok, but our culture can take turns that turn us against ourselves. A key part of that turning against ourselves is our policy choices. My goal is not to "fix America". Rather, my goal is to get America on a square foundation. Once returned to a square foundation, we will naturally turn to cooperation and community.


Wow, that 'note to readers' took much longer than I imagined. Here's my actual essay, and please, pardon the dust.





Many of the most ardent supporters of firearms ownership also firmly support the War on Drugs. My suggestion is that firearms owners, who care about limits on government authority in regards to firearms ownership, are undercutting their own interests by supporting the War on Drugs. Many gun owners will readily agree that there is a war on gun ownership. Where does that war on gun ownership come from? Part of the motivation comes directly or indirectly from the War on Drugs.


There are direct and indirect ways that drug prohibition and its vigorous enforcement undermine the right to keep and bear arms:

In the case of drug prohibition, there is no constitutional amendment to authorize drug prohibition. In the case of alcohol, the most popular drug in human history, the federal government took great pains to create a constitutional amendment that gave the federal government authority to ban alcohol and the power to enforce it. Drugs were made illegal by an ordinary law passed by Congress and signed by the president, without the constitutional power to do so. That undermines respect for the Constitution. And gun owners should not want anything to undermine respect for the Constitution. That the courts upheld constitutional challenges to drug prohibition doesn't change the fact that historical precedent was totally ignored when banning drugs less popular than alcohol. Gun owners should not willingly accept Congress and the President acting without constitutional authority.


The purpose of the the government's constitutional authority is to protect the rights of the people. Our government was founded to allow people the freedom to live their lives as they see fit, even when other people disagree. That is a very difficult feature of our government that we let 'them' live as much as we expect the same freedom. That's such a difficult position to take, that we need to be reminded that liberty cannot be removed surgically. When the people of the United States give the government power to remove liberty in the case of drugs, that only comes after the people give the government power to remove liberty. The power to remove liberty in one area is first the power to remove liberty. So with the case of drug prohibition, the power to ban drugs without a constitutional amendment is the power to ban ________ without an amendment. This application of power goes against the founding intent of our government. Gun owners want the original intent of our government upheld.


Drug prohibition is a huge driver of violent crime. Thousands upon tens of thousands of murders and violent assaults are firearm involved crimes, stemming directly from the war on drugs. All of those gun crimes are used as statistics against gun ownership. There is an continual onslaught of pronouncements (politicians and media) that talk about the number of gun crimes in the United States. Frankly speaking, the number of gun crimes in the United States is quite large. It's way larger than I'm comfortable with. The numbers are shameful. Half of them are attributable to the War on Drugs. And every bullet fired by any person in the drug war, turf war, or any behavioral offshoot from drug prohibition, is blamed on gun owners.


The murder rate after the end of alcohol prohibition decreased steadily. Ending drug prohibition will also decrease the murder rate. Right alongside, other crime rates will drop: assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, etc. Many of those crimes involve a gun. When the drug war ends, a new picture of gun ownership will develop, one of meekness. That means power under intentional, responsible control. Guns will not appear as dangerous.


Drug prohibition creates statistics that undermine the right to keep and bear arms. Drug prohibition also creates lucrative situations for people to be involved in criminality. Drug prohibition creates criminals. This is not a redundant repeat of the statistics working against gun ownership. It has pulled millions of people into a life of crime. That creates fewer legal gun owners. There are people who might have been responsible gun owners. Instead they turned to crime. For many of them, their opportunity to legally own firearms is ended. That reduces the number of people interested in protecting the right to keep and bear arms. Additionally, felons who continue to possess firearms creates a whole new set of statistics that are used against gun ownership.


This next argument is more of a quality of life issue. The government is key in setting a tone for the country. When our government declares war on certain people, that sends a message that certain people are less valuable than others. Just like liberty cannot be surgically removed, the messages the government sends are not surgical. Before the government can declare a war on certain people, the government must declare a war on people. And before the government can value some people less, it must value people less. There is no definitive separation between one part of E Pluribus Unum. Spoken another way, it's like when you're kids act like the way you treat them, not the way you tell them to behave. This message gets into the mindset of the whole country.


People on the fringes of mental health have committed grave acts in recent decades. They get their message to devalue human life from somewhere. Many people say violent video games and song lyrics are to blame. They're missing the elephant in the room. Mass incarceration and the separation of families is destroying a swath of our generation. The loss of fathers is a much larger driver of isolation, loneliness, and social separation than any video game. Drug prohibition enforcement is a root cause of families being torn apart. But there's more. The War on Drugs sends a signal of war against the American people. It's a signal that is loud, clear, and violent. That message gets through.


In recent decades, the people who commit mass shooting murders are not certifiably insane. This is a complex topic, but many of the murderers are effectively normal people who've gone off the mental deep end. They are committing murders as a result of emotions and beliefs about others. The War on Drugs is sending a complex set of messages. But people do not do as I say. They do as I do. The net message of the War on Drugs is devaluing certain people. This message is received, interpreted, and repeated in a reformulated way. The reformulation keeps the fundamental message: some people are of lower value. The results of mass shootings do not go away. The results are continually in the minds of those who would do away with guns. The effect of the War on Drugs in the minds of mass shootings cannot be calculated. We want to look for similarities and understand root causes.


There are more ways that the War on Drugs undermines the right to keep and bear arms. Think of how many times firearms have become synonymous with serious crime. "Police discovered over 2 pounds of cocaine and heroin, $20,000 in cash, and several firearms including one military style assault rifle, similar to the one used in the ____________ shooting." Pictures of guns, drugs, and cash portray an image of criminality. And police have largely sought the disarming of people. Because of the War on Drugs, the police in America have been exposed to violent armed criminals. Is it any wonder they would want firearms reduced, when they are in daily danger. The War on Drugs has given some law enforcement agencies freedom to target gun ownership, in the name of fighting the war on drugs.


Drug prohibition and the larger War on Drugs, undermines the right to keep and bear arms. It gives people great fear that would not otherwise exist. Before there was drug prohibition, there was drug peace. People bought drugs at a drug store. No violent crime, no criminal penalties, no guns involved, no one inherently devalued human life, no one disregarded the Constitution. We want to support and defend the Constitution that supports and defends the right to keep and bear arms. The War on Drugs is a direct attack on the Constitution, and gun owners are paying a high price. Asked if I support the Second Amendment, as president, I will answer with responsible, intentional actions: ending the war that undercuts the entire Constitution.







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