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“Land of the free”, the contradictions of U.S. war on drugs


America, “land of the free, home of the brave”, as the National anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, says. But according to the statistics, if 5% of the world citizens are American, it happens that also 25% of incarcerated people are. A blatant disproportion, is that a population particularly inclined to crime? Or, probably, the penal and judging system have some flaws, with a repression that not even authoritarian countries such as Russia, China and Iran can reach.

50 thousand people are in jail for drugs related crimes, starting from basic marijuana possession – which use caused over a million arrests. War on drugs costs are enormous, in human and economic level. Since Dea (Drug Enforcement Administration) was created by Nixon in 1970, funds increased from 65 million dollars per year to more than 25 billion dollars budget in 2012, as reported by the documentary How to make money selling drugs, by Matthew Cooke. Basically with no results. Yes, someone got rich, or used this politics to have public offices, but drugs are still a plague.

Everything happened in an escalation of rhetoric, not only by Republicans. The banish of narcotics was due to Henry Anslinger, a government official who, in the 30’s, thought that marijuana use was only for “negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and artists (so what?)”, that generated music like jazz and swing (so what?), that made women have sex with minorities (so what?). Nixon connected drug use with communism and homosexuality (!), both enemies of the strong American society, so willing to destroy it. Reagan went far beyond, because in the meantime hiv made his appearance. If drugs bring to homosexuality, that brings to contaminations. Ain’t that obvious?

La copertina del documentario How to make money selling drugs

Even without this mix of ignorance and racism, Democrats weren’t better. To control the Congress, in 1986 they took advantage of the death of Len Bias, a promise of basket. After college, Len got a deal with Boston Celtics and the brand Adidas. He goes out to celebrate but he dies for a seizure, caused by cocaine abuse. A real waste, no doubt, but the speculations made on a human drama are worse. So, elephant and donkey challenge each other to rise penalties for using or selling drugs, ignoring and not trying to solve the socio-political reasons that make this happen.

Nobody cares that in Detroit or West Baltimore dealing is the only source to get some money, because State and welfare aren’t there. It only matters to rip on lower classes, because special funds come only with statistics, not with real effects. To get these financing you have to better each year the results of 12 months before, but we’re just talking about numbers. An arrest is one, whether he’s the new Scarface or the street corner dealer, the problem perpetuates, only with different characters.

Henry Anslinger

That’s why corrupt police tries to frame or increase charges against people who maybe aren’t innocent, but putting a bag of weed or cocaine on a suspect is a dirty play. One of this cops was Barry Cooper from Texas. But after a huge amount of blitzes, he decided to try marijuana he always fought, which had at home to train his dogs. After a joint, he totally changes his perspectives. He realizes that he ruined a lot of families for nothing. He starts to use it on the regular, marries his pusher and, most important, he begins to expose police-men like he was, evidence tampers and associates. Now Barry is looking for political asylum outside the States, tired of speaking to old law-maker about the pointlessness of this war. Better spend your energies where they listen to you.

From human errors, such as blitzes in the wrong houses or murders of innocent people mistaken for drug dealers, we go to malice, and that’s way worse. In the 80’s senator John Kerry revealed a system that supplied weapons to the anti-revolutionaries in Nicaragua, the so called Contras. This weapons were financed by selling drugs in the depressed American neighborhoods. Cia itself distributed crack, destroying lives and dreams of generations.

The Government didn’t make drugs illegal because they are bad, “they don’t want you to use your drugs, they want you to use THEIR drugs”, jokes – but not that much – the comedian Chris Rock talking about medicines. “Every night on tv you see a weird drug commercial trying to get you hooked to legal shit. They keep naming symptoms ‘til they get one that you got”. Legal drugs, like also alcohol and tobacco, have dramatic consequences for health. 47 thousand Americans die every year for alcohol-related complications, more than 400 thousand for smoke, more than alcohol, drugs, aids, homicides, suicides and car accidents combined.

Barry Cooper and his new life

If cigarettes were banned there would be a counter-effect, kids would be more attracted and a black market would develop, from Mexico or other countries. Against tobacco were taken some measures like prohibition in public places, higher taxation, ban of commercials, awareness campaigns, more helping in detox. Basically what happened with drugs in Portugal or Canada. This war that can’t be won is a burden to contributors, causes thousands of victims among criminals, policemen, civilians and gets no real benefit, as the use of drugs is expanding. Millions, billions could be saved and invested in something useful, like schools, universities, hospitals, services for the community. Which are an index of much more wealth.


0,90 cent in Italy is the average price for the famous Espresso. Coffee brings energy and you readers too 🙂 Grazie! ❤ P.S. There will be plenty of rewards for the best donors!


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