How many times does it have to be said? The fundamental drug problem is not marijuana or heroin or cocaine, as troublesome and damaging as they are.
The far more harmful drugs are 1. tobacco and 2. alcohol. Tobacco kills at least 400,000 every year in this country. Alcohol kills at least 100,000. Add to this the health and other costs, and you will see that the usual suspects are minor in comparison. We have spent billions of dollars and incarcerated thousands, especially poor African Americans and have barely made a dent in the devastation wrought by illegal drugs.
The difference is that tobacco and alcohol are socially acceptable drugs, while marijuana, heroin, and cocaine are not. I do not mean to trivialize the harm done to people and the costs incurred to the nation by the illegal drugs, but we need a sense of proportion.
The illegal drugs are perils with no good solution, but the best approach is to take the profit--the money gain--out of them and deal with them as a public health concern, i. e., prevention and treatment, and not as a criminal justice matter.
Would there be major tribulations associated with the decriminalization of the the currently illegal drugs? Certainly, but I defy anyone to make a convincing case that the situation would be worse than it is now.
The root problem is the distorted, puzzling set of values we have in this country. We are astonishingly tolerant of guns and violence and still both puritanical and obsessed in regard to sex, and totally irrational when it comes to the drugs now classified as illegal.
The punditry should be abolished. Were it not for the all-news channels their population would be less of a menace, but given the necessity to fill 24 hours a day by the likes of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, daily they egregiously violate Occam's razor -- do not multiply entities beyond necessity-- ad nauseam. The worst are the Democratic and Republican political strategists, whose vacuity and predictability are astounding and who never increase understanding of anything.
While sometimes a pundit may shed light on an issue, generally they are a superfluity. Anyone who reads a couple of good newspapers and a serious journal of current events will know as much as 93.34% of the experts whose breezy interjections could provide electricity for a small town if harnessed to wind generators.
Or you might as well not exist for the attention you get. The CNN web site asked, "How are you honoring Michael Jackson?" Not do you plan to honor MJ, if so, how? I am sorry he died so young, but honor him?
His music and dancing were boring to me. The few seconds of Thriller I saw were not thrilling. He was two generations too late for me. Elvis Presley was only one behind me, but with few exceptions, his performances were not entertaining either in my book. But the general assumption in the media is that your musical and other tastes were formed after I was already married and a father.
Now there are some minor exceptions -- some PBS programs, C-Span, and and a few others recognize that some people are in or are approaching Medicare. The national evening network news broadcasts perhaps recognize us most clearly. Advertisements are the evidence -- constipation, upset stomach, leaky bladder, ED, dementia, pain, and other typical later in life ailments are subjects of interests and revenue for them.
But we know we exist. Nat King Cole or the Mills Brothers anyone?