Monday, January 21, 2013
Guns is Drugs
Barry, My Liege :
This writer has some intimate experience with the problems of drug addiction and violence.
For many years, the writer condemned the idea of legalizing recreational drugs since they are associated with depression, violence, disease and suicide in many cases. It appeared wrong to offer any easier gateway toward those personal demons since it would mean that even more vulnerable people would enter that Hell.
It is apparent, however, to even the most casual oberver that the reason for much of the death and maiming occasioned by guns is more correctly laid at the feet of the illegality of recreational drugs.
Since drugs are illegal, they are sold to willing consumers by criminal gangs. Many of the gangs protect their drug dealing territory by shooting anyone who tries to intrude on their turf. In the United States of America in the most recent years for which numbers are available, about 72,000 Americans died each year from drug related causes [http://www.unodc.org/unodc/secured/wdr/WDR12_Mortality_map.pdf. Taking the number of roughly 200 annual drug deaths per million population times the estimated USA population of 360 million gives us the number 72,000].
In addition, some 35,000 Americans were killed with guns, a fair share - say 50% as a guess - were killed in the drug trade. [http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-19/american-gun-deaths-to-exceed-traffic-fatalities-by-2015.html]
This is insanity.
We have it backwards.
Here, guns are legal while drugs are illegal.
In countries where the drugs are more or less decriminalized, drug deaths averaged about 10 per million compared to the United States number of 200 drug deaths per million.
But, those countries also have much more stringent gun laws than we do.
If we were to emulate those countries where drugs are controlled by the government but de-criminalized and guns are tightly regulated we would save upwards of 50,000 lives per year.
It is time to create a legal and controlled drug distribution system modeled on the prescription drug industry or perhaps the alcohol industry.
It is the right thing, My Liege.
It will save many promising lives and futures.
Your faithful servant,