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Friday, March 06, 2009

Drug freedom = less violence = gun freedom

Hey conservatives, sick of onerous gun control? Want to buy guns, keep them, and carry them without so much hassle?

Start supporting drug legalization.

One of the key arguments for keeping Canada's immoral C-68 Firearms Act is that Canada has stricter gun control because we don't want America's high murder rate. But what is the cause of the higher American murder rate? Is it that they have more gun freedom? Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron has found that gun laws have nothing to do with America's high murder rate. Instead America's higher murder rate is explained by the relative harshness of its drug laws and enforcement. From the Ottawa Citizen's Dan Gardner's excellent column:

If prohibition is causing violence, countries that are less strict in enforcing the law should see less violence, while those that take a harder law should see more. Changes in law enforcement over time should be correlated with violence as well.

And that's just what Miron and two colleagues found in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Examining data spanning countries and decades, Miron and his colleagues found things like arrest rates, capital punishment and gun laws didn't explain the numbers. But "the hypothesis that drug prohibition generates violence," they concluded, "is generally consistent with the long time-series and cross-country facts."

Miron's conclusion is sobering: If governments respond to gang violence with tougher laws and crackdowns, they will ultimately produce more violence.

Among western nations, none has fought the drug trade harder than the United States. And none has a murder rate close to that of the U.S. Miron thinks that's not a coincidence. "I have one set of estimates that maybe 50 per cent of homicides in the U.S. are due to the prohibition of drugs."

So not only does drug prohibition cause violence because drug dealers can't access the courts to resolve their disputes and thus have no other way to seek resolution, it's also that the level of police enforcement and sentencing exacerbates the violence.

Even the RCMP admit that the current violence in Vancouver is caused by the police crackdown in Mexico that has reduced the cocaine supply in the city.

Further, sending more people to jail for drugs further strengthens gangs. Gangs recruit members in, and control, prisons. As such jail is not a deterrent for gang members like it is for lawful citizens.

There are two levels of moral blame in the drug war. The primary level lies with drug dealers who commit acts of violence. The second tier lies with those who morally sanction the system that creates the incentives for such acts to occur. This includes the conservatives (moral), soccer moms (moral), and police (self-interest) who support prohibition. Conservatives, to absolve yourself of moral blame, to see the violence end, and to get more gun freedom, all you have to do is tone down your moral aversion to drug use enough to support legalization and support the principle of liberty consistently by applying it to the drug issue.

In fact, why don't you write Stephen Harper and tell him, you don't support drug prohibition anymore. Your gun rights hang in the balance. When David Miller, Dalton McGuinty, and other members of the Ontario left call for a handgun ban, they always use gang violence shootings -- shootings that result from drug prohibition. Think about it.

Posted by Michael Cust on March 6, 2009 | Permalink

Comments

I find it difficult to believe that legalizing drugs will result in lower gun deaths. The legalization movement (if it can be called that) aims that more ordinary people caught up in strict enforcement of gun laws. These people are unlikely to join gangs and/or use guns because of their habit. Legalization would not affect them at all.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-03-06 5:43:23 PM


"Among western nations, none has fought the drug trade harder than the United States. And none has a murder rate close to that of the U.S."

One might cite the example of Mexico (a large part of whose economy focuses on supplying the outlawed US market). The homicide rate is staggering, to the point where the cartels are engaging in what can only be termed a civil war, a direct and violent challenge to the government as such.

60-70% of the market that is being fought over involves a plant that could be grown in any back yard, and as such, has an intrinsic value if legal equal to, oh, dandelion leaves.

Posted by: Dave Hardy | 2009-03-06 6:20:33 PM


This is the most kickassuperfantastixcellentriumphanous article I've read in awhile.

What a coup for Jeff Miron! Finally, we have proved the law & order posturing of the Right is self-defeating and only exacerbates the very problems they seek to solve.

Wake up 'mainstream' zombies, you have been deceived!

p.s. I'm rooting for you Western Canadians to get your gun rights recognized. Ontarians may not mind being 'kept' by the federal government, but they shouldn't be dragging you into the pen.

http://www.mikevine.com/

Posted by: Mike Vine | 2009-03-06 6:36:34 PM


On the subject of gun laws...and gun laws alone...
Here is a comparison for you. The city of Phoenix, Az. has about 6 million people and wide open gun laws.The cities of NY, Wash.D.C., Detroit and Miami have strict gun laws. Phoenix has a much lower crime rate "per capita" than any of those cities. In fact it has a lower crime rate "per capita" than Calgary. Do the math. Its a simple one.
As for drug laws, yes they cause drug wars. The best example would obviously be the Prohibition of Alcohol. The murder rate in the US droped by half when those laws were repealed.
Another simple math calculation.

Posted by: JC | 2009-03-06 7:17:40 PM


This post is correct. The harsh reality is that the Mob continues to manipulate the drug trade - the Bloods and Crips (and others) do the dirty work and people die over turf wars. The moronic 16 year-old who joins the Bloods won't be affectted by drug legalization but the people pulling the strings will. The violent gangs will have one less source of revenue as the mob won't hire them to distribute drugs anymore. On the other hand, if you legalize drugs, you will undoubtedly see many more kids dying from drugs. How would legalization work exactly? Who would be able to buy drugs? Anyone over 19? Booze and tobacco are closely regulated heavily taxed. The logistics of legalizing drugs are complicated - this must be thought out. Let's start with pot and monitor the results.

Posted by: Realist | 2009-03-06 7:35:02 PM


Weed and guns?! Are you serious?! I might actually have to move back to Canuckistan!

Posted by: Buddha Chan | 2009-03-06 8:27:41 PM


The city of Phoenix, Az. has about 6 million people and wide open gun laws. The cities of NY, Wash.D.C., Detroit and Miami have strict gun laws. Phoenix has a much lower crime rate "per capita" than any of those cities.
Posted by: JC | 2009-03-06 7:17:40 PM

The City of Phoenix has 1.5 million people. Greater Phoenix (Maricopa County) has 4 million. It would help when you are trying figure out the "per capita" rate to use the correct population numbers.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-03-06 8:37:38 PM


With all due respect, but this is the most moronic thing I have read in a very long time -- if ever. Dream on ... apparently you have already done permanent damage to your brain by smoking too much pot.

But thanks for demonstrating the permanent and lasting damage even "harmless" drugs like pot can cause in regular users.

Posted by: Werner Patels | 2009-03-06 9:49:35 PM


But thanks for demonstrating the permanent and lasting damage even "harmless" drugs like pot can cause in regular users.

Posted by: Werner Patels | 2009-03-06 9:49:35 PM

Another anti freedom hysteric trained just the way the government likes them.

The City of Phoenix has 1.5 million people. Greater Phoenix (Maricopa County) has 4 million. It would help when you are trying figure out the "per capita" rate to use the correct population numbers.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-03-06 8:37:38 PM

Well thank you "The Stig" for the correction.
I guess I should have said "greater Phoenix area which pretty much "is" Maricopa county.
And again you've made another inanne point which doesn't dispute the basic point but does make an attempt to smear it.

Do you ever have anything to actually contribute other than you're not so subtle endorsement of all things statist?
There's a good commie now run along along...

Posted by: JC | 2009-03-06 9:57:51 PM


"Among western nations, none has fought the drug trade harder than the United States. And none has a murder rate close to that of the U.S. Miron thinks that's not a coincidence."

None have a black population like the US either. If Miron bothered to examine the murder rate by race the evidence is obvious. White homicide rates in the US are little different than those of other "western" (i.e white) nations. This is junk.

Posted by: DJ | 2009-03-06 10:33:34 PM


Although it may not be politically correct to say it, Michael, the cause of America's high murder rate is twofold: The fact that it is a nation of immigrants with a very heterogeneous population, and the large number of blacks there. Statistics show that up to half of murderers and murder victims are black, even though they only comprise about 13 percent of the population.

Furthermore, in 1900, there were essentially NO gun-control laws in England, compared with several jurisdictions in the U.S. that passed restrictions on open or concealed carry. Yet England's murder rate was far lower than the U.S. rate even then. On the other hand, England now has the most restrictive gun laws in the free world, and their murder rate is skyrocketing. So clearly the mere availability of firearms as little, if anything, to do with murder rates.

Arguing that putting more criminals in jail produces more violence is idiotic. Stricter laws make criminals more desperate and apt to resort to violence, true, but they also ensure that there are fewer such criminals left; all but the very cleverest are gradually put away, leaving only the most ruthless. What violence is left is more extreme and more spectacular, but ultimately the ranks of the criminals are thinned. Unless, of course, you want to argue that whenever a criminal is put away, another person who would not otherwise have become a criminal then becomes one in order to keep the numbers up.

Finally, your hate-on for morality is unconvincing. Those indirectly responsible for the violence are not the lawmen who restrict drugs, but the unconscionable drug users who put money in the hands of gangs because lives are less important to them than getting high. I know that many pro-drug types find the entire concept of morality to be pathetically quaint and obsolete, but other members of our species cling blindly to it.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-06 11:42:55 PM


How racist is that Shane?

Posted by: Realist | 2009-03-07 12:04:31 AM


Shane back with more USA DEA disinformation and lies.

'Those indirectly responsible for the violence are not the lawmen who restrict drugs'.

A 92 Year Old Black Lady from Atlanta Ga. USA may tend to disagree with you Shane.

She would if she could but she was shot 40 times by Atlanta USA Narc Cops in a botched drug raid. The cops then planted Cannabis on her bloodied corpse in Nov. 2006.

Was she black enough for you Shane?

Puritanical busybody's like Shane Matthews do make for some light hearted reading but when you come right down to it. Shane Matthews is just a punk.

Shane Matthews and Rush Limbaugh.

Helping Keep America Drug Free.

Posted by: jeff franklin | 2009-03-07 6:55:52 AM


Well thank you "The Stig" for the correction.
I guess I should have said "greater Phoenix area which pretty much "is" Maricopa county.
And again you've made another inanne point which doesn't dispute the basic point but does make an attempt to smear it.
Posted by: JC | 2009-03-06 9:57:51 PM

You're welcome JC. Unfortunately trying to compare the per capita crime stats of a city to a county is intellectual fraud. I noticed that you never used the pre-Katrina crime stats of New Orleans, usually one of the top five most dangerous cities in the US, where gun laws are almost non-existent.

The following rankings are for the 10 least and most violent cities in the US with populations over 75,000 people. The ranking are based on: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. Do you see the trend? Hint,it isn't gun control laws.

Least Dangerous

1. Mission Viejo, Calif.
2. Clarkstown, N.Y.
3. Brick, N.J.
4. Amherst, N.Y.
5. Sugar Land, Texas
6. Colonie, N.Y.
7. Thousand Oaks, Calif.
8. Newton, Mass.
9. Toms River, N.J.
10. Lake Forest, Calif.

Most Dangerous

1. Detroit, Mich.
2. St. Louis, Mo.
3. Flint, Mich.
4. Oakland, Calif.
5. Camden, N.J.
6. Birmingham, Ala.
7. North Charleston, S.C.
8. Memphis, Tenn.
9. Richmond, Calif.
10. Cleveland, Ohio

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-03-07 7:55:22 AM


Realist- Is quoting statistics racist now?

Jeff- If I remember correctly, that 90 year old in Atlanta fired at police as they entered the apartment. There were drugs being sold from said residence, and the police had a warrant. About the nicest thing I can say about the old girl is she lived a full life.

Stig- Those lists are racist.

Posted by: dp | 2009-03-07 8:49:56 AM


Stig- Those lists are racist.
Posted by: dp | 2009-03-07 8:49:56 AM

The stats I used were for 2007. Here's the 2008 chart. The same criteria is used. Some cities have changed. The trend hasn't.

Least Dangerous

1. Ramapo, N.Y.
2. Mission Viejo, Calif.
3. O'Fallon, Mo.
4. Newton, Mass.
5. Brick Twnshp, N.J.
6. Clarkstown, N.Y.
7. Amherst, N.Y.
8. Greece, N.Y.
9. Allen, Tex.
10. Colonie, N.Y.

1. New Orleans, La.
2. Camden, N.J.
3. Detroit, Mich.
4. St. Louis, Mo.
5. Oakland, Calif.
6. Flint, Mich.
7. Gary, Ind.
8. Birmingham, Ala.
9. Richmond, Calif.
10. North Charleston, S.C.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-03-07 9:08:52 AM


Hi Shane,

I've missed you and your special brand of spin doctoring and fountain of misinformation. But i see you don't hesitate to take it every where you go.

So let's look at a few things that are uniquely American. For instance the way our statistics lie. True, Blacks represent a smaller percentage of the population and yet are convicted of more crimes and more homicides.

But now lets take the same statistics and compare them to economic status. Guess what poor people commit far more crimes and homicides then middle and upper income. So if we take the percentage of poor whites, a significantly smaller percentage then the percentage of poor blacks, and pro rate them the percentage differences narrows between the two races. But we in America would rather talk about race any day instead of poverty, even though poverty is growing.

We also don't like to talk about things like discrimination within our legal system or even the number of blacks wrongly convicted of crimes as opposed to whites.

And quite frankly even though I own them myself another factor especially in our homicide rates is not only the proliferation of guns, but also our "Cowboy" heritage and our love of violence in our games and entertainment.

And I can see you trying to make the Gumby stretch to comparing crime rates in the beginning of the 1900's in England the US. But as usual you refuse to recognize what was causing both the gun laws and murder rates which of course was prohibition.

So there is not logical comparison to the US and England at that time and likewise there is no comparison to England then and now. England was primarily homogeneous then but is certainly suffering more growing pains now with influxes of new immigrants just like the US.

So clearly you're actually comparing apples to oranges aren't you?

Like wise to disprove you theory of putting more criminals in prison for longer times will eventually lower the crime rate is true only for a brief period. The reason for that is if some poor black kids have the choice of making $5.00 an hour down at McDonalds or $15,000 a week selling drugs remarkably most of them will go to work at McDonalds. But the problem is there will still be more then ten of them willing to take over the business of every dealer hauled off the street. The the crime rates begin to rise again in both number of crimes and severity of them because you now have the new drug dealers on the street and the old drug dealers getting out of prison more dangerous than they went it.

That has got to be a recipe for disaster but fortunately it is mitigated by prison gangs that actually control the drug trade from behind prison walls. (I tought we covered this on the "Big Lie" thread. I'm a little disappointed you didn't learn more).

So no prohibition of drugs or alcohol has never worked and never will, and we really need to look at the immorality of continuing to do so. As I pointed out on the other thread it neither the drug users or the drug sellers that are really the cause of all the violence and mayhem. Its actually people like yourself that believe we can legislate morality that creates the environment for the black market to thrive in and all the violence death and distruction that comes with it.

Now really, how moral is that.

We're never going to find perfect people Shane. We need to realize that and just allow them to live their sinful lives without trying to turn their sins into crimes.

Think about we have a lot of alcohol addicts and even more tobacco addicts. I don't know about you but down in the states if it wasn't for them and their sins the rest of Americans would have a hard time paying their taxes because that's how much is generated in "sin taxes" on alcohol and tobacco products. But despite that incredibly high demand those sinners create you never here of rival liquor or convince stores killing each other and innocent by standers in the process in drive by shootings.

Prohibition is immoral Shane, look at all the harm it causes.

Posted by: Uncle Homer | 2009-03-07 9:18:55 AM


Stig- How about throwing in a list of countries. I suspect the trends would hold.

Posted by: dp | 2009-03-07 9:22:43 AM


Stig- How about throwing in a list of countries. I suspect the trends would hold.
Posted by: dp | 2009-03-07 9:22:43 AM

Gold, silver and bronze for the highest per capita murder rates in the world go to:

1. Colombia: 0.617847 per 1,000 people

2. South Africa: 0.496008 per 1,000 people

3. Jamaica: 0.324196 per 1,000 people

India has the highest total number of murders.

Canada ranks 44th with a rate of 0.0149063 per 1,000 people

The UK ranks 46th with a rate of 0.0140633 per 1,000 people

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-03-07 9:47:40 AM


Just what are these statistics supposed to prove? That gun deaths aren't a serious problem in Ontario? Hardly! All those stats do is lull Ontarians into a false sense of security. You people are incapable of dealing with anything. So much for the master race.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-03-07 10:04:21 AM


How racist is that Shane? - Facts cannot be racist; only true or false. This is one fact I'd be happy to see disproven, but I don't hold out much hope. I don't even know why this fact is true. I wish I did.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-07 10:19:35 AM


Jeff, do you really think that quoting a single drug raid gone wrong disproves an established statistical trend? Or are you just trying to deflect attention from it by manufacturing outrage? You're not a lawyer, by any chance?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-07 10:21:22 AM


Homer,

1. Statistics don't lie. They can be interpreted or manipulated, but raw data, in the form of corpses in bags, is very difficult to argue with. Unless you want to argue that most of those guys just had really, really dark tans.

2. As with the drug user who ignores violence in the street just so he can get high (prime example: DesCartes), you make excuses for lawbreakers. Moreover, although there is a higher poverty rate among blacks, the absolute number of poor whites is higher. This is how statistics can be manipulated—by omitting crucial details and context and hoping the other party won't connect the dots.

3. The racism card is a ploy for losers who wish to draw attention away from hard data. Blacks are at least as racist as whites. They simply don't outnumber them.

4. Afghanistan is more violent than the U.S., and almost no one there is a cowboy fan or owns a television or video game. There has never been a solid link between TV and violence. It's a red herring. As for the availability of guns, explain England's low 1900 murder rate when guns were not only considered household tools, but a necessary part of the gentleman's equipment.

5. You're evading. Of course there will be new criminals with each new generation. But the older ones will still be in jail. And if prison overpopulation concerns you, you could start putting the worst offenders to death. By the way, the recidivism rate is about 60%, not 100%. So nearly half of convicts learn their lesson.

By the way, SourceMeister, do you have sources for your claim that the drug trade is run from behind prison walls? And I prefer objective parties, so please delete such dubious sources as HempFirst.com from your list.

6. How amusing that a confessed lawbreaker and drug user should cite immorality for anything. And do you have any actual proof that ending the restriction on drugs would lower usage rates? People like to quote Amsterdam to prove this case, but Amsterdam is actually tightening regulations, and even before that their rules were stricter than most people believe. Possession of even marijuana was still a crime, although you were allowed to buy and smoke it in select shops.

The drug sellers perpetrate the mayhem; the drug users bankroll the mayhem. It really is that simple, but I see you have a distrust of simple explanations, probably because they allow you less “wriggle room.” Your explanation is like blaming society for the scumbag who knifes the old lady for the ten cents in her purse. People choose their actions. Period. No excuses.

7. The fact that we will never find perfect people is not an excuse for accepting what we have before us as the best we can get. We should strive for improvement, quality, excellence. Your approach is a surefire formula for mediocrity. We haven’t turned sins into crimes. Sins are crimes.

8. Ah, yes, the tax carrot: “Think of the money we could make!” Except libertarians usually support lower taxes, not higher ones. Should we go back to the days of the Saxons, and tax murder, too? “Yes, you can kill this person, but must pay the customary weregild [we’ll call it a “tax”]of $50,000”? By the way, sin taxes comprise only a small part of most jurisdictions’ total revenue. Some proposals for “sin” taxes are truly otherworldy—there are proposals to tax chocolate, soda, espresso, adult entertainment, and cosmetic surgery not medically necessary. The government does nothing to provide these services; in many cases they have no social cost; so what business does the government have making money off it? They’re politically palatable because the first ones target the most extravagant and John Q. Citizen can say, “at least they’re not taxing me.” But eventually they will, if they deem it worthwhile. It is the old, old story—divide and conquer.

9. Prohibition is not immoral. But disobedience of it when one knows the cost, and for no better reason than to get high, certainly is.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-07 10:58:20 AM


Being sort of in the middle concerning the legalisation of marijuana, I must still state that legalising it will not cause the criminal organisations to disappear nor is there any proof it will end the violence. The criminal organisations will simply turn to a different revenue source, and those needing or wanting a fix without money to purchase it will continue to turn to crime. The proposal that the government will reap benefits from taxing it also raises some other problems. Let us say it becomes government taxed and controlled and one is able to purchase it at government outlets like alcohol. The first problem I see is that many people could simply grow their own and even enough to supply others. What then? Law enforcement agents descending on them in raids? We would be quickly back to where we are now. Any doubts just look at the "illegal" marketing of tobacco.

So unless one is a drug user, I fail to see how legalising drugs is going to solve much of anything.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-03-07 7:48:40 PM


Shane, who pulls the strings of the drug trade? Look into it and you may be surprised at what you find. I don't dispute the stats for one minute but there is more behind stats and they cannot always be taken at face value. Every underprivilaged community is more prone to illegal acts (back in the days of legalized racism in the US, blacks were "known" for stealing chickens from white farmers so their families could eat). And yes, the Jamaican gangs operating in Toronto, for example, are central to the gang violence problem. However, the people behind the drug trade are quite the mosaic. White CIA agents, white cops, Italian mafia (classified as caucasian last time I checked), and South American drug lords are running the show. To solve a problem one must get to the root cause. The war on drugs is not working because it's a sham.

Posted by: Realist | 2009-03-07 8:22:44 PM


"White CIA agents, white cops, Italian mafia (classified as caucasian [sic] last time I checked), and South American drug lords are running the show."

Even if this position is accepted as true, it's irrelevant. Removing blacks from the US murder rate calculation drops US murder rates to levels comparable to other western nations despite the existence of the Italian mafia.

Posted by: DJ | 2009-03-07 9:25:05 PM


Ultimately, Realist, the user pulls the strings of the drug trade. No buyer, no seller. Therefore target the user.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-07 9:34:06 PM


"Target the user"

You're right, Shane. Drug dealers are businessmen, nothing more. Supply and demand markets are controlled by the demand side.

If (certain)drugs were legalized, gangsters wouldn't immediately run out and get jobs. They'd focus more on pimping, or robbery. The really lazy ones might become cops.

The only positive thing that might come of it is, competition among gangs might lead to a thinning out process. It would also give cops more time to focus on other issues, like renegade skateboarders, and people smoking in commercial vehicles.

Posted by: dp | 2009-03-07 10:06:05 PM


"1. Statistics don't lie. They can be interpreted or manipulated,"

What a wonderful and star bright contradiction you have there Shane. Statistics don't lie (and by extension the people who use them) they can just be interpreted differently and manipulated.

Yes, yes, I see now, several different interpretations and manipulation will always render truth.

By the way Shane, allow me to show you the statistics I have on some oil reserves and beach front property I have in the middle of Montana. Once you see the studies and the fortune you can make off it I'm sure you will want to buy it from me. I'd keep it myself but being a liberal Democrat (not a Libertarin) it wouldn't be right for me to make a fortune while you on the other hand could.

"but raw data, in the form of corpses in bags, is very difficult to argue with. Unless you want to argue that most of those guys just had really, really dark tans."--Shane

By the way are you by chance addicted to appeal to emotion fallacies?

"2. As with the drug user who ignores violence in the street just so he can get high (prime example: DesCartes), you make excuses for lawbreakers."--Shane

There will always be law breakers Shane. Its how we deal with them that matters and especially if the way we deal with them causes far more harm then good. So until you can admit that you can't rightfully accuse drug users of being the ones who can't accept reality.

"Moreover, although there is a higher poverty rate among blacks, the absolute number of poor whites is higher. This is how statistics can be manipulated—by omitting crucial details and context and hoping the other party won't connect the dots."--Shane

No this is how statistics can be grossly misunderstood and misstated. Let's see we use percentages for Blacks and whole numbers for whites and then draw a conclusion. Very interesting.

"The racism card is a ploy for losers who wish to draw attention away from hard data. Blacks are at least as racist as whites. They simply don't outnumber them."--Shane

And yet you can amaze me even more. People who acknowledge that racism, but more importantly prejudice effects black people and the statistics they generate and the proof of this is Blacks are at least as racist as Whites. You may have many talents Shane, but critical thinking is not among them.

"Afghanistan is more violent than the U.S."--Shane

Are you really sure about that Shane and do you have any sources for this information. I suppose if you count casualties of war as murder victims (and there are those that do) you would have a point. But until you show me the statistics on it I don't believe you do.

"and almost no one there is a cowboy fan or owns a television or video game."--Shane

No kidding. Why, how backward of them. And what did you say their crime rate is?

"There has never been a solid link between TV and violence."--Shane

Shane, we in the US glorify violence in our sports, in our entertainment, and in our government's approach to problem solving. And we have one of the highest murder and assualt rates in the world and you would contend there's no connection. Well you could be right I suppose. All those murders and assults could come from the US also having one of the highest percentages or religious people. But if there is a result there has to be a reason for it.

"It's a red herring."--Shane

Oh I see, but comparing Murder rates in the UK to America in the early 1900's is not. Yeah, sure Shane, whatever you say.

"As for the availability of guns, explain England's low 1900 murder rate when guns were not only considered household tools, but a necessary part of the gentleman's equipment."--Shane

If you are comparing that to the US I already told you. We had prohibition of Alcohol and were not so foolish.

If you are comparing their murder rate then as opposed to now I already told you that also. A stable and homogeneous population then, and a diversified and unstable population now.

"You're evading. Of course there will be new criminals with each new generation. But the older ones will still be in jail."--Shane

Actually I think you are meandering clear off the reservation. If a drug dealer is arrested and carted off to prison, let's say there are 10 other peers willing to take his place (which incidentally is where a lot of the killing comes from to see which one does get his place). The arrested drug dealer spends 3 to 5 years in prison, where to survive he must be willing to join the gang of his race and commit violent acts for them as well as his self defense. Upon release after five years he is not seeing a new generation but primarily his peers in his place, so he kills a few of them and goes back to prison, where he also meets the guy who originally took his place but not the 20 new guys that are now vying for both there places. Who knows they might even become friends or lovers before they are both back out on the street in another five years but that does not mean the story will have a happy ending especially for society.

"And if prison overpopulation concerns you, you could start putting the worst offenders to death."--Shane

Well, I'm not sure how it works in Canada but in the US we murders who kill innocent people. The problem with that is due to racial prejudice, sloppy and discriminatory police, prosecutors, judges and juries we also end up executing people who are innocent of the crime they were convicted of. So then that makes us the murders and personally I don't even like being a murder let alone increasing the number of my murder victims. Especially when the death penalty does not act as a deterrent and actually costs more than it would to keep someone in prison for the rest of their life.

"By the way, the recidivism rate is about 60%, not 100%. So nearly half of convicts learn their lesson."--Shane

60 is not half Shane and it should take no mathematical wizard to be able to figure out that is 60% of the people we arrest and send to prison just end back there in about three years eventually we're going to run out of room to keep them in.

"By the way, SourceMeister, do you have sources for your claim that the drug trade is run from behind prison walls? And I prefer objective parties, so please delete such dubious sources as HempFirst.com from your list."--Shane

Here, watch Prison Nation from that bastion of counter culture radicalism, National Geographic.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/prison-nation-3457/Overview

"How amusing that a confessed lawbreaker and drug user should cite immorality for anything."--Shane

As soon as you can explain to me why using drugs is immoral you'll have a point but until then you don't, my fellow drug user.

"And do you have any actual proof that ending the restriction on drugs would lower usage rates?"--Shane

I'm sure if I'd ever said any such thing I would but since I didn't I don't. What I have said, and incidentally proven through sheer logic is that if drugs and other victimless crimes were legalized it would drastically reduce the crime rate, not just for people who indulge in those behaviors but more importantly in reguard to the people who make their living (and dying) off supplying the demand for those currently illegal behaviors.

"People like to quote Amsterdam to prove this case, but Amsterdam is actually tightening regulations, and even before that their rules were stricter than most people believe. Possession of even marijuana was still a crime, although you were allowed to buy and smoke it in select shops."--Shane

I'll just skip over the obvious contradiction with that and just get to this. You say Amsterdam had lax enforcement of their drug laws. Tell me, do they have higher rates of addiction and crime because of it? Or do they actually have a healthier population and higher standard of living then either the US or Canada?

"The drug sellers perpetrate the mayhem; the drug users bankroll the mayhem. It really is that simple,"--Shane

And the moralists who want behaviors they consider sins to be crimes create the environment for both of them. You always seem to forget that part, Shane.

"but I see you have a distrust of simple explanations, probably because they allow you less “wriggle room.”--Shane

No, I just don't like and see great peril in logical fallacies.

"Your explanation is like blaming society for the scumbag who knifes the old lady for the ten cents in her purse."--Shane

No I hold the person responsible for their actions and the choices they make. And I do not believe a person has a right to go around stabbing little old ladies for any reason. Come to think of it I don't even think people have a right to go around killing other people. Damn, the more I reflect on it I don't even believe people have the right to harm the person or property of another or even engage in behavior with a high potential for doing that.
But then I do believe people have a right to decide what to do with their own minds and bodies because that does none of the above.

"People choose their actions."--Shane

And so they should as long as it harms no one but themselves or someone willing to engage in their behavior of their own free will.

"Period. No excuses."--Shane

Shane, old buddy, I hate break it to you but logical fallacies are the worst and most destructive excuses of all.

"The fact that we will never find perfect people is not an excuse for accepting what we have before us as the best we can get."--Shane

But the fact that we will never find perfect people is an excuse to continue to do things that make people much worse, cost us more resources then we can afford, and cause far more harm than good.

Listen, Shane, Have I told you yet about the view from beach on that property I own in Montana? It will be spectacular once the ocean gets there.

"It will be We should strive for improvement, quality, excellence. Your approach is a surefire formula for mediocrity."--Shane

Shane as soon as you can show me the points at which in all of human history we have stopped striving to improve you'll have a point but until then you don't.

"We haven’t turned sins into crimes. Sins are crimes."--Shane

Only in the minds of those who can't really define what a sin is, what a crime is, and what morality is which would be you Shane.

But go ahead and try to define those things and the differences between them if you want to. I'd be very much interested in seeing what you come up with.

"Ah, yes, the tax carrot: “Think of the money we could make!” Except libertarians usually support lower taxes, not higher ones. Should we go back to the days of the Saxons, and tax murder, too? “Yes, you can kill this person, but must pay the customary weregild [we’ll call it a “tax”]of $50,000”? By the way, sin taxes comprise only a small part of most jurisdictions’ total revenue. Some proposals for “sin” taxes are truly otherworldy—there are proposals to tax chocolate, soda, espresso, adult entertainment, and cosmetic surgery not medically necessary. The government does nothing to provide these services; in many cases they have no social cost; so what business does the government have making money off it? They’re politically palatable because the first ones target the most extravagant and John Q. Citizen can say, “at least they’re not taxing me.” But eventually they will, if they deem it worthwhile. It is the old, old story—divide and conquer."--Shane

Shane, how rude and inconsiderate of you. If you were going to prove my case for me, why didn't you use this in the first paragraph and save me all this time and typing.

"Prohibition is not immoral. But disobedience of it when one knows the cost, and for no better reason than to get high, certainly is."--Shane

Yeah, well tell you what Shane we'll just save this one until after you define morality for me.

Posted by: Uncle Homer | 2009-03-08 12:51:20 AM


dp, it seems to me that competition between gangs leading to a "thinning out" process is exactly what we have in Vancouver right now. Nearly thirty shootings in as many days. The supply of drugs is drying up because of stepped-up enforcement, and they're fighting over the crumbs that are left.

These smoking bylaws amount to persecution and are a joke, reaching the height of their kookiness in Pretty Boy McGuinty's Ontario. A cop there pulled over an adult driver for smoking with a minor in the car, and no sooner had she started filling out the citation when the girl stepped out of the car and—you guessed it—lit a cigarette. The cop was flabbergasted. Guess she doesn't have any teenaged daughters.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 11:25:25 AM


Homer,

1. No. There is only one real truth to be gleaned from any set of statistics. But statistics can be selectively applied and interpreted to provide several different plausible explanations that have the ring of truth. As an activist, you know this well. As for those oil reserves and beachfront lands in the Treasure State, yes, I’d love to see those stats. Cough ’em up. Immediately will be satisfactory.

2. So raw data in the form of counted corpses is not a reliable source of information? How is it inaccurate, absent someone’s inability to count?

3. Your alternative to punishing wrongdoers is to declare their actions not wrong. That’s not a solution; that’s surrender.

4. The point is that even though a higher percentage of blacks are poor, there are many more poor white people. Blacks should therefore not be overrepresented in total crime statistics as compared to whites based on total crimes committed. Unfortunately, they are. There was little gun violence on the streets of Toronto until the Jamaicans moved in. And Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

5. If you could find proof that the statistics so unflattering of blacks are somehow false or manufactured, Homer, you’d have a case. You, however, merely attempt to create reasonable doubt by suggesting that such distortion should be inferred. Even organizations like NAACP don’t dispute the actual data; they simply argue that it’s Whitey’s fault.

6. Sure, Homer, and while you’re at it, why don’t you ask for proof that the sky is blue? Afghanistan does not publish crime figures. However, with the place a festering war zone, with constant tribal warfare now bumped up a notch by Taliban extremists, the NATO invasion and resulting insurrection, and Canadian soldiers coming home in body bags every week, how do you think it compares with the U.S.? The point is that access to TV and media is not a predictor of violence. Your attempt to deflect has failed.

7. That we “glorify” violence is opinion, not fact, and not admissible in debate. Correlation does not equal causation. There are numerous other things that make America unique, not least being a nation of immigrants. Comparing US murder rates to UK ones, with the controlling variable being access to firearms, is done to illustrate a specific point—access to firearms does not equal violence. Another red herring bites the dust.

8. We didn’t have Prohibition in 1900, smartass. And “Alcohol” is not a proper noun and should not be capitalized.

9. What you think does not matter; for once and for all, accept it. No one cares. And no, let’s not say there are 10 peers willing to take his place, because you just pulled that number out of your ass. And no, it is not necessary to join a gang to survive in prison; the great majority of inmates are neither gangsters nor do they join one while inside. This is pure conjecture for which you offer not a shred of proof.

10. “We murders who kills innocent people”? Don’t OD on that “medicine,” dude. Read the label. It does have a label, doesn’t it? Yes, the authorities are not perfect. But the choice is either to improve the system or do away with it altogether. It sounds like you advocate opening all the jails, firing all the judges, and banishing all cops to slave labour projects in Alaska—outside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, of course. Fat chance, boomer. Life is not a Figgy Duff album.

As for the death penalty, it doesn’t have to act as a deterrent. It just ensures that we’ve seen our last crime from that particular criminal. And unless it violates the principles of fundamental justice, that's reason enough in itself. I wouldn't sentence a man to death for his first serious crime. For the third one, though, you bet.

11. I said “nearly” half, smart mouth; I didn’t say “half.” By the way, what’s the recidivism rate among executed criminals?

12. Your source is a TV documentary? I had worse housing in the Army (and we were all volunteers). And for like to team up with like doesn’t just happen in prison. It's simply human nature.

13. My drug of choice doesn’t result in people getting killed, Homer. If alcohol were banned, I’d stop drinking it rather fund gang activity for it. It just isn’t that big a part of my existence. That’s the morality part—the ability to consider the welfare of others besides myself. That’s something you don’t seem quite able to grasp. And that is your failing, not mine.

14. Health and standard of living are not correlated with marijuana use; so says every pro-legalization activist who ever lived. We both know Holland’s standards are higher, so by way of insinuation, you hope to suggest that America’s lower standards are due to its “drug war.” This despite the fact that over sixty percent of dope grown in Holland is for the black market and that Holland is also a signatory to international drug treaties that require it to prosecute improper use of cannabis, which it is doing with increasing force. Again, nice attempt at redirect. But you lack the subtlety to make it convincing.

15. Ah, yes, if only there were no laws, there would be no crimes, only sins, and everyone would live in a land of luxury, the streets would be paved with gold and treed with candy canes, and so on ad infinitum. Any law invites its disobedience by those inclined to be disobedient. That doesn’t make laws a bad idea. The difference between your morals and mine is that I have some.

16. You fling out accusations of fallacious reasoning like they were candies. They’re the wrong brand of candy, though, because they don’t stick. :-)

17. Who are you to place conditions under which a person may choose his actions? That is exactly what you deride “moralists” for doing. Moralists at least are motivated by something other than sheer self-interest. And most societies around the world at all times in their history have taken a dim view of unbridled selfishness. Those that descended into it and never climbed out again typically didn’t survive long.

18. How is “no excuses” a logical fallacy? What type of logical fallacy? Do you even know what a logical fallacy is? Do you know what logic is?

19. Um...how about since the baby boomers started taking control of things? Now we punish success, reward failure, and hire less qualified people to compensate them for their ancestors’ sufferings.

20. I notice you provide no alternative definition. Therefore mine stand. Anybody can come to the table and carp. If you want action, bring a solution.

21. I’m not proposing a sin tax on marijuana. I’m proposing we keep it on a prescription-only basis, and then only once it’s been properly proven to be efficacious for its intended use.

22. Morality is typically defined as social consciousness; an idea how one’s actions affect society and an attempt to act for the betterment of society through one’s own actions. Needless to say, drug abusers don’t score high on this scale.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 1:01:32 PM


Shane, the user has been targeted for the last 30 years. It does not work.

Posted by: Realist | 2009-03-08 1:28:46 PM


Shane, the user has been targeted for the last 30 years. It does not work.

Why, because it's not 100% effective? Using this logic, targeting burglars instead of the laws that create the environment in which burglary can flourish (by outlawing burglary) is also wrong. And burglars have been targeted since man invented the house.

War on drugs; war on crime. Both unwinnable; both worth fighting. We can't eliminate both sides of the balance beam. But we can move the fulcrum way over to one end. Because if we don't, the other side will move it over to ours.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 3:33:20 PM


Karol,

The logic is _not_ legalize one crime (rape = drugs) to reduce a social evil (violence = STDs).

The logic is stop criminalizing one act that only harms the user (drugs) to prevent the ongoing criminalization of another act that harms no one but the user (guns).

The idea is that conservatives can help themselves by supporting the moral principle that people should be allowed to do as they wish as long as it harms no one but themselves. The alternative is to sacrifice their gun freedom to their moral aversion to drug use. So the question for conservatives becomes, do I like freedom more or hate drugs more? Having your cake and eating it too is increasingly no longer an option.

For your disdain for my argument to work, there would have to be a principle by which both rape and drugs can be both criminalized. One is faith -- my metaphysical belief says so. This principle is undefensible in the public square because some will have a different metaphysical belief (like Rastafarians and members of the Church of the Universe to take two examples) and others won't agree that there are metaphysical principles (skeptics). The other principle is morality is what the government says it is (which is the principle Mussolini defends in his writings on fascism).

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2009-03-09 3:02:46 AM


Even if you managed to take away all the guns from all the hoods, Michael, they'd just go back to using stilletos, shillelaghs, and slungshots like they did in the 19th century. And gun-grabbers are mostly interested in curbing violence against women; violence against men is largely dismissed. (Perhaps this is because most gun-grabbers are women.)

And we both know that addiction to hard drugs like heroin does not harm only the user. Addicts tend to drag down those about them, stealing from their relatives and friends, destroying families, and ultimately cracking into cars and houses to feed their habit. This would happen even if drugs were legal because they would still cost money and addicts don't have any.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-09 7:35:19 AM


Oh great, Shane. You already got us kicked off Janet's Blog and now I suppose you're going to do the same thing here. (Wish you guys had those little emocon things with the really, really angry looking face. I'd put one in right here instead of this ):
"3. Your alternative to punishing wrongdoers is to declare their actions not wrong. That’s not a solution; that’s surrender."--Shane

The problem with this, Shane, is the definition of wrongdoing is completely subjective and inconsistent. In the case of altering your state of consciousness with alcohol that is not wrong. But if I want to alter the state of my consciousness with a substance that is less harmful, non addictive, and not prone to provoking violence that is wrong. There is no logical basis for that.

And as Friedrich Nietzsche said and I believe him: "Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. . ."

"4. The point is that even though a higher percentage of blacks are poor, there are many more poor white people. Blacks should therefore not be overrepresented in total crime statistics as compared to whites based on total crimes committed. Unfortunately, they are. There was little gun violence on the streets of Toronto until the Jamaicans moved in. And Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world."--Shane

Yeah, well maybe we should learn better then to enslave, discriminate against and oppress minorities. Its what creates the very effect you're seeing now. But hey, you got to give them credit for being very good at being bad. In the US when they moved into new territories they kicked the Mafia out.

"5. If you could find proof that the statistics so unflattering of blacks are somehow false or manufactured, Homer, you’d have a case. You, however, merely attempt to create reasonable doubt by suggesting that such distortion should be inferred. Even organizations like NAACP don’t dispute the actual data; they simply argue that it’s Whitey’s fault."--Shane

You guys must have a completely different judicial system up there in Canada. Down here the existence of reasonable doubt is enough not to convict someone.

"6. Sure, Homer, and while you’re at it, why don’t you ask for proof that the sky is blue? Afghanistan does not publish crime figures. However, with the place a festering war zone, with constant tribal warfare now bumped up a notch by Taliban extremists, the NATO invasion and resulting insurrection, and Canadian soldiers coming home in body bags every week, how do you think it compares with the U.S.? The point is that access to TV and media is not a predictor of violence. Your attempt to deflect has failed."--Shane

What are you getting mad at me for. You're the one who came up with an erroneous analogy. I was just being kind enough to point that out to you.

"7. That we “glorify” violence is opinion, not fact, and not admissible in debate. Correlation does not equal causation. There are numerous other things that make America unique, not least being a nation of immigrants. Comparing US murder rates to UK ones, with the controlling variable being access to firearms, is done to illustrate a specific point—access to firearms does not equal violence. Another red herring bites the dust."--Shane

Actually America and it's glorification of violence in our sports, entertainment, and problem solving is a world wide known fact, not opinion. And world wide studies also refute your erroneous claim that access to firearms does not increase their use in crimes and violence.

"8. We didn’t have Prohibition in 1900, smartass. And “Alcohol” is not a proper noun and should not be capitalized."--Shane

You're going to have to cite your sources then Shane, because I think your argument here is way off base. But I'd need to look at your sources to be sure.

"9. What you think does not matter; for once and for all, accept it. No one cares."--Shane

For someone who doesn't care you sure spend a lot of time trying to refute what I think.

"And no, let’s not say there are 10 peers willing to take his place, because you just pulled that number out of your ass."--Shane

Actually it came out a lecture I heard a police officer give. But you may be right. So how many people are willing to take a drug dealers place once his arrested and carted off to prison. You can't say none, because drug dealing arrests continue to climb as does the population of gang members.

"And no, it is not necessary to join a gang to survive in prison; the great majority of inmates are neither gangsters nor do they join one while inside. This is pure conjecture for which you offer not a shred of proof."--Shane

No, all of the above is simply erroneous opinion on your part. I've given you one source but here's a couple more.

"PT: Prisons are popularly perceived as places infested by gangs and violence. Is this accurate?

Kemp: The gang aspect is definitely accurate. Most of these guys who come to prison meet up with people they were running with in the streets. If, on the other hand, you come in to prison and you've never been in a gang, you're going to join a gang. There's no choice about it. If you're white, you'll have to join the white gang, etc.

This is impossible to prevent; in fact, it's the prisoners who segregate everything. If you let them shower, they'll carve out showers based on race. When I tell them to shower, I tell them "You go to this shower, you go to this shower." Some of them say, "I won't. A black inmate just got out of that shower, so I can't shower there." I heard a story about a group of Christian inmates up at Folsom who worked in the barber shop, cutting hair. The white gang told this group, "We don't want you to cut anyone's hair that isn't white," but this group said that they wouldn't follow those rules. The gang ended up stabbing those guys about seventeen times each."

http://www.policytoday.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=82&Itemid=146


"10. “We murders who kills innocent people”? Don’t OD on that “medicine,” dude. Read the label. It does have a label, doesn’t it? Yes, the authorities are not perfect. But the choice is either to improve the system or do away with it altogether."--Shane

I don't think you've got the death penalty in Canada, do you Shane. So you're only an ideological advocate for murder of innocent people wrongly convicted.

"It sounds like you advocate opening all the jails, firing all the judges, and banishing all cops to slave labour projects in Alaska—outside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, of course. Fat chance, boomer. Life is not a Figgy Duff album."--Shane

As I pointed out on the other thread you like this fallacy of false attribution. I've never advocated opening all the jails, or doing away with laws, or doing away with police prosecutors or judges. I've consistently said that we should change our laws concerning victimless crimes such as drug use, gambling and prostitution. I would even be happy if we only tackled something like legalizing marijuana as a start.

"As for the death penalty, it doesn’t have to act as a deterrent. It just ensures that we’ve seen our last crime from that particular criminal. And unless it violates the principles of fundamental justice, that's reason enough in itself. I wouldn't sentence a man to death for his first serious crime. For the third one, though, you bet."--Shane

It must be nice being your own little God and deciding who should live and who should die and for what. But what you are actually advocating in the oldest Criminology theory there is; the Classic Crime theory. Crime can be reduced if the punishment is sure enough, swift enough and severe enough. This theory of crime prevention goes back beyond the Dark Ages, Shane and has never worked, even when they not only killed petty criminals but drew and quartered them first.

"11. I said “nearly” half, smart mouth; I didn’t say “half.” By the way, what’s the recidivism rate among executed criminals?"--Shane

Your nitpicking is ridiculous when the point is that more than half of all criminals return to prison. That means by sheer mathematics prisons will become full. We can keep building newer and bigger ones but unless we do something about the root causes of crime, rehabilitate criminals, and stop putting drug users in jail all those prisons will eventually be overcrowded to.

And there you go again advocating murdering innocent people again Shane. The recidivism rate for executed criminals might be zero, but within the executed there is not possibility that the number of innocent people executed will be zero. Now why is it something terrible when someone kills an innocent person but perfectly acceptable when the state does the same thing.

Where are your morals there Shane?

"12. Your source is a TV documentary? I had worse housing in the Army (and we were all volunteers). And for like to team up with like doesn’t just happen in prison. It's simply human nature."--Shane

You obviously didn't watch it Shane. What it really says and demonstrates very clearly is why our "get tough on crime" philosophy is backfiring on us and making us all less safe in the long run.

"13. My drug of choice doesn’t result in people getting killed, Homer."--Shane

ROFLCOPTERS!!!

You would have to be the most isolated person on earth to have never heard of Drunk drivers killing people, homicides committed under the influence of alcohol and people drinking themselves to death.

"If alcohol were banned, I’d stop drinking it rather fund gang activity for it. It just isn’t that big a part of my existence. That’s the morality part—the ability to consider the welfare of others besides myself. That’s something you don’t seem quite able to grasp. And that is your failing, not mine."--Shane

You might but as the US's failed experiment with prohibition proved millions of others would not and it would create the same problems including murder and mayhem.

What would be moral about that. Pressing personal beliefs into murder and mayhem is not moral Shane and not good moral judgment.

"14. Health and standard of living are not correlated with marijuana use; so says every pro-legalization activist who ever lived. We both know Holland’s standards are higher, so by way of insinuation, you hope to suggest that America’s lower standards are due to its “drug war.” This despite the fact that over sixty percent of dope grown in Holland is for the black market and that Holland is also a signatory to international drug treaties that require it to prosecute improper use of cannabis, which it is doing with increasing force. Again, nice attempt at redirect. But you lack the subtlety to make it convincing."--Shane

These discussions would be a lot shorter if you would actually address what I've said instead of trying to make up something different and then arguing that.

Once again the point is that lax drug laws and people using drugs does not seem to adversely impact places where it occurs.

"15. Ah, yes, if only there were no laws, there would be no crimes, only sins, and everyone would live in a land of luxury, the streets would be paved with gold and treed with candy canes, and so on ad infinitum. Any law invites its disobedience by those inclined to be disobedient. That doesn’t make laws a bad idea. The difference between your morals and mine is that I have some."--Shane

Again, Shane, you waste time and space with these false attribution logical fallacies. I've never said we should have no laws. I've just said laws against consensual crimes to far more harm to society than good.

"16. You fling out accusations of fallacious reasoning like they were candies. They’re the wrong brand of candy, though, because they don’t stick. :-)"--Shane

Shane you are the one who flings out fallacies and all I do is point them out. And yes, when I can name them, define them and use your examples and points of argument to illustrate them they do stick like glue to you.

"17. Who are you to place conditions under which a person may choose his actions? That is exactly what you deride “moralists” for doing. Moralists at least are motivated by something other than sheer self-interest."--Shane

Not really. It is a moralists self interest to decided what other people should or shouldn't do. It is a moralists position to act as judge and jury of others. And most moralists are also hypocrites.

Was Jesus moral Shane? If you read the new testament you'll find the one sin Jesus preached against more than any others was not to be a hypocrite.

Jesus also said not to worry about the speck of sawdust in your bother's eye. Worry about the plank in your own eye first. That's good advice Shane.

"And most societies around the world at all times in their history have taken a dim view of unbridled selfishness. Those that descended into it and never climbed out again typically didn’t survive long."--Shane

I agree especially when it is greed and lust for power. But now you're going to have to tell me what's selfish about altering the state of your own consciousness. Especially since you do that too.

"18. How is “no excuses” a logical fallacy? What type of logical fallacy? Do you even know what a logical fallacy is? Do you know what logic is?"--Shane

I know false attribution, fallacious cause and effect, ad homineum, post hoc ad hoc and several others and you commit those fallacies consistently in your writing.

"19. Um...how about since the baby boomers started taking control of things? Now we punish success, reward failure, and hire less qualified people to compensate them for their ancestors’ sufferings."--Shane

I forget what the proper name for the fallacy is that deals with really, really ridiculous statements but whatever it is the statement above would be a good example of it. The baby boomers are responsible for more advances, more successes, and a better world than any generation before or since.

By the way you're at this point simply spouting false conservative dogma and that dogma won't hunt Shane.

"20. I notice you provide no alternative definition. Therefore mine stand. Anybody can come to the table and carp. If you want action, bring a solution."--Shane

I've brought solutions to the table and laid them out at some great length. You're the one advocating for the same failed status quo no matter what the costs to society and individuals.

"21. I’m not proposing a sin tax on marijuana. I’m proposing we keep it on a prescription-only basis, and then only once it’s been properly proven to be efficacious for its intended use."--Shane

Again if you would actually address what was said it would be a lot more helpful not to mention shorter. You took off on a tirade about the unfairness of taxes, the arbitrary way things are decided, the encroachment of the government into people's private lives. I just pointed that is the exact case when it comes to marijuana.

"22. Morality is typically defined as social consciousness; an idea how one’s actions affect society and an attempt to act for the betterment of society through one’s own actions. Needless to say, drug abusers don’t score high on this scale."--Shane

Nope, I don't see that in the definition. Here's how Webster's defines morality:

1 a: a moral discourse, statement, or lesson b: a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson

2 a: a doctrine or system of moral conduct bplural : particular moral principles or rules of conduct

3: conformity to ideals of right human conduct

4: moral conduct : virtue

But that doesn't really tell us anything about morals now does it. And if we don't know what morals are we can't really define morality.

So let's compare morals Shane. Tell me what are your morals.

And try not to get us kicked off this blog, OK?

Posted by: Uncle Homer | 2009-03-10 2:29:12 AM


Actually, Homer, maybe your 2,700-plus-word attacks of keyboard diarrhea might have been a contributing factor also, hmm? As for Janet, her reputation as an impartial moderator is permanently damaged. When I said to her before that sticking your fingers in your ears and humming was not the act of a critical thinker, I had no idea at the time how right I would turn out to be.

As for you, it's apparent by now that you can't resist the temptation to resort to childish, petulant tantrums. Your screeds positively drip with attitude, like a contemptuous teen. If you could elongate your vowels a la 13-year-old drama queen, I have little doubt that you would. Now then.

3. Drinking is not illegal, but getting drunk is widely frowned upon, and doing it in a public place is illegal. Furthermore, you cannot have open liquor in a public place, in a car, or anywhere but in your home or a place licensed to sell it. Most people quit drinking before they get drunk. How many drug users stop before they get stoned?

4. Slaves were emancipated in 1865. Slavery is irrelevant to the blacks' current situation.

5. Spoken like a true trial lawyer. And only true reasonable doubt counts, not the manufactured kind.

6. You wish to argue, then, that Afghanistan is safer than America?

7. Opinion. And so sorry, what studies? Hint: Violence Policy Centre and the Brady Centre are NOT considered reliable sources, and the UN is concerned with arms shipments to brutal governments, rebels, and insurrectionists, not private citizens who want to protect themselves or hunt.

8. What you think does not matter.

9. No, I'm merely unprepared to let your narcissistic nonsense go unchallenged. And our revolving-door justice system is to blame for that; some people have dozens of convictions. Let's start hanging people after three and see what happens. As for prisons, running with your own kind isn't the same as gunning for the Crips.

10. I don't think you have legal marijuana in the States either. So what's your point? And who's chucking the ad hominems now? You get bent out of shape anytime someone mentions rules, crime, or punishment. You're an anarchist driven by bitterness. By the way, drawing and quartering was reserved for traitors.

11. So what you're saying is that even though there is a finite number of Americans, there is an infinite number of criminals?

12. "Obviously." The age-old cry of the man who isn't sure, but very badly wants to be.

13. My purchase of alcohol hasn't killed anybody, Homer. I use it responsibly. Unlike drug abusers. As for drinking and driving causing death, that should be an automatic death penalty. And what does that say about the character of those "millions of others"?

14. Nice try. That question was a classic setup. You have all the subtlety of a torpedo in the engine room. Yours is an endless font of bitterness. You debate like a twenty-year-old mad at the world, but from your remark that you've been smoking dope for 37 years, you are probably close to triple that age. You baby boomers run remarkably true to type.

15. Then why do you call locking people up a waste of time? Or are you arguing that while there is an infinite number of criminals, there is only a finite number of non-drug criminals?

16. Until I challenged you, you had NEVER named a single one and had even used the word "fallacy" incorrectly. It's too late to hit the books and pull out the first fallacy that sort of fits your beef; you are found out.

17. I'm not a hypocrite. I don't smoke dope.

18. Only because you just now looked them up (see above). I can't recall a single case where you used anything but "ad hominem" before. As if you're in a position to call the kettle black.

19. Says who and based on what?

20. So you and a few other carpers say it's failed. That doesn't make it so.

21. Huh?

22. You looked up one source and consider yourself edified? The truly tragic thing is that you even had to look.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-10 7:15:14 AM


"And we both know that addiction to hard drugs like heroin does not harm only the user. Addicts tend to drag down those about them, stealing from their relatives and friends, destroying families, and ultimately cracking into cars and houses to feed their habit."
Posted by: Shane Matthews

I fully agree that Drug use is not just a question of personal choice. You have to look at the larger consequences in either case. However, I do believe that you are under-estimating the consequences of ensuring that the money, in the end, goes directly to those best adapted to operating outside of and in spite of our laws.
Morality is objective, laws do not have infinite leeway of action while still maintaining their authority. To give licences liquor stores at every corner, while doling out prison sentences for marijuana or 5-meo-dmt is to trivializes law.

I agree that opening heroin shops beside them would be equally ludicrous. But our ability to effectively reform Drug Laws gains little from these caricature alternatives. (one of which, sadly, is an actuality)

Our policies are inadequate by nature, not by execution. Their flaws are currently more profound than their benefits. Among these flaws I rank three most saliently: First is misinformation about drugs, their effect and their cultural context. Second, the monetary support for organized crime. Third, and not least, the illusion that punishment can substitute (or be substituted by) treatment.

I do not advocate a wholesale unhinging of the existing order. To treat public health, gang violence and the corruptive influence of international organized crime, extensive reforms are necessary. We need a better framework of laws to regulate artificial neuro-ligands.

Posted by: Timothy Zak | 2009-03-10 1:38:32 PM


In the interest of limiting the number of tangents (and not getting kicked off another Blog)I'm going to over look your childish personal attacks and anything I don't think is pertinent to the topic of this article.

"3. Drinking is not illegal, but getting drunk is widely frowned upon, and doing it in a public place is illegal. Furthermore, you cannot have open liquor in a public place, in a car, or anywhere but in your home or a place licensed to sell it. Most people quit drinking before they get drunk. How many drug users stop before they get stoned?"

Why wouldn't these same laws and rules of conduct work for marijuana?

"6. You wish to argue, then, that Afghanistan is safer than America?"--Shane

Maybe, although I don't have the statistics, and you brought up this point and don't have them either, I think actual street crime, and violent crime (not war related)might actually be lower than in the US.

"7. Opinion. And so sorry, what studies? Hint: Violence Policy Centre and the Brady Centre are NOT considered reliable sources, and the UN is concerned with arms shipments to brutal governments, rebels, and insurrectionists, not private citizens who want to protect themselves or hunt."--Shane

Again your oh so typical ad hominem response. You automatically try to attack and dismiss the sources instead of actually considering the facts and statistics.

"9. No, I'm merely unprepared to let your narcissistic nonsense go unchallenged. And our revolving-door justice system is to blame for that; some people have dozens of convictions. Let's start hanging people after three and see what happens. As for prisons, running with your own kind isn't the same as gunning for the Crips."--Shane

This is getting ridiculous on your part. Again considering the amount of errors that occur in the judicial system and considering humans are incapable of not making errors what you'd really be advocating is mass murder. Also all you have to do is look at states like California which has the three strikes and you're out law to get an idea what would happen. Part of their overcrowding problem in the number of people behind bars essentially for life because of three petty crimes. You're also being a hypocrite because like I said almost everyone commits some kind of crime, Jay walking, speeding, cheating on their taxes, and dozens of other common crimes.

Are you contending if you get three speeding tickets you're put to death?

"10. I don't think you have legal marijuana in the States either."--Shane

Well that would depend on if you're talking local, state or Federal laws. There is no legal marijuana as far as the federal government is concerned. There is for medical purposes in at least 11 states. Several other states and local jurisdictions have either legalized it or refused to enforce marijuana laws for personal possession.

"So what's your point? And who's chucking the ad hominems now?"--Shane

You are impossibly thick headed when it comes to even ad hominem fallacies Shane. Try it one more time. There are two parts to an ad hominem fallacy. One attacking the person or the source, while Two; not dealing with the information or facts.

So the following statement is a perfect example of an ad hominem fallacy.

"You get bent out of shape anytime someone mentions rules, crime, or punishment. You're an anarchist driven by bitterness. By the way, drawing and quartering was reserved for traitors."--Shane

See just attacking me without even so much as mentioning everything I put with the exception of drawing and quartering as a deflection.

My point is that despite the horrific methods of execution they did not end crime. Take a look:

"under the reign of Henry VIII, as many as 72,000 people are estimated to have been executed. Some common methods of execution at that time were boiling, burning at the stake, hanging, beheading, and drawing and quartering. Executions were carried out for such capital offenses as marrying a Jew, not confessing to a crime, and treason."

But it didn't work then and it won't work now.

"11. So what you're saying is that even though there is a finite number of Americans, there is an infinite number of criminals?"--Shane

After ad hominem your next favorite logical fallacy is a form of ad hominem, false attribution. What I said and will say again is that if 60-75% of people put in prison just return we just have to keep committing more and more resources and the supply of criminals will still never run out.

"13. My purchase of alcohol hasn't killed anybody, Homer. I use it responsibly. Unlike drug abusers. As for drinking and driving causing death, that should be an automatic death penalty. And what does that say about the character of those "millions of others"?"--Shane

But your purchase of alcohol still funds the industries that do sell people that kill alcohol. So you're actually no better then the marijuana smokers you want to condemn. If you put your morals where you mouth is you wouldn't support it at all. But you do and there in is the root of your hypocrisy when it comes to judging others.

"14. Nice try. That question was a classic setup. You have all the subtlety of a torpedo in the engine room. Yours is an endless font of bitterness. You debate like a twenty-year-old mad at the world, but from your remark that you've been smoking dope for 37 years, you are probably close to triple that age. You baby boomers run remarkably true to type."--Shane

How many ad hominem fallacies have our racked up in this post alone. Is there so much as one mention of the point you're supposed to be referring to? No there is not.

"15. Then why do you call locking people up a waste of time? Or are you arguing that while there is an infinite number of criminals, there is only a finite number of non-drug criminals?"--Shane

You've just got to be acting dumb by this point. When it comes to consensual crimes, the expense and waste of resources to arrest them, try them and incarcerate them pales in comparison to the adverse effects of the black market they create. You seem to spend about half your time bewailing the terrible things the black market creates and the other half of your time denying those very same effects.

16. Until I challenged you, you had NEVER named a single one and had even used the word "fallacy" incorrectly. It's too late to hit the books and pull out the first fallacy that sort of fits your beef; you are found out.

"17. I'm not a hypocrite. I don't smoke dope."--Shane

You're the worst kind of hypocrite. Condemning others for what you yourself do. Making excuses for the ill effects of alcohol and those that use it while condemning marijuana smokers. Railing against the violence and murder of criminals and then advocating the same things in the name of the state. Claiming moral superiority, while having no morals of your own.

Posted by: Uncle Homer | 2009-03-10 1:46:53 PM


Timothy Zak,

You seem rational to me (and what a refreshing change that is) so allow me to point out a couple common misconceptions about drugs and to use your example I'll point out some things about heroin.

While heroin is rapidly physically addictive and deadly in an overdose, long term heroin addiction has virtually no detrimental health effects. As far as damage to the body there is very little.

Now that will be instantly challenged by those pointing to heroin addicts but two things need to be pointed out. I am talking about pure heroin made by pharmaceutical companies and sold by pharmacists. But that is not the normal case. The normal case is a drug made by criminals, distributed by criminals, with all kinds of other substances including bleach added to it for more profit by criminals. Yes, drugs made and distributed by criminals are dangerous and harmful. The other thing is drugs made by criminals do not have a standard potency which is why so many addicts end up overdosing.

Now lets compare that to the legal drug alcohol which is also physically addictive and does cause a very large array of health problems up to and including death. It is possible to overdose on alcohol, people in the US do it every year. It is also possible to consume enough alcohol to kill instantly.

And when it comes to true addiction if you take someone physically addicted to heroin and someone severely addicted to alcohol and just lock them in separate rooms when you come back three days later you'll have a live junkie and a dead wino. Without medical intervention severe alcohol withdrawal results in death.

I am in no way trying to underestimate the danger and damage caused by heroin but I think it is useful to address the common misconceptions about both heroin and alcohol.

Posted by: Uncle Homer | 2009-03-10 2:05:58 PM


Homer,

3. Because no marijuana smoker would abide by them. They're breaking the law and buying blood pot now. There's no reason to believe they'll respect a more lenient law.

6. "Maybe" is not an answer. Concede the point or present your proof.

7. You mean the statistics you refused to provide? There aren't any, are there?

9. You'd have to be most unlucky to be wrongfully convicted three times, Homer. Of three felonies, no less.

10. How many times do I have to say it--we will never eliminate crime. But we can minimize it. All it takes is a little guts. Sorry if that seems too much like work for you.

11. So your answer is yes: There is an infinite number of criminals. Because otherwise we can house them all. They represent no more than 1 or 2 percent of the population.

13. Irrelevant. I, as a legal user of a legal product, am not responsible for someone else's illegal use of that product.

14. So you admit it was a trap.

15. So now, at long last, you admit that users create the black market. Hallelujah. Someone kill the fatted calf.

16. No rebuttal?

17. Actually, Homer, a the definition of a hypocrite is someone who condemns others for what they themselves do, so it doesn't make someone the "worst" kind, just the regular kind.

Your problem is you are trying to play the moral relativity game. To believe your arguments, we'd have to accept that marijuana is no worse than alcohol, that killing convicted murderers is no better than slitting old grannies' throats, and that a moral compass with a busted needle is no worse than one that points north, even when things head south.

By the way, your attempt to downplay the dangers of heroin is full of crap. Heroin addiction leads to collapsed veins, which cause infections. You will turn into a feral animal before allowing yourself to go without. If at any point you're caught without a fix, you are good and screwed. Junkies are frequently emaciated because heroin kills appetite. It also dehydrates the body, leading to severe constipation. And all of that is just for starters. Just ask anyone who's been an addict for thirty years, if you can find one that old.

Alcohol is not nearly as physically addictive as any narcotic, and your attempt to even compare the two is grossly deceptive. And if heroin were used to the extent that alcohol is (semi-regular use by 90 percent plus of the population), do you really think the damage done to society would be comparable, even remotely? And severe alcohol withdrawal is not invariably fatal, as you imply. The mortality rate is 20%, untreated. Your odds of living to a ripe old age are a lot worse if you get hooked on smack.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-10 2:31:28 PM


'Cannabis causes psychosis in non users'.

This statement applies to Puritanical Shane Matthews and his USA/ DEA campaign of disinformation and lies re. Cannabis.

Poor Shane, mommy had a little too much to drink while Shane was in utero and now Shane just spouts inane drivel as per his DARE mentors.

'People drink alcohol for fun, they smoke pot to get high'.

Ticky Dicky, schizophrenic drunk, disgraced former USA Pres. Richard Nixon/USA Drug War initiator.

17 Dead in Ontario this winter due to alcohol and snowmobiling. Where is the outrage, the calls for renewed Alcohol Prohibition? When will our perfectly coiffed P.M. along with Peter Van Loan announce Mandatory Minimums for any alcohol related offence?

5 Dead in Calgary as a result of a drunken truck driver.

A NWT RCMP Officer killed by a drunk.

Keith Magnuson, former NHL'er killed by a drunk.

RCMP Taserer and Drunkard kills innocent man while driving with child in backseat.


So drink up Shane and know you're in good company with the aforementioned.

Rivers of blood indeed.

Posted by: jeff franklin | 2009-03-11 12:57:37 AM


Funny how some people are so drowning in bitterness they can't see the forest for the trees. Now then, Jeff:

1. I never said that. I said that marijuana can cause paranoid psychotic breaks in a small minority of users (about 4 percent). Doctors also say that. You, of course, know better than either.

2. Petulant potshots from puerile prat.

3. I never said that. If you're going to quote me, do it accurately; otherwise close down the browser and play Solitaire.

4. At least Nixon was able to win re-election, unlike his liberal successor. Don't count your chickens, Jeff; Obama may well turn out to be another Carter.

5. Fascinating, Jeff, except until recently police had no way to tell if a driver was stoned, so pot-driving statistics don't exist. Since "practically everyone" in Canada smokes pot, think a lot of people toke and drive? Sure do.

6. I don't drink and drive. But I'm willing to be you toke and drive. That is, when you're not cackling in the dark as you watch the latest shootings on the news, reveling in the knowledge that you and your ilk have made it possible.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-11 6:24:55 AM


Do you know how utterly ridiculous and contradictory you sound when you say this:

These smoking bylaws amount to persecution and are a joke,
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-08 11:25:25 AM

.... And then in the next breath go on to support cannabis prohibition? You are a joke, a charicature of social conservative hypocricy.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-03-14 1:12:59 PM


If you adjust for the fact more single mother families are black and single mother kids commit most crime

crime between the races is the same.

Posted by: lj | 2009-03-17 3:47:10 PM


hi i'm writting a essay on the history of drinking & driving law in ontario for the past 100 years. i'm not very good at finding information on the internet. can & will you please help me?

Posted by: shawn | 2009-04-28 8:59:40 AM


Google it.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-28 10:39:35 AM


Tobacco is not a mind alterer, Doc. Deal with it. If you insist on going against the grain, occasionally you're going to come up splinters.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-28 10:40:24 AM



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