A View of the Drug War: Stop Blaming Police and Start Emphasizing Personal Responsibility

An anti-law enforcement sentiment currently exists in American society, particularly among those who are disconnected from the realities of inner-city areas that are plagued by crime. In these circles, I often hear law enforcement personnel blamed for the "prison industrial complex, mass incarceration, and the war on drugs." It is almost as though these people are unaware that many areas of America are enduring a state of total societal degradation caused by the "drug war." People living in these areas need police protection. They do not need rhetoric from outsiders.

Like all wars, the drug war was started by policy makers. Law enforcement personnel had no say in when the war began, nor will they have a say in when it ends.

Unfortunately, America's drug war is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Politicians on Capitol Hill would never take the political gamble of promoting the legalization or decriminalization of any drug more potent than marijuana. Lawmakers realize that advocating such a revolutionary idea would be an instant career killer. Any initiation of federal legislation to legalize drugs would be politically dead on arrival. A majority of Americans would forcefully oppose such legislation.

I believe drug dealers do not want drugs to be legalized, because there is too much money to be made in their own markets without sharing sales with the government.

Many critics of law enforcement who live outside of areas plagued by drug warfare argue that we should legalize drugs, open up jail cells, and unload the drug-addicted prison population back onto our streets.
In doing so, they look past other crimes and misbehaviors associated with drug addiction.

Law-abiding citizens in communities in which violent crime and drug sales are prevalent would, for the most part, disagree with legalizing drugs, since they wish to live in peace, without having to deal with individuals suffering from drug addiction and the violence perpetuated by rival drug-dealing factions.

These good people desire a strong police presence in their communities. They have two small requests: to be treated with respect and for police not assume that they are criminals because they live high-crime areas. I wholeheartedly agree with them.

Taking illegal drugs may very well be a victimless crime. However, this concept vanishes once addicts run out of resources to maintain their addiction. They will commit serious and even violent crimes to obtain the funds to purchase more drugs. Desperate addicts will snatch purses, break into occupied homes, rob people at ATMs, steal property, physically assault people, and even resort to prostituting themselves. Desperate addicts will rob their own families, even stealing their own grandmother's retirement money. Some will even commit murder in drug-fueled rages.

Legalizing drugs would not necessarily serve as a catalyst that reduces arrest rates. The only certainty to such a scenario is that drug addicts would not be charged with drug crimes. Instead, addicts would only be charged with the crime they committed as a result of their drug dependency. Either way, they will be charged with a crime. Police officers will still be called upon to deal with addicts who engage in criminal behavior.

Who will provide that protection if not the police? In the midst of it all, the only people who walk free are the drug dealers who are supplying the addicts with drugs.

If police respond to a 9-1-1 call about a robbery in progress of an elderly woman and apprehend the assaultive drug-addicted thief, are the arresting officers heroes for coming to the old lady's aid, or are they agents of the far-left's perceived "police state?"

The far left advocates prioritizing treatment over incarceration. I echo their calls for treatment. However, they seem unaware that our criminal justice system is already very treatment-oriented. While those on the outside of the criminal justice system laugh at this suggestion, criminal justice professionals are working hard to help addicts get drug treatment. They are banging their heads against the wall in frustration because they can't make addicts do something they do not wish to do.

Many offenders are mandated by state parole boards or the courts to attend drug treatment. Large sums of taxpayer dollars are spent annually on free drug treatment for addicts. In more cases than not, addicts are resistant to treatment. They stop showing up for sessions, they resort to their old ways, the cops are called, arrests are made, and the cycle repeats itself. I have seen it up close and personal.

Law enforcement is not to blame for the actions of law-breaking addicts who are not receptive to drug treatment. You can only fault law enforcement for their inaction in protecting the public from this element.

We cannot allow people to victimize others, regardless of the state of disarray in which they find themselves. It's a question of public safety; it's not a "police state." Crime cannot be killed with kindness.

Criminal behavior will escalate as times get tougher. Poverty contributes significantly to crime and societal decay. The worst is yet to come as we enter the day and age of social Darwinism on steroids.

Many Americans want to have a strong military, secure borders, public safety, fire departments, waste and disposal pickup, and good public schools. Unfortunately, many of the same people do not want to pay for these government services. If people do not want to be taxed for those programs, they surely do not want to contribute more funding for services to the indigent.

How can America wage a war on poverty when we can no longer even afford to educate our children? Sadly, there is no remedy, and we simply do not have enough money to cure every lawbreaker.

In a day and age of enormous national debt, high unemployment rates, spikes in poverty, social unrest, and the diversion of government funding away from Americans in need, an emphasis must be placed on personal responsibility. It is the most crucial component of lowering crime rates, because police serve as the only roadblock to crime. Many honest and hardworking police officers are also standing in unemployment lines, having lost their jobs due to budgetary shortfalls.

We currently find ourselves at a stage of American history in which blaming law enforcement, government, and society for others' misdeeds is rapidly approaching an expiration date. In the past, we may have been able to blame societal conditions for criminal misbehavior. Even if there is still some truth to this argument, it is irrelevant--the well has now run dry for most people. The majority of Americans are struggling financially and are tightening their belts. They endure a great deal of hardship without pointing guns at others and taking things that do not belong to them.

With no economic relief in sight for law-abiding, middle-class, sober citizens who have laid the majority of the groundwork for most of society, it is highly unlikely that more money will be poured into social programs that those on the far left believe are the be-all and end-all to crime and drug addiction.

Rather than blaming law enforcement for their attempts to help people who have been victimized, perhaps we should demand that criminals abandon their reckless lifestyles and attempt to be productive citizens, particularly at a time in American history in which most Americans are hurting.

It is totally American to amplify your voice against unethical police behavior. We as citizens should never tolerate unlawful arrests or illegal searches and seizures. It is necessary to hold law enforcement personnel accountable when they exceed their authority. However, critics should not take individual cases of police misconduct and proliferate a misconception that those cases are representative of the entire law enforcement community. In doing so, they only serve to cripple police officers in parts of America where we are losing control.