by: Ryan Ramsey
The hypocrisy of supporting gun rights and the drug war Part II
Recent attempts to curtail the prescription drug epidemic in Florida had a predictable result, as heroin deaths continue to rise. Rather than addicts in Florida using drugs originating in pharmacies, manufactured in regulated labs, the ignorant lawmakers decided it would be better to fund terrorists in the Afghanistan poppy fields. It invokes an ad on TV I remember seeing in the early days of the most recent Iraq war, about how drug users were funding terrorism. Maybe ISIS will give an award to the misguided prohibitionists in the state house. Heroin is a perfect example of the ineffective result of drug prohibition, as the graphs below detail.
Portugal, in contrast, was able to turn a never ending criminal problem of 100,000 people into a 40,000 person medical problem. Not only are drug use, overdose death, and HIV infection rates way down, but the treatment programs save the taxpayers a ton of money that can be used for better purposes. Now that people don’t fear the stigma, twice as many people are seeking treatment to overcome addiction. Curing addiction is a better way to reduce drug demand than locking people up in prisons full of drugs. When they get out, the criminal record often prevents them from retaining gainful employment, and this cycle of misery and addiction, born of hopelessness begins again, and their children suffer as a result. Often they end up back in prison, and these children become the new generation of addicts or the thugs keeping them supplied. The cycle will never end, as long as we keep doing the same thing while expecting a different result, something many use to define insanity.
The price we have paid in the loss of civil liberties is even more horrific. I founded Jacksonville Open Carry in 2010, and gun rights issues saw my first major political success. I was forced to reconsider my position on decriminalizing drugs when I realized prohibition is at the root of gun control. The facts forced me to realize that to support the drug war was to support gun control, and to continue giving the enemies of the Constitution ammunition (pun intended). If you oppose decriminalization, quit fooling yourself and pull the lever for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, or the next round of liberal nut jobs in the next election cycle. Go hand over everything in your safe to the next gun buyback.
Does that sting? Suspend your emotional distress, as we constantly demand the left do, and consider the facts.
-Prohibition of alcohol gave rise to the wave of mob violence that resulted in the Gun Control Act of 1936.
-Drug prohibition laws in the 1960’s gave rise to the street violence that resulted in the abomination known as the Gun Control Act of 1968.
-In the early 1980’s, the CIA started smuggling cocaine to a man named “Freeway” Ricky Ross, to fund proxy wars against Soviet funded guerrillas in Central America. They sent a US-backed Contra rebel to marketing school, and he taught Ricky Ross how to manufacture and distribute crack cocaine. His network reached into Chicago, Houston, and beyond. Others followed suit and the crack epidemic was born. Most people are familiar with the Iran/Contra affair, and a great documentary called “American Drug War” features many of the actual players from Ricky Ross, to law enforcement discussing it. “Dark Alliance” by Gary Webb is a great book on the subject. If you believe he shot himself twice in the head with a .38, I have a nice beachfront condo to sell you in Fallujah.
The end result was the Gun Control Act of 1986, and we lost our automatic weapons, and the first steps of registration scheme began. One day it may be used to confiscate our firearms.
The irony of those supporting the drug war while opposing gun control reaches epic proportions, when we consider they espouse, rightly so, that no law will stop criminals who want guns from getting their hands on them. We tell the world that the cat is out of the bag, and since we cannot stop them, we must be able to defend ourselves. How do they not understand the same concept applies to people seeking drugs? It is the same exact concept! Since we know there is a more effective strategy, not a theoretical one, but a proven one, aren’t we then supporting cartels and terrorists by a refusal to admit it? What sort of hypocrite do we become, if we demand everyone accept the facts in the masterpiece of John Lott, “More Guns, Less Crime” while ignoring the facts surrounding the current drug war policy?
One day, if we fail, when they “pry your cold dead fingers from around your firearm” as your grandchildren are loaded into boxcars, and sent to the camps, they will curse you for your ignorance. They will wonder how you sat there with a cold beer, condemning your neighbors to prison for what they put in their cigarettes. They will forever curse those who gave rise to the police state, and saw the Constitution set ablaze, because they refused to see the facts.
-The fact is that you cannot be a fiscal conservative while supporting drug prohibition. It is hypocritical to do so while opposing Obamacare. Prohibition is even less effective and still costs a trillion dollars. In many ways, it is far worse. Every dollar spent on the drug war is wasted, and has collateral damage on millions of families. At least people on Obamacare plans get treatment, albeit substandard. What kind of fiscally conservative policy spends more money to solve a problem than the problem costs, while making it worse?
-The fact is you cannot claim to support smaller government and support prohibition. It is the number one catalyst for the growth of the police state, and the source of the commerce clause perversions that grew to justify federal encroachment in every area of life. We have 25% of all people incarcerated on the planet, right here in the land of the free. Let it sink in that communist China and Russia have far lower incarceration rates per capita. Then tell me how you believe in limited government and personal freedom. Chug another beer and wave that flag, Mr. Freedom.
-The fact is undeniable: if you support prohibition, you support gun control. Shut your mouth about the Constitution, you damage it more than all of Barack Obama and Sarah Brady’s wildest dreams. I’ve had cocktails with many of you, while we had a cigar, shared coffee in Tallahassee with you before hearings and at open carry events. Those are all drugs. Alcohol and nicotine kill more people every year than all the illicit drugs combined. Marijuana has never killed a single person in recorded history. Do you realize you are making the same argument as the anti-gun crowd!! Well these guns are reasonable, but you shouldn’t be able to own that assault rifle! Assault rifles account for a fraction of the gun deaths. You say, well I want my coffee, beer, cigarettes, and prescriptions, but you have to ban that evil marijuana and other drugs, that kill at a tiny fraction of the rate of your preferred intoxicant. Intellectual honesty means something, especially when you promote something unpopular, despite evidence it lowers crime.
-The fact is undeniable, if you support prohibition you support drug use, because the only policy that has lowered drug use is to decriminalize and treat the addicts.
I support reducing the federal government, I support personal liberty, I support the right to keep and bear arms, I want to see less people on drugs. I refuse to sink to the level of the left wing, and cling to falsehood because I am so vested in a position.
Therefore, I support decriminalization. It is the only way to reduce drug use, especially among young people. It is the only policy that will protect our right to keep and bear arms. it is a free country, you can disagree. I hear the Democrat Party is looking for live voters, go register with the other folks who propagate lies despite evidence. You’re promoting drug abuse and the police state, and it’s embarrassing to the rest of us, who love the Constitution.
Ryan Ramsey is a US Navy Veteran and lifelong political activist. He hosts “The Sounds of Rebellion” and “Liberty Tree Radio” on Blog Talk Radio. He sits on the National Council of the SDL, is the Director of The Florida Liberty Project, founder of Jacksonville Open Carry, and Bradford County Chairman, for the LPF. He also is the singer and guitarist of the “Rock Against Communism” band “Lovecrime”.