Until the ratification of the 18th amendment, city street gangs, especially those made of recent immigrants, did what such have always done; use knowledge of two cultures to prey upon other recent immigrants. Until the ratification of the 18th amendment, local police, especially those made of recent immigrants, would do what such have always done; use knowledge of two cultures to prey upon other recent immigrants. Albeit that the prey for the police were the street gangs, and often, recent immigrants on their own became police recruits, this regular control of the flare up of street gangs was the status quo, until 1917.
In 1917, abolitionists drenched the fire with a steady supply of gasoline, and the police have been running behind ever since. Prohibition or no, many people wanted to drink, and the preferred drink continued to be alcohol. As it had disappeared from the local grocer's shelves, it had to be gotten from somewhere else. Supply, not money, was the objection. Regular grocers were not going to become test cases for legal assaults upon the 18th amendment, so the supplier had to be willing to take the risk, and a source already outside the law, such as the street gangs, was perfect. To the street gangs, such an opportunity to have hordes of people voluntarily give them all that money was even more perfect.
These gangs quickly became the most organized source of drinks for their customers, and money, money, and more money, for themselves. This money, in turn, funded organized expansion into the older traditionals of illegal gambling and prostitution, and a short time later, trafficking in other forms of drugs, such as heroin, and then cocaine. Thus were the opponents of drunkenness the majority cause behind the founding of the American mafia.
By the time of the 21st amendment, acknowledging in 1933 the failure of the 18th, Al Capone, of Chicago, comes to mind as one of the earliest leaders of the mafia to be convicted, in 1931. In 1992, 75 years after the 18th amendment, John Gotti, of New York, had just become only the latest leader of the same mafia to be convicted.
The return to legality of alcohol was mourned as a loss of income by those who had profited. On the other hand, there were, and still are, other substances, with immense profits to be made by anyone, not just the mafia. While the drug of alcohol rejoined tobacco and caffeine in general legal usage, the others, such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, and more, have not simply been regulated, as with the first three, but continue to be prohibited, with the same result as with alcohol.
As the 1920's included the appearance of Al Capone & company, the 1980's included the appearance of the billionaire cocaine barons. Capone fell due to United States tax evasion. The cocaine barons, based in Columbia, not the U.S., have no such worries, and, like Capone's successors, have all the money, for whatever they can spend it on.
Cocaine is very profitable, but heroin is still popular, as are far more local and accessible drugs. Crackdowns on imported marijuana merely encouraged the near-wholesale expansion of growth in parts of Hawaii and Northern California. A number of drugs, such as amphetamine, are chemical based, and require little more than a home laboratory.
A recent occurrence has been the designer drug, one which resembles another which is illegal. The designer drug, however, has a few molecules difference in formula, making it entirely legal. As further advances in small scale chemical analysis and development occur, one can foresee the creation of designer heroin and cocaine. While this would cut the bottom from the sale of Turkish and Afghani opium and South American coca, this would do nothing to aid the enforcement of anti-drug laws as they now stand. Such top-down enforcement would continue to range from exceedingly difficult to absolutely impossible.
At the time of his death, just south of the Yellow River, in 1227, Chinggis Khan was the undisputed lord of the greatest armed force in history and an empire which would only be exceeded by itself, when ruled by his successors.
Yes, I do use a purely phonetic spelling of his name.
General George Patton commanded an immense amount of firepower when he advanced across Europe in 1944 and 1945, but the army he led was not his personally, and relied upon machinery and explosives for success. At its height in 1895, the British Empire may have circled the globe, but it included only about 12.8 million square miles and relied upon the latest in steamships, railroads, telegraphs, and repeating rifles.
At its height in 1279, the Mongol empire controlled an unbroken 13.8 or so million square miles. Had the General Subetai and Chinggis Khan's grandson Batu not turned back at the death of Ogodai, the second Great Khan, in 1242, nearly another million square miles --- in the form of half of Europe --- would have been under Mongol rule for at least a century; When they turned back, they were only 30 miles from Vienna. At all of these times, the Mongol armed forces and technology were never more than massed individual archers on horseback.
By the death of Khublai, the fifth Great Khan, in 1294, he was effectively more Chinese than Mongol, and was the final Great Khan. As for the people in what had been the Mongol Empire; in Russia was the Golden Horde under Batu; in Persia, was the first of the Ilkhans, Khublai's brother Hulagu; in Central Asia was the empire of Chinggis Khan's son Chagatai and, later, in India, his descendants, the Moghul Emperors; and in China, Khublai had been the first of the Chinese Yuan dynasty Emperors.
Overall, while the Mongols were totally successful in their conquests, even these greatest of warriors did not anticipate time and change, and, as imperial Mongols, ceased to exist. In China, the classic example, the Mongols invaded, many Chinese resisted, but many more simply exchanged masters, and continued on. As the Mongols needed Chinese to talk to Chinese about all that could be gained from the Chinese, the joint mass of bureaucracy and custom remained, forcing all that dealt with it to follow its ways, not theirs. What the Chinese did can be duplicated elsewhere, but it must be done with full intent, and not be stumbled into.
When a hurricane threatens, screaming at it gives one laryngitis, and the hurricane remains. If one should harness the hurricane, one can achieve immense power, and even may learn to cancel the hurricane entirely. During the process, there can be damage as one gust or another slams through a building or blows cars out to sea. But harness or not, this damage will continue to occur without fail.
What must be realized is that rather than spend time and effort failing to oppose alienated non-pharmaceutical drug users and dealers, what can be done is to offer improved and easier means of operation, automatically absorbing and crippling any denigrating influences involved.
In short, federal level legalization must be given to all creation, shipment, sale, and use of all non-pharmaceutical drugs.
The first counter argument which comes to mind is that the government should not involve itself in the traffic of known poisons. The problem is that besides the thoroughly documented physical and social effects of federally regulated alcohol and tobacco, amphetamines and their relations are prescribed daily, along with morphine, another opium derivative. Cocaine is a natural local anesthetic. The government already is involved. The government should become effectively involved.
Fully legalized non prescription drugs would be regulated and taxed. The regulation would not be for the purpose of restricting sales, as the failure of this is now continuously demonstrated. The regulation would be more as a governmental Underwriter's Laboratory, to ensure quality, packaging and sales methods of what is sold. The taxes charged, in turn, would not be so high as to ensure restriction, as this would encourage noncompliance. The taxes would be as a permanent source of revenue, used for anti-drug advertisements and the funding of treatment and research centers.
The next concern is that of the level of usage following the repeal of prohibition. As I recall, and have had a look to at least confirm for this paper, the level of alcohol consumption rose about five percent and stopped. On the other hand, entire law enforcement and regulation departments and their budgets were freed up for more plausible needs.
Someone will argue the need of dealing with an army of addicts in the streets. We have that now, and we're losing hands down. No babble about a war on drugs --- or worse yet --- running such a war as a war --- while honoring individual rights? --- is going to deny that. As for an increase, one must confirm the actual aftermath of the prohibition of alcohol and always keep in mind the old joke about everything from Christianity to jitterbug to being gay: "It was more fun when we were depraved. Now it's just a lot of work."
Included in that current problem of which we are losing control is the level of that editorial favorite; urban violence. This equation is simple; A substance both difficult to embargo and easy to sell is both popular and illegal. First, if your hobby makes you unemployable and unable to follow your hobby at a nice, safe, local clinic, you tend to do anything you can to get the money, and you take your mugging and robbery supplied money anywhere you can furtively find a supplier, who also has a second level of inherent problem.
As one cannot take a merchant's dispute to court when the merchants are illegal, one must use other methods. When one is faced with a pistol, one buys a shotgun. When one faces a shotgun . . . one watching all this becomes thankful for the difficulty of constructing nuclear warheads. At least a large fuel-air bomb, while as powerful, doesn't leave a radioactive crater. This is not an unusual scenario. The most effective mass dealers, from drugs to groceries, are organized. Organizations have headquarters, and the all time fastest remedy for a competitors' headquarters is a big bomb.
Look at this, now, and ideally, from a dealer's viewpoint. Right now one can make a lot more money than at McDonalds, which is the reason why dealing is such a popular, even if often fatal, career. However, given general legality, wholesale distributors would sell to anyone they could so as to make all the money they could. Anyone could become a dealer, since the distributors would be eager to sell. Individual dealers, though, would then be in trouble, because any addict could look at one set of prices, then go down the street to find a better one. A price war would result, which would be peaceful, because the first dealer to pull even a knife would have every other dealer gleefully calling in the police to get rid of one of their competitors. The best place to sell, in fact, would be from next to the police station, for just that reason.
In a short amount of time, some addicts would almost be going cold turkey because so many dealers would have gone out of business. The margins would have become so nonexistent that one could make more money working at McDonalds. As the market settled down, the few dealers who would be left would be direct employees of the government. Yes, you did just read that. With some weeding out of the dealers who can't read because school wasn't hip, those left would be government subsidized bureaucrats, and a second level of government involvement kicks in.
Remember the drug taxes? As a dealer, even a government one, you find government representatives would take some of the profit away, but you would pay that extra, because you could get regularly supplied, good quality drugs from the same people to whom you've paid the taxes. A non-government source may not involve the taxes, but may switch a few shipments and sell talcum powder instead --- and would get arrested for fraud and maybe attempted or successful murder and be taken out of business. Or, a non-government source may not involve taxes, but without government subsidies, may involve higher overhead, and, again, no money is saved.
Now, consider the average addict. Unfortunately, while the walking skeleton with bad teeth and bloodshot pop-eyes may actually occur, this is an extreme case which probably will be dead in a month. Remember the population breakdown. A more typical cocaine or whatever-the-current-fad user is likely to be the standard lilly-white crew-cut yuppy-preppy type with a condo, a BMW, and a cute li'l drinking straw up its nose. While there may actually be one user in 300, to make up a number, who has a stable habit, don't count on it. Within a year, the condo is on it's third mortgage and the dealer needs a new customer.
Admittedly, the addict may have conned two others stupid enough to get involved, thus generating replacements, but the law of diminishing returns starts kicking in with really nasty side effects. First off, new addicts are likely to be like newly laid teen-agers --- half the teenagers tend to be pregnant. In the same manner, many of the new addicts are likely to land in treatment, or worse, before the people who introduced them. Also, new addicts are not likely to have been coerced into their new hobby --- one hint of such and the yuppy-preppy type is on the way to prison. How does one voluntarily addict oneself? Well, this occurs because the new addict is stupid enough to think it, the new addict, can have the car and what-not like the older addict.
Back in the office, rather than spend perfectly good money on trying to keep track of who buys, records are kept on how much sales of what are going on where. Customs would have a good idea of what is coming into the country, and track that. From region to region, people like to talk, and local experts --- medical mainly --- would have a good idea of what is going on and how much. As individual names are not involved in this --- think of it exactly as tracking television sales --- a fairly high level of accuracy should be achieved in a number of areas of information. Aside from the obvious reasons of health care, one of those areas is law enforcement regarding who done what to whom.
Between three A.M. sessions of treatment and general advice, it could be easy to pass on methods of how to deal with "this guy who got you hooked." The newer addict goes to the police who, if they get a good case, help kick in on treatment or continued supplies, as the addict wishes. The supplies come from government stores, so if the addict has been buying from a non- government source, that source becomes further destabilized by, probably, two or more addicts --- as the newer addict, now suddenly unavailable, would have gotten his or her supply from the older addict, now permanently unavailable.
While we're at the police, there is the very big matter of those stupid enough to do more than breathe while deliberately under the influence. While the current laws involving non- pharmaceutical drugs are 20th century versions of the late- medieval sumptuary laws --- someone doesn't want someone else having fun, and so prohibits the fun --- at the same time that non-pharmaceutical drugs are legalized, equally sweeping and very powerful laws with irreducible penalties must be passed for those who harm others while influenced.
Situation A: Someone drives around a corner at full speed and runs someone over. The driver is completely sober, the car is moving at speed limit in a responsible fashion, and the deceased ran out into the night time roadway while wearing black.
Situation B: Someone drives around a corner at full speed and runs someone over. The driver is completely stoned, the car is moving out of control, and the deceased was crossing the daytime street at a green light. The driver testifies after the fact that it was the deceased's fault, that he himself was somewhere else at the time, that . . . take your pick.
Situation C: Someone drives around a corner at full speed and runs someone over. The driver is completely stoned, the car is moving out of control, and the deceased was crossing the daytime street at a green light. The driver testifies after the fact that he has taken no drugs of any sort in any variety of a recent period of time. Investigation reveals an acquaintance with a unique sense of humor, who was the source of the drug without the driver's knowledge.
Situation A: Police rule accidental death. No charges are filed.
Situation B: Police rule death while driving under the influence. Charges are filed for murder, with the fact of influence raising charges to first degree murder with nondeductible life sentence for the driver.
Situation C: Police rule death while driving under the influence. Charges are filed for murder, with the fact of the influence raising charges to first degree murder with nondeductible life sentence for the non-driving and non-present supplier.
There are three holes in all of this: some suppliers and their customers, children, and pregnant addicts. As for the suppliers and the addicts, I would greatly enjoy a good way of nailing anyone who would knowingly deal to one such as the driver in situation B. There is also the question of what to do with the innocent of intent driver in situation C. The difficulty is precisely those who would act in very good intent, but have something go very wrong through no fault of their own.
Regarding children, one can continue to exempt children from such legalization, but the counter argument is precisely the examples of alcohol and tobacco today; "Hey Mister, buy us a six-pack of beer?" As a friend puts it, "You can't stop 'em."
Regarding pregnant addicts, again, this is happening now. As a possibility for an answer, given legalization and barring those children who wind up in perfect health, any children born who need extra medical care as a result of the mother's addiction are taken by the state. One cannot argue for preservation of a family when there is no family, only creatures that breed, and their offspring.
In the meantime, for those who are indeed doing okay "for the moment" while studying in detail one substance or another, those taxes they keep on paying for their new hobby keep going for staff salaries for the new clinics, or grants to preexisting clinics, and so forth. Among the possible so forths is advertising. In the '60's, cigarette advertising was a common occurrence on television. Equally common was the government sponsored anti-smoking ad. After a while, no matter how much money the tobacco companies spent, they were losing sales precisely because of the anti-smoking ads. Massive lobbying was done on behalf of the tobacco dealers. Finally, it was agreed that the anti smoking television would stop if the pro smoking television would stop. Advertising works.
It has been eighty or ninety years since it was decided on a large scale that taking things like opium or cocaine was a bad thing which the government must prohibit. At the moment, both our court and prison systems are overflowing, and any stop to this seems quite unlikely short of legalization. Of course, while I can babble on for pages about what possible results under different circumstances, an opponent can babble on just as long as to why the reverse must occur, if only . . . .
What is a matter of record, and is interesting to observe presented side by side, is that current prohibitions of non- pharmaceutical drugs have had extremely limited amounts of success, that the identical prohibition of alcohol was a total failure, and that the all powerful Mongol Empire was not destroyed because it was opposed or in some way declared illegal.
The all powerful Mongol Empire was destroyed because it was accepted and absorbed. With the limited speed of people on horseback, this happened less than seventy years after the death of Chinggis Khan. With the incredible speed of people in jets, this modern counterpart can itself end much less than seventy years after today.
|British Empire---1895||Total square miles: 12,788,632|
|United Kingdom 94,226||Afganistan 251,773|
|Sri Lanka 25,332|
|Oman 82,030||Botswana 231,804|
|United Arab Emirate 32,000||British Somalila (est.) 82,100|
|Egypt 386,650||Ghana 92,098|
|Sierra Leon 27,925|
|South Africa 472,359|
|The Gambia 4,127|
|PACIFIC OCEAN||THE AMERICAS|
|Australia 2,966,200||Canada 3,849,000|
|New Zealand 103,736||Antigua and Barbuda 171|
|Malasia 127,316||The Bahamas 5,380|
|Singapore 224||Barbados 166|
|Papua New Guinea (est.) 87,347||Belize 8,867|
|Solomon Islands 10,640||Dominica 290|
|Vanuatu 5,700||Grenada 133|
|Kiribati 266||Grenada 133|
|Tuvalu 10||Jamaca 4,232|
|Fiji 7,056||St. Kitts and Nevis 101|
|Saint Lucia 238|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 150|
|Trinidad and Tobago 1,980|
|Mongol Empire---1279||Total square miles: 13,754,663|
|Total square miles with potential conquered territory: 14,493,569|
|China 3,696,100||Soviet Union 8,649,496|
|Slovakia (est.) 24,683|
|Iraq (est.) 83,962|
|Difference over British: 966,031|
|With potential territory: 1,704,937|