Hypocrisy Taints War on Drugs

Hypocrisy Taints War on Drugs
Posted by FoM on January 22, 2000 at 07:29:28 PT
By James P. Pinkerton, Newsday 
Source: Deseret News
Do you suppose they were racially profiling Whitney Houston when they looked for pot in her luggage? Maybe, but her case suggests that even if authorities did use race to seek out a suspect, they were also intimidated by her wealth and power. Indeed, the wealthy and the powerful don't usually object to drug law enforcement  as long as it's not enforced on them.
On Jan. 11, the black singer was stopped at an airport security checkpoint in Hawaii when authorities allegedly found half an ounce of marijuana in one of her bags. Security officers, who can only make arrests for violations relating to airplane safety, asked her to wait for the police, but she boarded her flight, which took off 30 minutes before the cops arrived.However, just as the cops weren't exactly racing to keep her from leaving, so prosecutors seemed content to merely warn her against returning to the Aloha State. After all, what law enforcer wants a hassle with a well-lawyered defendant?Everyone fighting the drug war knows it's OK to throw little fish in jail. But as for the big fish, it's better to throw them back. And so a rainbow coalition of celebrities  including Oliver Stone, Darryl Strawberry and Lawrence Taylor  have all been busted recently for drug possession, but none has suffered more than a fine and probation.Indeed, the true feelings of the chatter-culture complex were made clear after a report about the government's screening of prime-time TV scripts. The Office of National Drug Control Policy has been kibitzing with the networks to goose shows with anti-drug messages. The media establishment was outraged; The New York Times editorialized against "censorship and state-sponsored propaganda." Yet, if drugs are the enemy, why shouldn't everyone be enlisted in the fight?The answer, of course, is that the elites are far more afraid of Big Brother-ish meddling with the First Amendment than they are of drugs, as long as they are politely and privately consumed. So drug enforcement is OK  if it's aimed at someone else.There's a word for this: hypocrisy. And because of that hypocrisy, the drug war rages, not in the elite suites, but on the mean streets. There, mostly working-class cops  a high percentage of them minority  do battle with mostly lower-class druggies, and both sides lose.In Monday's debate in Iowa, Democratic presidential candidates Bill Bradley and Al Gore noisily declared their opposition to racial profiling, but where were they when the decision was made to profile whole population groups? Where were they when the cops instituted zero-tolerance enforcement against whole neighborhoods?According to the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based research group, blacks constitute 13 percent of all monthly drug users; they represent 35 percent of arrests for drug possession, 55 percent of convictions and 74 percent of prison sentences.So while some urban areas are being decimated, what's less understood is the detrimental effect the drug enforcement crusade is having on the police. Joseph D. McNamara is a former New York City cop, coming from a family of cops, who went on to be the police chief of Kansas City, Mo., and then San Jose, Calif. Now a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, he cites thousands of cases of police corruption and brutality stemming from the war on drugs in his forthcoming book, "Gangster Cops: The Hidden Cost of America's War on Drugs."McNamara's sympathies are still with the police, but he sees the current anti-drug effort as moral quicksand.Published: Janaury 22, 2000Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News ServiceCopyright  2000, Deseret News Publishing Corp. Related Articles: Hawaii Prosecutor May Pursue Drug Charge - 1/17/2000 Guards Find MJ in Bag of Whitney Houston - 1/17/2000 
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Comment #1 posted by dr.Fist on January 22, 2000 at 13:16:39 PT:
Whitney Houston Pot bust? Not!
She discarded a bag prior to going through security, this drew attention to her, if she had just gone through with the bag they would of never looked in it, simple as that! I am sure it was not a racial profiling, as whites are only 20% of the population of the big island and usually the min. wage security guards are people of color. They have no right of search and arrest, they have no case at all. On this island at least 1/2 of the people smoke pot, the cops will do nothing in this case, they want people like this coming to spend money. Hawaii is about to pass a medical cannabis law introduced by a non-white governer. 
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