Opinion: To Save Blue Lives, End the War on Drugs

President Trump has made the Blue Lives Matter movement a cornerstone of his presidency. Trump publicly condemned the NFL athletes who took a knee to protest police violence, and has pushed to give local cops more access to military equipment. Meanwhile, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to push the drug war. His latest move has been to rescind Obama-era memos around allowing state-legalized marijuana.

Neither Trump nor Sessions sees the obvious disconnect. Like many conservatives, Trump will stop at nothing to make the job of police officer safer, but the best way to protect cops is to end the war on drugs.

The war on drugs creates violence by encouraging violent people to enter the drug trade. Once they’re in, the black market enriches them. They use the proceeds to secure their turf, funding more conflict. In 2010 alone, illegal drugs represented a $108 billion market in the US. A lot of that money flows to gangs like the Rollin' 30s Harlem Crips in Los Angeles, who used drug sales to finance their more violent activities like assault and robbery.

Once these criminals are involved in the drug trade, they fight both rival drug gangs and the police. Drug kingpins have an incentive to kill any police with whom they interact, because an arrest can mean decades in prison and killing investigators is an easy way to ensure they do not get caught. Low-level drug offenders lack this incentive, but are often the targets of no-knock raids. No-knock raids, in which police break into a home without announcing themselves, often lead to tragic results for police. Homeowners think their home is being invaded, so respond with violence.

The dangers to police from black markets aren’t just theoretical: we see hard evidence in the Prohibition era. When alcohol was outlawed and black market booze became big business for gangsters, violence against police skyrocketed. I built a database of police killings that shows a clear spike during Prohibition. I used data from the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks the death of every officer on the job by year. Some of these deaths are non-violent: police in an accident during work hours, for instance. But when I looked at violent police deaths (assault, stabbings and gunfire) from 1900 to 1950, the results were clear: during Prohibition, 192 police were killed on average each year. In the 14 years after Prohibition ended, that number plummeted to an average of 88 per year. Part of that may be attributed to an improving economy, but another factor was likely that black market alcohol was no longer subsidizing gangs.

Above-ground markets don’t enrich criminals or encourage violence against police.

Legal markets are mostly crime-free. There’s a reason Colorado hasn’t given rise to the next Al Capone, and it’s not just because marijuana makes people chill. Above-ground markets don’t enrich criminals or encourage violence against police. Elon Musk operates Tesla legally. That means that if police come to his headquarters, he has every incentive to treat them well, rather than ordering Tesla employees to kill them to protect himself.

Even as it creates more crime, the war on drugs redirects police resources away from violent criminals, endangering both communities and police in the process. In spite of the brutality associated with the war on drugs, the criminal justice system often targets low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. For 92.4 percent of people in federal prison on drug charges in 2012, a drug offense (not violence) was the most serious offense for which they were convicted. This ratio has probably improved since the federal government stopped subsidizing drug arrests in 2016, but nonviolent offenders are still swept into prison at alarming rates. Every hour the police spend in sting operations and busts of nonviolent offenders is an hour they cannot spend hunting down murderers.

The war on drugs also creates hostility towards police. In a drug deal, none of the participants welcome police presence; most see the cops as villains who will throw them in prison for enjoying themselves or for making a living. Police tend to concentrate drug raids in certain neighborhoods, which magnifies this resentment as residents repeatedly see friends and family arrested and thrown in prison. This resentment can lead to violence.

When police punish violent crime, they often leave thankful neighborhoods of would-be victims in their wake.

Ending the war on drugs would dramatically improve relations between police and poor and minority communities, reducing tensions and violence on both sides. When police punish violent crime, they often leave thankful neighborhoods of would-be victims in their wake. That creates more goodwill toward police, because cops are going where they’re truly wanted. Letting police focus on the crime that actually endangers local residents, rather than punishing dealers and users who have community sympathy, can encourage residents to see the police as benefactors rather than an occupying force.

Finally, the war on drugs creates the next generation of criminals. It steals away parents: in 2015, over 450,000 men and women were behind bars due to drug convictions. When a child’s mother or father is incarcerated, the child is three times more likely to spend time in jail or prison as an adult. Conservatives have long realized the importance of a strong family, but the war on drugs directly harms families. By locking up parents, our drug policy is creating thousands of children who are both more disposed to criminality, and unlikely to have any love for police. This endangers tomorrow’s officers.

The war on drugs is big government at its worst.

The war on drugs is big government at its worst. It costs a budget-busting $50 billion per year, and hasn’t even reduced usage --- 66 percent more Americans used illicit drugs in 2010 than in 1970. By creating bad incentives and unintended consequences, it makes more of the very violence it was intended to help stop. While no-one wants to see kids shooting heroin, we should follow Portugal’s example: when they decriminalized all drugs in 2001, drug overdoses and even use fell dramatically. Decriminalizing drugs can help us create a safer, freer nation.

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Julian Adorney is a Young Voices Advocate. His work has been featured in National Review, Playboy, The Federalist, The Hill, and Lawrence Reed’s bestselling economic anthology, Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism. Opinions presented here belong solely to the author.

It's not just the Twitter mobs, the Leftist extremists and the flagrant fourth-wave feminists who want ICE abolished. As we've seen, there's a growing number of politicians who want to see it as well.

Cue Alejandro Alvarez, who in his 32 years has managed to cultivate his brand as a "serial immigration violator." Alejandro has been deported 11 times. Well, he's facing deportation once again, after allegedly "slashing his wife with a chainsaw." His wife is in recovery and is expected to survive.

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Around 3:00 pm last Wednesday, police arrived at Alejandro's. When they arrived, they found Alvarez's wife suffering from "traumatic physical injuries, believed to have been inflicted by a chainsaw." The couple's three children were huddled in fear inside the home. Alejandro's wife was rushed to a nearby trauma center for an emergency surgery.

Alejandro fled the scene of the crime, but was eventually hauled in by police and booked under "suspicion of attempted murder, child endangerment, hit and run, and grand theft auto."

Sounds like the kind of guy who should be in our country illegally, right?

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley noted that "Immigration officers have lodged a detainer against Alvarez, requesting that local authorities notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement before his release to allow them to take the man into custody."

This is the new reality.

This is the new reality. The immigration agency has to ask for permission, to file requests, to have illegal immigrants who are guilty of crimes dealt with. Luckily for Alejandro, Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, so maybe he'll get another pass and be back on the streets in no time.

UPDATE: Here's how the discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Why is nobody talking about this?

Alabama law enforcement officials say that an illegal immigrant and an immigrant in the United States on a green card are responsible for the brutal murders of a grandmother and her 13-year-old special needs granddaughter in what investigators say is violence related to Mexican drug cartels.

The Purple Heart is reserved for those wounded or killed during battle. Awarded by the President, the medal has George Washington's image right there on the front of it. Make no mistake, it is reserved for heroes. True heroes. Men and women who've faced death and still persevered. Soldiers who fought in battle at the cost of their limbs, their lives, or their inner peace. John F. Kennedy earned a Purple Heart for his heroism as a gunboat pilot in 1944. John McCain received one for, well, we all know his horrific story. Colin Powell. Roughly one million Purple Heart medals have been awarded to veterans, all of whom were determined to have fought valiantly, with courage and heart.

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So it was a bit of a head-scratcher to hear comments from Democratic Representative Steve Cohen from Tennessee and self-appointed "Leader in Effort to #ImpeachTrump." During a House Oversight Committee hearing questioning Peter Strzok, Cohen said, perplexingly, that Strzok deserves a Purple Heart. You know, because he's injured by all those mean text messages that HE sent?

As we've seen, other than Cohen's fanboy praise, Strzok hasn't gotten off easy. Thankfully. The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General wrote: "We did not have confidence that Strzok's decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the [Anthony] Weiner laptop was free from bias."

Lack of confidence. I believe that's one of the criteria for a different medal. Not a Purple Heart, though. Sorry, Strzok, you'll have to get your trophy elsewhere.

Time mgazine is back at it again, reporting the real news, doing the proper journalism. One of their latest articles is sure to earn them a Pulitzer. Surely. The article is titled, "Women Are Buying Up Plan B Because They're Terrified of the Future Supreme Court."

Here's how the article opens:

Within hours of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement announcement last month, Emily Hauser was standing at a drugstore counter asking a pharmacist for two packages of Plan B. At age 53, she didn't need the emergency contraception pills — in fact, she wasn't sure who would, or when. But Hauser bought them anyway.

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I like that the article sets up Kennedy's retirement as an apocalyptic event. A recurring theme in the mainstream media, now that I think of it, especially lately. Here's the gist of it:

Across the country, Americans are stockpiling emergency contraception in light of Justice Kennedy's retirement and President Donald Trump's Monday nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. The nation's highest court is on its way to having a conservative majority, making threats against Roe v. Wade seem more dire than ever.

A good article includes backstory. History. The context. Here's what Time had to say about the sudden influx—some would say panic—in birth control:

To understand the interest in buying up Plan B, you need to brush up on Roe v. Wade. Some background: The court handed down the 7-2 decision in 1973, confirming that a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy is covered by the Fourteenth Amendment. Progress has been rocky since then.

Of course they reduce the issue to a series of strawman fallacies.

Ah, yes. Of course they reduce the issue to a series of strawman fallacies. At this point, it's impossible for those inflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, and now Kavanaugh Derangement Syndrome, to have a civil conversation. They certainly aren't going to budge in their opinion. Our main goal, obviously, is to connect to them as fellow human beings, living in the same chaotic world, and, hey, maybe along the way they'll admit that, maybe, they're a little more biased and deranged than they previously realized.

If all you knew about American politics came from The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, or MSNBC, you'd think that a "Blue wave" is about to swamp the country, with hip, millennial geniuses like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez surfing the crest of the wave. In fact, you would already think Ocasio-Cortez is the greatest hope for America since Barack Obama.

America is a very large country, and reality is usually more complex than the media lets on. But, since the media already has their narrative and superstar Ocasio-Cortez set for this November, there's no room for another young, minority, female, child of immigrants, political outsider, from the ultimate blue-wave state of California, named Elizabeth Heng. Well, there probably would be room for a story like that, except that she's a conservative.

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Thirty-two-year-old Elizabeth Heng is running for Congress against Democrat Jim Costa, in California's 16th district. It's been 40 years since a Republican won in that district.

In the early 1980s, Heng's parents fled the violence in Cambodia and immigrated to the U.S. In 2008, after graduating from Stanford where she was student-body president, Heng opened several cell-phone stores with her brothers in the central San Joaquin Valley. Running her own business and managing 75 employees opened her eyes to a not-so-dirty secret about capitalism trying to survive the virus of progressivism. She says, "I saw firsthand how government regulations impacted businesses negatively. I constantly felt that from Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, they were saying that I was everything wrong with our country, when all I was doing was creating jobs."

That's when she decided to venture to Washington, D.C., where she worked for six years learning the ins and outs of legislation and campaigning. She ended up working as a director for President Trump's inauguration ceremony, a job she managed while also finishing her MBA at Yale.

Fiscal responsibility isn't quite as sexy-sounding as free college for everyone.

One of the biggest lessons she learned working in Washington became the platform she is now running for office on: fiscal responsibility. She says, "In a family or a business, we don't suddenly act surprised when a budget comes up for the year. We get it done."

What a concept.

Still, fiscal responsibility isn't quite as sexy-sounding as free college for everyone. So, don't expect Elizabeth Heng to replace Ocasio-Cortez as the media darling anytime soon.