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.

MORE FROM YOUNG VOICES

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.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to talk about why he believes President Donald Trump will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.

Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will consider and vote on the nominee, also weighed in on another Supreme Court contender: Judge Barbara Lagoa. Lee said he would not be comfortable confirming Lagoa without learning more about her history as it pertains to upholding the U.S. Constitution.

Watch the video below to hear the conversation:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

This week on the Glenn Beck Podcast, Glenn spoke with Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias about his new book, "One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger."

Matthew and Glenn agree that, while conservatives and liberals may disagree on a lot, we're not as far apart as some make it seem. If we truly want America to continue doing great things, we must spend less time fighting amongst ourselves.

Watch a clip from the full interview with Matthew Yglesias below:


Find the full podcast on Glenn's YouTube channel or on Blaze Media's podcast network.

Want to listen to more Glenn Beck podcasts?

Subscribe to Glenn Beck's channel on YouTube for FREE access to more of his masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, or subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

'A convenient boogeyman for misinformation artists': Why is the New York Times defending George Soros?

Image source: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Tuesday, Glenn discussed the details of a recent New York Times article that claims left-wing billionaire financier George Soros "has become a convenient boogeyman for misinformation artists who have falsely claimed that he funds spontaneous Black Lives Matter protests as well as antifa, the decentralized and largely online, far-left activist network that opposes President Trump."

The Times article followed last week's bizarre Fox News segment in which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appeared to be censored for criticizing Soros (read more here). The article also labeled Glenn a "conspiracy theorist" for his tweet supporting Gingrich.

Watch the video clip below for details:


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

The former ambassador to Russia under the Obama Administration, Michael McFaul, came up with "7 Pillars of Color Revolution," a list of seven steps needed to incite the type of revolution used to upend Eastern European countries like Ukraine and Georgia in the past two decades. On his TV special this week, Glenn Beck broke down the seven steps and showed how they're happening right now in America.

Here are McFaul's seven steps:

1. Semi-autocratic regime (not fully autocratic) – provides opportunity to call incumbent leader "fascist"

2. Appearance of unpopular president or incumbent leader

3. United and organized opposition – Antifa, BLM

4. Effective system to convince the public (well before the election) of voter fraud

5. Compliant media to push voter fraud narrative

6. Political opposition organization able to mobilize "thousands to millions in the streets"

7. Division among military and police


Glenn explained each "pillar," offering examples and evidence of how the Obama administration laid out the plan for an Eastern European style revolution in order to completely upend the American system.

Last month, McFaul made a obvious attempt to downplay his "color revolutions" plan with the following tweet:

Two weeks later, he appeared to celebrate step seven of his plan in this now-deleted tweet:



As Glenn explains in this clip, the Obama administration's "7 Pillars of Color Revolution" are all playing out – just weeks before President Donald Trump takes on Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the November election.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


Watch the full special "CIVIL WAR: The Way America Could End in 2020" here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Start your free trial and get $20 off a one-year subscription with code BANTHIS.