this one's not quite dead yet
is this the good fight?
Posted: 2003-11-12 09:14
2 comment(s)
Author: Phil Gengler
Section: Stuff

November 7 was probably just like any other day for the students of Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina. At least, until more than a dozen police officers stormed in, guns drawn, and started ordering students to get on the floor. Why the need for such force? Evidence of "drug activity" obtained from the school's closed circuit TV system, which the school's principal had been monitoring regularly. Police claim to have "observed consistent, organized drug activity" in the school hallways.

As the 107 students in the hallway at the time were kept sitting up against the walls, a canine unit was called in to sniff students' bags for drugs. Twelve bags were singled out by the dogs, and were then searched by members of the school administration. Their findings? Nothing. One hundred seven students were forced up against the walls of a school hallway by police with their guns drawn, for no good reason.

Is it worth putting high school students at such risk to stop the (potential) problem of a little marijuana? Considering that the officers found nothing, I would say no. What if one of the students were shot during the course of the search by a trigger-happy police officer? If you said it was worth the risk before, would you still find it acceptable to have an innocent student shot during a search that found nothing?

I had summer internship a few years back, working in the Education Department at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility. The inmates in there were around my age, and nearly all those I spoke to were in for some drug-related charge. These were otherwise good people, who hadn't hurt anyone, who were spending three years of their life in prison.

At what point did drugs become such a problem to society that anyone caught using drugs needed to be arrested? Nearly one-quarter of America's prison population is inmates convicted of a drug-related offense. Drug-related charges are the most rapidly increasing class of crime in the country, putting an extra and unsustainable burden on the both the court and prison systems and costing taxpayers close to $3 billion per year.

When did it become wrong to make a choice that only affects yourself? A person chooses to use drugs, and that only affects them. If they should then commit some crime, they're guilty of that crime, but should drugs automatically be cited as the cause? Should they be outlawed as a result? Anger can be a cause of crimes, but there isn't a clamor to make it illegal for someone to be angry. Being drunk can lead to committing other crimes, so why isn't it illegal to possess alcohol, or to consume it? Just what makes drugs like marijuana different enough that they need to be illegal?

Note: This article was originally written for The Stute.


Posted: 2003-11-12 15:43:41
Author: LeR

Good article

» Drug related crime
Posted: 2004-10-25 02:30:41
Author: Derek Lilly

You ask<br />&#39;If they should then commit some crime, they&#39;re guilty of that crime, but should drugs automatically be cited as the cause?&#39;<br />In Britain the excuse regularly offered by the defence was &#39;My client only committed this crime because he needed the money for his drug habit&#39;<br />They say this in court as though this provided a legitimate reason for the attacking of old age pensioners in their houses, muggings on the street and all manner of other crimes. <br />I wish to God that we had a person here who would impliment a zero tolerance scheme like the Mayor of New York did.

No new comments are allowed.