OK, time for another edition of DRUG TEST wherein we vet the media’s reportage on the so-called War On Drugs, separating the seeds and stems of law enforcement press release hyperbole from the sober, reality-based facts. Today we check out this article posted on Philly.com by the Inquirer’s Sam Wood. Let us say up front that we think Sam is a damn good journo, not to mention a damn good Joe, so understand that nothing we are about to say is personal. Anyway, onward and upward — forward, never straight! Heh-heh…
In a series of drug raids yesterday, Philadelphia police arrested 83 people and seized narcotics valued at nearly $250,000.
Wow, they rounded up 83 evil doers! Go USA! Plus a cool quarter mill. That will buy a lotta school books for the underprivileged truncheons and stormtrooper gear for the drug units involved in the bust! How nice for them!
Authorities served dozens of warrants at locations in Southwest Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, and Delaware County.
Served dozens of warrants, eh? Man, can you imagine the all the valuable, overstressed law enforcement resources — the man-hours, the overtime, the undercover time, not to mention all the cops NOT out there finding the Frankford Rapist — an investigation like this must have chewed up. But hey, it was totally worth it because…
Among those arrested were three juveniles and a 73-year-old Upper Darby man, police said.
Thank fucking god. We already feel safer. I say we give them all life sentences — hell, double life sentences — just to send a message. Better yet, let’s just kill ’em all and let God sort it out. Serves ’em right. And then comes the obligatory cataloging of seized booty, AKA the money shot in articles like this.
Authorities confiscated 13 guns, three vehicles, powder cocaine valued at $760, crack cocaine valued at $15,285, heroin valued at $13,443, marijuana valued at $217,665, pills valued at $815, and $34,200 cash.
Let’s break this down: Safe to assume that nearly all drug dealers are armed, after all it is the American Way and therefore only right and natural. Now, let’s see they arrested 83 people and confiscated…wait for it…13 guns! Wait, lemme spell it out, it looks bigger: t-h-i-r-t-e-e-n guns. OK, so the gun haul was a little light. But wait, they took a whopping $760 worth of cocaine out of the noses of Making Time goers off the street, along with 15 grand worth of crack, 13 grand worth of heroin and $217, 665 worth of mary jane, not to mention a cool $815 worth of prescription meds and $34,200 in running around money. Impressed? Hold on. According to The Economist, the U.S. illicit drug trade generates $60 BILLION in annual sales. Which is another way to saying that all the combined drugs and money seized in this so-called ‘massive’ bust doesn’t even qualify as a drop in the bucket. In fact, this whole bust — the paltry drug seizure, the chump change benjamins, the cop man-hours, the 13 guns, the 73-year-old man and the three juveniles that will now join the more than 4.5 million Americans have been arrested for drug-related charges since 2000 and approximately 450,000 are now incarcerated on drug-related charges — barely qualifies as pissing in the wind. We point this out not because we are pro-drug abuse but because we have watched the futility of trying to arrest our way out of the drug problem for the last 30 years, and in that time the War On Drugs has demonstrably morphed from what may well have been good intentions into a cynical, self-perpetuating war on the underclass. And the time has come to find a realistic and humane exit strategy. And Sam, we love you man but stop rewriting prison-industrial complex press releases — that’s not journalism, it’s stenography. You are better than that, son.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, more than two million men and women are now behind bars in the United States. The country that holds itself out as the “land of freedom” incarcerates a higher percentage of its people than any other country. The human costs — wasted lives, wrecked families, troubled children — are incalculable, as are the adverse social, economic and political consequences of weakened communities, diminished opportunities for economic mobility, and extensive disenfranchisement. Contrary to popular perception, violent crime is not responsible for the quadrupling of the incarcerated population in the United States since 1980. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national “war on drugs.” The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges. MORE
NEW YORK TIMES: For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report. Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars. MORE
SALON: In the early 1990s, Tom Gosinski was the director of government and international affairs for the American Voluntary Medical Team, which did relief and medical volunteer work in third world countries. Hired by Cindy McCain in 1991, Gosinski enjoyed his job, but he began to notice McCain’s erratic behavior in the summer of 1992. In his journal, he wrote that he and others suspected the boss was addicted to painkillers and might have been stealing them from the organization.
TOM GOSINKSI: If the DEA were to ever conduct an audit of AVMT’s inventory, I am afraid of what the results might be … It is because of [Cindy McCain’s] willingness to jeopardize the credibility of those who work for her that I truly worry. During my short tenure at AVMT I have been surrounded by what on the surface appears to be the ultimate all-American family. In reality, I am working for a very sad, lonely woman whose marriage of convenience to a U.S. Senator has driven her to: distance herself from friends; cover feelings of despair with drugs; and replace lonely moments with self-indulgences.
PHAWKER: What a difference being rich, white and politically-connected makes! Most people go to jail for this sort of thing, but Cindy McCain is on the fast track to First Lady! America, Fuck Yeah!