Apparently police in California are expecting things to get even hairier than they already are, since they’ve carted out military-grade armored tactical vehicles – basically the Barry Bonds version of the Humvee. As the level of drug-related violence in Mexico has shot through the roof, perhaps it make sense to assume that it will begin to bleed across the border and into southern California – but all the same it’s gotta be just a wee bit unsettling for the average California to see these things rumbling down their streets.
Category: war on drugs
When you are sworn into Federal Court, you are exhorted to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Each of these phrases carries a slightly different angle against any possible lie – not only are you swearing to speak the truth, but also to not hold any part of the truth back, and to not mix in lies among the truth you do tell.
And so by its own standards, the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has been openly and unabashedly lying about the racial divisions that remain within the American penal system for at least the past five years. It’s a lie so patently absurd that if our current President was incarcerated, the Department of Justice would pretend he wasn’t there, and whitewash his existence from their racial prisoner data entirely.
Imagine you live in a small apartment above a bookstore.
Like most bookstores, it has an area set aside for perusing novels and consuming refreshments where you can relax with a alluring and fragrant pile of books stacked in front of you. The only sounds come from the soft mood music the establishment is piping in and the contented signs of other customers. You’re free to evaluate each prospective purchase at your own leisure, languidly stroking their pages one-by-one, seeing if this one or that one’s spine has what you’re looking for attached to it.
No one who works there ever comes up and hassles you about hurrying up and buying something already, there’s an implicit pact between client and business – you’re free to lounge for as long as you’d like, but if you want the convenience of taking the book with you, a fee is required.
That’s really all you’re paying, a convenience fee. Each book sits on the shelf open and waiting, shyly beckoning you with coyly designed covers and promising words – tempting you to pick them up, sit them in your lap, fall in love with them, and pay to take them home. But whether or not payment is rendered, you can still have your way with as many books as you want, regardless of whether or not you pay a single cent.
Things had been looking up for black families, back in 1963 as MLK gave his “I Have A Dream” speech about 70% of black families were headed by a married couple. But that percentage steadily began to drop, between 1970 and 2001 it declined by 34%, double the white decline, and by 2002 it had bottomed out at just 48%.
But if the War on Drugs didn’t directly precipitate the destruction of the African-American family, why did the decline in married black women triple during the first decade of the War?
In fact, the impact of the War on Drugs has been so racially biased that although only 14% of all illicit drug users are black, blacks make up about half of those in prison for drug offenses. (When you adjust for the fact that the Department of Justice simply throws prisoners who identify as mixed race half-black and half-white out of their data, the proportion is well over half.) A black man is eight-times as likely as a white man to be locked up at some point in his life. And by 2006 America had, proportionally, almost six-times as many blacks locked up as South Africa did at the height of Apartheid.
Our penal system has grown so massive that the U.S. criminal justice system now employs more people than America’s two largest private employers, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, combined.
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