Thursday, May 5, 2011

Love the Joe Pags show, but he's wrong again

I was going to recommend "8 Murders a Day" but now I'm not so sure. Joe Pags had director Charlie Minn on his show to talk about the extreme violence in Juarez, specifically, and Mexico over the past four years. He places blame at the feet of the drug cartels but unfortunately, overlooks the effects of the entire drug war. Instead, after bemoaning the tragedy of "eight people in the street every night" his advice is to "close down the border".

That kind of misses the point.

The violence in Mexico is a direct result of our government's war on drugs. It is the black market for drugs that brings in the criminal entrepreneur. And since they are in an extralegal environment, disputes are settled with guns. The obvious solution would be to legalize and regulate drugs in the same way we do for alcohol and tobacco.

Here's their response to that. And I'm paraphrasing because this is from memory.

Joe Pags: "And [Vincent Fox] wants to legalize all drugs, do you want that?"
Charlie Mann: "No, I don't want that. I don't want to see a 12 year old on the street corner strung out."

Of course, this is a ridiculous argument because if it were true we'd see 12 year old kids stumbling around drunk. But it's not legal for them to drink alcohol and besides alcohol is in a much more controlled environment. Not impossible to get but harder.

Unfortunately, a lot of people still cling to their irrational fear of (illegal) drugs. (For some reason we tolerate "legal" drugs like tobacco and alcohol because, I don't know, I guess we've gotten used to them?) So until people like Joe Pags and Charlie Mann can come to grips with reality on this issue there will be 8 people dying every day for a nonviolent, consensual "crime."

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