Should crackheads be set free?
Supposedly, one of the main reasons America's ghettos got so fucked the fuck up back in the 1980s is that Ronald Reagan cut funding for mental institutions, and so a lot of people who probably should have been institutionalized were set free to wander the streets. I can remember, as a kid back in the late '80s and early '90s, riding around downtown St. Louis with my old man and watching crazy bums eating from trash cans and talking to themselves.
By the time I was old enough to go to college basketball games by myself, in the late '90s, they were mostly gone. I remember one time I found this sweet deal on a parking garage with no attendant. So I was like, Fuck it, and I parked my car there. Of course once the game was over the garage was locked and I couldn't get my car out. So I had to spend what seemed like forever wandering the streets of downtown St. Louis before someone came and got me. Fortunately, there weren't any crazy bums (or anyone, for that matter - it was like a ghost town) out that night. My guess was that they had all long since died or been thrown in jail.
The reason I bring this up is because it looks like America's ghettos could be set for another deluge of possibly dangerous people. Just yesterday, the Supreme Court got together and decided that this nation's drug laws - in which a person caught with 5 grams of crack cocaine is sentenced to the same amount of time as someone in possession of 500 grams of cocaine in its powdered form - are fucked the fuck up. And today, the US Sentencing Commission is getting together to decide whether or not to make the decision retroactive. If they do, something like 20,000 crack dealers and crackheads could be set free.
On the one hand, I definitely agree that drug laws like the Rockefeller laws in New York are unfair, in that why should some poor kid who probably doesn't have any real job prospects otherwise and turns to crack dealing to buy himself a car with spinning wheels and some Enfamil for his future convict of child have to do the same amount of time as the rich mofo who flooded the hood with that shit in the first place? But on the other hand, I can kinda see how we ended up with such ridonkulous laws..
The problem with crack to begin with is that it's such a violent drug. Kids who sell crack tend to constantly be shooting at one another, and people who smoke crack tend to always be trying to steal shit. I don't know if it's something inherent in the drug itself, or the fact that most of the people who deal in crack come from dire circumstances and hence are that much more likely to be involved in crime. My guess is the latter. Either way, you have to think that the last thing some of our more fucked up neighborhoods need is more crack people. Take for example my native St. Louis. Last year, we were named the most dangerous city in America, and we're still at number two this year, just behind Detroit. (We wuz robbed!) I can't imagine how this shift in policy would help matters here.
Or am I just not seeing the big picture? TPAR, feel free to explain to me how this might be a good idea. Like, maybe more lax drug laws will eventually have the effect of making the drug game that much less vicious, like the Hamsterdam season of The Wire. And I'm sure many would argue, from a libertarian point of view, that we should object to drug laws anyway, regardless of the consequences. What do you fruits think?