Thursday, December 15, 2005

More WOD nonsense

Here's a beauty from the folks at the ironically named Accuracy in Media. It's written by stalwart right-winger Cliff Kincaid. You can read it in its entirety here.

Kincaid's story tells about a rapist/murderer that was a pot smoker. I'll not bore you with Kincaid's purple prose other than this is supposed to be exhibit A in why marijuana, let alone any other drug, should not be legalized. Folks, I've read some male bovine excrement in my day, but this ranks right up there with the best (worst?) of it.

The fact of the matter is that there are bad eggs in every demographic group. There are bad white people and bad black people, there are bad poor people and bad rich people, there are bad men and bad women, and yes, there are bad drug users. This guy Joseph Smith is one of those and he deserves punishment for what he did to his victim. He would deserve it whether he'd never touched a joint or whether he's smoked thousands.

But is it fair of Kincaid to extrapolate this man's crimes to all drug users? Of course not. When someone drunk on alcohol commits a vicious criminal act, do we condemn all consumers of alcoholic beverages as bad people? Of course we don't.

Kincaid sets up his own strawman arguments and then knocks them down. For instance:

The case itself has gotten enormous publicity, of course, and some reports have noted that his lawyers tried to get the jurors to avoid use of the death penalty on the ground that he was using either heroin or cocaine when he destroyed the little girl's life. But we could find only a few accounts about his use of the "soft" drug, marijuana, that we have repeatedly been told has no relation to one's use of harder drugs later in life.

No Mr. Kincaid, what you've been repeatedly told is that marijuana smokers are more likely to use other drugs as compared to those who have never ever never smoked marijuana ever at all, ever. However, it does not mean that they WILL go on to use other drugs. All this correlation really proves is that someone who is willing to accept the risks associated with marijuana use is more likely to risk other drugs, that's all. Most marijuana smokers never move on to other drugs, but some do. As for those folks that do move past marijuana, the vast majority don't wind up killing and raping a young girl like this dirtbag did.

Here's why this marijuana/harder drugs correlation is meaningless. If I were to say to you that beer drinkers are, say, 20 times more likely to drink hard liquor than those who don't drink beer at all, no one would bat an eye. Why? Because it only makes sense that someone who already drinks beer might take on the greater risks of hard liquor as compared to those who won't even sample a beer now and then. So is it really any surprise that pot smokers are more likely to do other drugs as compared to those who don't do marijauna at all? Not in the least, but propagandists like Kincaid would have you believe otherwise.

Folks, we have about 40K violent deaths every year in this country. We have around 30 million users of "illegal" drugs annually. Do the math. If marijuana usage is supposed to lead to violent criminal acts, wouldn't the number of violent deaths be several times the number I quoted?

In fact, I would argue that the 40K number would be much lower if drugs were legalized. How's that you ask? The criminalization of drug possession has created a lucrative black market run by ruthless, greedy thugs. They will do anything to keep making their money and will resort to violence and murder to protect themselves and their profits. A fair number of that 40K are the direct results of drug prohibition. Remove prohibition and that number drops by several thousand, perhaps 10K or more.

Sadly, Kincaid's screed is what passes for reasoned debate from so many WOD supporters. What's even more sad is that many folks will fall for Kincaid's so-called "logic", lapping it up like ambrosia from the gods.


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