Monday, January 16, 2012

War on Drugs

A quick note about something I read in today's paper. It was a Leonard Pitts, Jr. editorial about this book (pictured right). Apparently the book is about how the War on Drugs has essentially become the new Jim Crow because of how it has unevenly been applied to the black population.

I have not read the book but these topics have always fascinated me - perhaps even why I became a lawyer. I studied them in college and continued studying them in law school. Now, I see the War's affects on people first-hand as a criminal defense attorney. I am not saying anything about this book - I have not even read it. But, Mr. Pitts so believes in the book and its premise that the editorial urged people to email him and he would send you the book free of charge (including shipping!). (Of course, after I emailed him, I saw his disclaimer - at the end of the month, he will draw 50 names from the emails he receives and those 50 people will get the book.) So, here's hoping I win...

The interesting part of the article was that he claimed, "Although white Americans are far and away the nation's biggest dealers and users of illegal drugs, African Americans are far and away the ones most likely to be jailed for drug crimes." While I have not seen any official statistics on that, I would not be surprised to find that this statement is backed up by the numbers. The interesting part is why...and, although there are plenty of obvious fallacies in the logic (there are many more white people for starters so it's not a proper comparison or does that make it an even stronger statement?) there is still plenty to discuss about why it is a true statement...and, what, if anything, we should do about it. As a lawyer, I have plenty of ideas about why this happens and what we should do about it...but, I'll save those for now and read the book to see what it says. But the War on Drugs is a topic that I love to debate.

In other interesting and related news, the Canadian liberal party voted to legalize marijuana. No, Canada is not legalizing marijuana; but, a bunch of people there think they should...

Oh yeah, as for winning the book....don't worry about it. I went straight to the Multnomah County Library's website and ordered it from them for free (including shipping!) - they'll email me when it arrives...(btw, my love for the Multnomah County Library could encompasses a year's worth of blog posts).


  1. I always read Pitts' columns and agree with most. But it's tough to completely relate to some of his topics for the simple reason that he's black and I'm not. But clearly it's not a reach to say the black community is more affected per capita than whites in the War on Drugs.

  2. Yes, I agree with your premise. We'll see what else I learn when I read the book. Thanks for reading!