Unsurprisingly, some prosecutors see Mexico's actions as waving a "white flag"; one of them suggesting that "this is a poor tribute to the hundreds of Mexican police and army members who have lost their lives in the fight to save their country."
But I was more interested to read the earliest comment on the sting from a Tarrant County prosecutor writing five years ago who lamented:
Sometimes it happens this way: I'm scratching out a plea on a case or revocation of one more dope defendant and the fear takes me. We are losing the "war on drugs." More than a decade ago, my father, a former prosecutor himself, told me that my job was to identify the truly bad actors and quarantine them from their prey. As to the rest? Keep them dogies rollin'. I'm not smart enough to know how to handle the drug problem but I can recognize what doesn't work and this is it. We cannot fill our prisons with dopers and allow the predators to roam free. In my view we shouldn't fill the prisons with dopers. And the small voice whispers,"If we did win the war on drugs what would you do all day?"Nobody but Colorado County's Ken Sparks took the bait back in 2004. He replied:
When space is a problem, we all want to fill our prisons with violent offenders and not dopers. We have a mandated probation and treatment program for state jail possession cases. When they do not participate faithfully in treatment programs, what do you do? Sanctions with jail time, etc. should be employed. When violations continue, what then? One solution is to build more prisons. Perhaps the real solution (more money, again) is to have drug courts in every county. But it appears that drug courts are turning judges into glorified probation officers. I don't know the answer.The more recent responses to Mexico's decriminalization of small drug amounts in 2009 drew some fairly predictable themes. 156th Judicial District Attorney Martha Warner out of Beeville recounted the story of a man in his 20s who sexually assaulted and threatened young kids and also provided them with marijuana. Having established conclusively through this anecdote that marijuana use leads directly to child molestation, Warner pronounces, "Drugs are very dangerous for our children!!!!!" Another commenter agreed, citing the case of a "rolling pharmacist" who it turned out had been "molesting his OWN daughter for the past 5-6 years."
An Assistant District Attorney out of Abilene pointed out the obvious fallacy in that reasoning: "I think the pedophiles in the examples above would use alcohol or other substances to groom their victims, if drugs weren't available." She further suggests:
We clearly are not going to win the War on Drugs, although we've created a multi-billion dollar bureaucracy.Other prosecutors rejected the prospect of legalizing marijuana or any other presently illegal drug, including the DA Association's lobbyist Shannon Edmonds who thinks that "Full decriminalization will never happen here, IMO, so it's a waste of time talking about its merits/faults."
I'd like to see California decriminalize and tax marijuana, so we could watch and see what happens to their economy. I've heard and read that marijuana is their largest cash crop.
Obviously, some drugs are horrible, and European countries have tried to register and legally dispense those which are terribly addictive.
Good luck to all of you who are criminal prosecutors, and doing the best you can. ...
Also, if we had taxes from drug users, we might actually be making money back from some of those who cost us all so much and now contribute nothing. (Pretty bleak outlook.)
Check out the whole string for more prosecutors debating the drug war. I thought it was an interesting discussion.
RELATED: Making 'Hamsterdam' an option.