The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘Violence’ Category

AND JUSTICE FOR NONE

Mom was a very bright woman.  Perhaps the greatest bit of wisdom was her statement, “There are three sides to every story – yours, mine and the truth.”

While I prefer to believe that most people are basically honest, there is no doubt in my mind that some people will do or say anything simply to advance their own agendas.  And all of use have, at some point or other, told a fib, a lie or an outright whopper.  Most of those are relatively harmless – but there are times when they can have serious consequences – not only on our own consciences but on others.

Many years ago I found myself in a legal conflict with a person whom I thought of as a friend as well as a colleague and competitor.  This fellow had an executive search assignment and was having difficulty filling the position.  He asked me and my firm to help.  As it happened, we already knew of the position and the office which specialized in IT had been working on it themselves for several weeks.  I was unaware of that until I spoke with my manager in that office.  As I said to my colleague, I would only enter an agreement with him after I had discussed this with the manager of that office since ultimately I left those sorts of arrangements up to the individual office manager.

Without going into the sordid details, we did fill the position and collected the fee.  Contrary to the facts and despite several conversations with this fellow, he decided that he was entitled to half the fee and filed a law suit to collect what he considered his due.

At the bench trial, my colleague’s attorney called one of his employees to testify to the “facts.”  He did so, and I thought his testimony was compelling.  He specifically referred to a conversation that his boss and I had in which he specifically stated that I had agreed to “splitting the fee” which was the very question at issue.  There was only one problem with his testimony.  He was not present at this meeting or any other I had with my friend and his testimony was totally fabricated and fraudulent.  With that “testimony” the plaintiff rested their case.

When I heard him testify, my heart sank and my mouth opened wide.  I could not believe that someone would have the temerity to bald face lie – particularly under oath.  I was about to turn to my attorney and tell her that this false testimony was totally untrue when suddenly she jumped up and moved for a verdict of “immediately dismissal” since the plaintiff had not proven their case.  I didn’t see how, after listening to this damning piece of “evidence” the judge would possibly rule in our favor and grant this request.  But he did.

As the plaintiff had called their various witnesses, I noticed that the judge seemed a bit bored with this case, as though he had an assignment to read a book for school but had no interest in the subject matter but was obligated to read it anyway.  While he rendered a correct verdict, I thought that might be less because he had sorted through and sifted the facts (we had not yet presented our defense) than because he was late for a lunch date at a fancy restaurant.  Perhaps my mother’s statement about the three sides to a story should be revised to, “Yours, mine and expedience.”

There are a number of corollaries between the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and another, earlier case – the murder trial of O. J. Simpson.  In that case, of course, there was a black alleged perpetrator and two white victims.  But that the sense of public opinion was very neatly divided, primarily on racial lines, suggests the comparison.  If you were a black American there was nearly a ninety-nine percent likelihood that you believed O. J. innocent.  If you were a white American you were eighty percent likely to believe him guilty.  And most of the white twenty percent who believed that O. J. was being railroaded were Buffalo Bills fans.

Another similarity between the two cases was that in both instances, the media, sensing the smell of blood in the water and huge ratings, provided us with never ending coverage of the two events.  And they had rightly gauged that they would develop an audience for this story.  The day by day events of the Simpson trial were the subject of more conversation in the office than I would have preferred.  It’s hard for a person to do his job when he’s discussing issues that are totally unrelated to it.

These two trials bring an important point to the foreground.  During the O. J. trial, there were fears among the white community that if he were found guilty, rioting and looting would erupt countrywide.  When the jury voted to acquit, there was a sigh of relief and a groan of disbelief that came from many of my white friends.  In contrast, my black friends almost universally were of the opinion that “justice had been done.”  A later wrongful death civil suit which O. J. lost, suggested that the criminal verdict was not one that was correct.  Subsequent actions on O. J.’s part further suggest that he was not the American icon in which many of us had come to believe.

In Ferguson, MO we are receiving nearly as much coverage by the media as in the earlier trial.  Sadly, we are primarily hearing only one side of the story.  Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown has yet to be heard from.  But we have the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon (D) joining the chorus of “justice for Michael Brown and his family” with the release of a video calling for justice to be rendered swiftly.

Perhaps that is a disguised call to quell the violence that has been occurring in that community.  Perhaps that is a political statement to appeal to a black electorate that is crucial to his political aspirations in a very purple, even Republican leaning state.  Whatever the reason, the governor’s statement is totally inappropriate.  Should we not have justice rendered to both Michael Brown and his family as well as Officer Wilson?  If we predetermine what “justice” means without having all the facts in evidence, there is likely to be none for any of us.

Reminiscent of the Simpson murder trial, a black female Democrat state representative is on record saying that “If the grand jury (which convened today) does not return an indictment, the violence we have seen in Ferguson will be dwarfed by what will ensue.”  How does a statement like that do other than inflame an already tense situation?  And, more importantly, if one of those grand jurors hears that statement, how might that influence his or her judgment as that person attempts to evaluate the evidence which will be presented?

Thomas More was convicted because of perjured “evidence.”  As a result, he was beheaded.  The following scene from “A Man For All Seasons” briefly describes how he as a lawyer, viewed how laws should be enforced, irrespective of who was involved in the disputation:

 

If we are willing to allow the subversion of what has been the fairest legal system in the world, albeit imperfect, for the purpose of achieving some immediate personal gain, we are inviting disaster on our heads.  That is true whether we do so and justify our actions because of race, religion, sex or for any other reason.  And then, as More asked, when the last law has fallen, where will we take refuge?  We will bring in a state of anarchy of our own making, there will be justice for none and the Devil will have his due.

POVERTY AND VIOLENCE

The other day I finished reading Jason Riley’s new book, “Please Stop Helping Us.”  Riley, a black conservative member of the editorial board of “The Wall Street Journal,” makes a compelling case for how liberal policies intended to improve the condition of inner city black Americans have actually resulted in the further deterioration of their condition.

And then along comes Ferguson, MO.  An eighteen year old black man is shot to death by a member of that city’s police department.  We don’t have the details of this death and the incident that led to it, but if Al Sharpton is on the scene, we have a pretty good idea how this will be portrayed – even before all the facts are known.

On Yahoo News today I read a story about the most dangerous cities in America in which to live.

http://www.answers.com/article/1191042/top-10-most-dangerous-cities-in-the-us?param4=ysa-us-de-lifestyle#slide=1&article=1191042

If you read the article, the basis for determining the level of “danger” was based on the number of incidents that involved either personal harm or property damage based on one thousand of population.  There is one thing that jumped out at me as several names appeared in the list.  But there were other communities with which I was less familiar and I wanted to see what percentage of black Americans comprised their population.  Here’s the percentage per community:

10.  Newburgh, NY 35%

9.  Oakland, CA  36%

8.  Chester, PA 75%

7.  Bessemer, AL 71%

6.  Detroit, MI  82%

5.  Saginaw, MI  43%

4.  West Memphis, AR  61%

3.  Camden, NJ  53%

2.  Flint, MI  53%

1.  East St. Louis, IL  98%

Overall, black Americans comprise about 13.2% of the population.

While the liberal media seized on the situation in Ferguson as yet another example of white racism resulting in the death of yet another innocent young black man, which it may turn out to be or not, there is virtually never a story about the almost daily, routine violence which exists in our black inner city neighborhoods – violence that almost always involve a black perpetrator and a black victim.

When we hear the stories about the violence and numbers of shootings and gun deaths in Chicago, there is never a mention of the fact that virtually all of these involve blacks doing the shooting and blacks being those who are shot.  The only way you would know what and where these things happen is if you’re familiar with the city and its neighborhoods or infer who is involved from those who are being interviewed.  Charity would call this poor journalism.  Honesty would call this a deliberate attempt to withhold the truth.

Poverty and violence are twin evil sisters, the latter stemming as a direct result from the former.  Should you disagree with that statement, please advise me of one affluent person who has ever been involved in looting a store, whatever the purported pretext.  What is happening in Ferguson, MO under the guise of “racial justification and retribution,” is little more than an excuse to grab and steal by people who are either unable or unwilling to work and earn.  They are responding in much the same way as the Eloi in H. G. Wells’, “The Time Machine” when the food is put out for them, not realizing that they are merely being fattened for the slaughter.

If the inner city black community read Riley’s book it might be an eye opener for them.  They might then think of those in the liberal white community who have manufactured these socially engineered welfare programs in their nearly one hundred variations and say to themselves, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

GREEN ENERGY AND THE ATTROCITY IN UKRAINE

Yesterday President Obama took a break from fund raising (although he will resume his schedule for that purpose later in the week) to offer a statement on the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 over the Ukraine and wag his finger at those who are impeding the effort to provide the 298 victims and their families the dignity of closure.  The “speech” seemed perfunctory, devoid of either passion or real outrage which we all should feel about this act of terrorism. Of course, there wasn’t much outrage when President Putin acquired Crimea.

The president of the United States has not been alone in providing a muted response to what most believe was a tragedy that either was directly attributable to Vladimir Putin or at the least one in which he was a willing partner.  The leaders of Europe have been similarly silent.  It took a former head of state, Tony Blair of the UK to make a statement which accurately reflects the outrage that we all should feel.

It is neither surprising nor difficult to understand why Obama generally avoided facing the issue head on.  That is clearly his method of “non-operation.”  If he doesn’t acknowledge something he must believe either that it doesn’t exist, it’s someone else’s problem to deal with or it simply will go away.  If he doesn’t give much of a hoot about how black children are being murdered regularly in his home town of Chicago, why worry about a few hundred Europeans who were blown out of the sky somewhere in Europe?  But why the silence in Europe?  The simple answer is energy – and much of the European Union’s dependence on gas which flows abundantly from Russia and through Ukraine.

The Maastricht Treaty was signed by the members of the European Union in 1992.  The goal was to reduce dependency on carbon based fuels and to replace them with “green” fuels, purportedly to the benefit of the world’s ecology.  In the twenty-two years since its enactment, some progress has been made by the EU members to replace oil and gas with alternate fuel sources as the following chart shows:

 

The information contained in this chart is for the year ending in 2012.  The total estimated population of EU countries for that same period was approximately 505,000,000 – and the four largest countries by population, Germany, France, UK and Italy housed more than fifty-five percent of those people.  The four countries which achieved the best records of finding alternative sources of energy, Sweden, Latvia, Finland and Austria had approximately 26 million residents, representing a little more than five percent of the total population of EU countries.

Not surprisingly, the four most populated EU countries had average or below average rates of replacing carbon based fuels with alternate energy sources – suggesting that while developing renewable clean energy may be an admirable goal, this technology is still in its infancy and is unable to provide a sufficient replacement for our traditional fuels to large numbers of people.  That lesson is clearly lost on President Obama – but it is abundantly clear to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and the leaders of other countries which are dependent on petroleum products from Russia.  It’s difficult to negotiate with the loan shark who is holding your family hostage, threatening them with death, if you fail to make a payment.

In some respect, the seizure of Crimea and the murders of 298 plane passengers is partly the fault of the Obama administration’s focus on green energy – whatever the price in terms of increased energy costs to be passed along to consumers, the loss of jobs in the coal industry, the failure to enable the creation of new jobs with the Keystone Pipeline, the refusal to permit LNG processing plants by the EPA which could provide at least some replacement for Soviet fuels that could be shipped to Europe to reduce that continent’s dependence on Russian energy – well, the list goes on.

The president’s recent photo-op (which he has publicly said he hates doing) eating at a local restaurant, somehow brings an image of Wimpy to mind.

wimpy

 

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” —Proverbs 29:18

MURDER, MURDER EVERYWHERE AND NOT A POL WHO THINKS

The “leaders” of the governments of the UK, France, Germany, Denmark, other European countries and the United States have one agenda in common.  They seek greater inclusivity in their countries.  That sounds good and true inclusion for all is indeed an admirable goal.  It should be the philosophy of all open-minded and fair people, whatever their ethnic backgrounds, race, sexual orientation or religion.  But when you attempt to include people who have an agenda of self-perceived superiority, that effort is doomed to abysmal failure.  Such is the agenda of Islam.

In the U. S. we should have learned a lesson about forcing “equality” on our citizens back when Brown v. The Board of Education desegregated our public schools.  There is no question that, by and large, black school children received an inferior education than their white counterparts.  So we invented busing to integrate our public schools.  The result was not the elevation of the education that the newly integrated black students received, but the lowering of achievements that white students attained.

It seems that our focus in bringing “equality” almost always means that those who have or do more always get shoved down the path of mediocrity to become nearer to the levels of those who have less and do less.  While it is our stated goal to elevate the underdog, that seldom happens.  And the more we realize that our good intentions are falling short of our goals, the more radical the new programs that we invent in order to try to achieve them.

These radical programs evolve into an absolute hatred of anyone who doesn’t fit the standardized “norm” that is promulgated as the ideal for all of us.  And the rabid left will leave no stone unturned to undermine the success of those who have taken personal responsibility and succeeded.  Of course, their underlying theme is that these people have no right to that which they have earned.  As I recall, that was one of the themes that was preached as the Bolsheviks implemented their doctrine in Russia.

Unfortunately, we live in a land that was probably the greatest success for individual freedom and achievement.  That makes America the ideal target for those to whom success is anathema.  And we can see that in the continuing way that this administration actively degrades the Judaeo-Christian principles and practitioners who still exist in this country and favor those who are Muslim.

While the One Million Muslim march on 9/11/13 fizzled, radical Muslims are making regular inroads thanks to our politicians – not only here but in much of Europe.  From our perspective, Europe got a head start on us because of their proximity to many Muslim countries.  But we’re doing our best in America to catch up.

Islam is billed as a “religion of peace.”  Perhaps it is and perhaps there are many Muslims who hold to that ideal.  But when we hear of Islam it is not they who are on display doing acts of charity to those of other religions.  Rather, as we saw over the last several days, it is what we choose to call the “radical” Muslims in Pakistan, suicide bombing Christian churches and killing 85; or in Kenya where Somali Muslim terrorists slaughtered 62 and wounded another 175 in a shopping mall after identifying who were non-Muslims and executing them.  If this is peace, what must war look like?

What is particularly disturbing about the Kenyan incident is that some of the terrorist combatants apparently came from Canada, the UK and the U. S.  We can be sure that not all of those within those countries have emigrated to Somalia, the source of the Kenyan attack, and are here and living among us.

Both Europe and the U. S. have bent over backwards to “accommodate” Muslims and the end result is that the more they are placated the greater their demands.  It’s like trying to buy off the tantrums thrown by a spoiled child by acceding to his hissy-fits.  And ultimately, we produce a child who believes that bad behavior is the route to getting his way.  At some point, that behavior crosses the boundary either of civility or the law and we need to apply force to ensure the safety of those with whom he comes in contact.

That time is now here for western governments – the time to stop accommodating our Muslim residents and offer them exit visas to their destination of choice.  No one asked them to come and they are free to go to places which are more to their liking and which better suit their mores.  Or, if they choose to remain, then they need to accommodate themselves to the existing culture to which they have relocated.

Are there any politicians out there, anywhere in the western world who do not see the problem?  Or are they all too committed to their liberal vision of “inclusion” to admit to all the murders which are being perpetrated?

The thought of the rampancy of terrorism sometimes gives me nightmares.  But I suspect our pols, failing to face the all too obvious facts, sleep quite soundly.

 

CULTURAL BARBARISM

As I was driving Gracie back from the dog park this morning I was listening to the Guarneri String Quartet perform Dvorak’s Op. 96 No. 12 best known as “The American” string quartet.  It happens to be one of those pieces I would take with me were I to be marooned on a desert island, so I was enjoying the experience.

As we waited for the light to change, a late model pickup truck pulled alongside us.  I couldn’t tell you who the “rap artist” was, but the driver had cranked this cacophony up to maximum overdrive.  I am not sure whether this particular piece qualified as “Gangsta Rap” or was an example of the genre in its purer form, “Crap Rap.”  I do know that I rolled up my windows, closed the sun roof and could still feel the beat from the woofers pounding at me.  When the light turned, I purposely waited a few seconds to allow the other vehicle to move down the street ahead of me so that I could escape this noise and go back to enjoying the string quartet.

While I realize that there is no accounting for taste – or lack of it – I can’t help wonder what sort of effect listening to a steady diet of rap with its mostly demeaning lyrics must do to an individual’s psyche.  Or perhaps the psyche is already predisposed to wanting to listen to this type of stuff and is merely finding an expression for its own ideas and feelings.

When we returned home I enjoyed my coffee and some yogurt and Gracie enjoyed her morning treats.  I sat in the back yard watching Charlie the mockingbird, who is a regular visitor, perch on the wall, waiting for his morning treat.  So I went in to the pantry and set out his raw oatmeal which he seems to enjoy more than traditional bird seed.

He and Gracie have reached a sort of détente.  She isn’t quite sure why I tolerate his presence and I suspect he wonders why I tolerate having such a massive canine in the house – but other than staring at each other they have come to an understanding.  Would that humans could do as well in the way of interpersonal relations.  And I went back to thinking about the fourth movement of the Dvorak, my favorite movement in the quartet.

After some time re-playing the music in my mind I decided it was time to start the day as it was already 7:30.  So we went upstairs and I turned the news on the television.  As it happened two stories caught my attention.

The first was that a new video game, “Grand Theft Auto V” had been released and attained sales of $800 Million in a 24 hour period of time.  After I did a little checking I was able to discover that it sells for $60 a copy – so over 13 million people purchased this game.

The game, of course, extols those who have mastered the art of car theft and it does so in an extremely violent manner.  Perhaps that explains, at least in part, why a car is stolen in this country every 44 seconds – and less than 12% of those who are responsible are ever apprehended.

The second item which aired a bit later in the morning was that the Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis apparently enjoyed playing video games – sometimes for as long as 15 hours at a time.

As you may recall, on Monday the media leaped all over the shooting.  Virtually every station first reported that the weapon that Mr. Alexis had used was an assault rifle – and most pointed out that it was the same weapon used in Newtown.  They were wrong.  Not only were they incorrect with their “facts,” which seems to be a secondary concern for most of our news sources, but they are wrong as to their underlying assumptions as to the cause of these mass murders.  They insist on citing guns as the cause rather than looking at the persons who are standing behind them and pulling the trigger.

Mr. Alexis was a mentally disturbed man who needed help.  He didn’t get it and as a result 12 innocent people died.  Whether or not his absorption in playing video games contributed to his condition is anyone’s guess.  But I think a reasonable assumption is that it might well have aggravated his mental problems.  Perhaps banning violent video games will be the next thing on the agenda for our liberal friends, though I doubt it.  It doesn’t fall within the purview of their agenda.

Mom used to say, “You are what you eat.”  The same is probably true of how our minds are fed – whether that is with positive or negative nourishment.  So to start your day right, I’ve attached the Dvorak for your enjoyment.  Be well.

THE MILLION MUSLIM MARCH

Twelve years after the original 9/11, theories surrounding what really happened that day are flowing as fast as the blood in Cairo.  It’s fifty years since the JFK assassination and that is still the subject of new books.  And it’s almost seventy years since the Holocaust and there are still those who deny that it ever happened.

Interestingly, some of those who claim the last event is a fabrication and whose co-religionists are widely blamed for the first event will be marching for “Muslim rights” in our nation’s capital – if things go according to plan.  Truly, these are strange times in which we live.

In all probability, the “March,” if it comes off will have far fewer participants than the organizers’ goal of one million.  From the admittedly inaccurate numbers of perhaps 2.6 million Muslims in America, that would require nearly every other Muslim to participate.  Islam, which is the fastest growing religion in our prison systems, would have to secure a one day release for some of its incarcerated adherents to achieve its goals.

But the issue isn’t whether a million people show up in Washington.  It is a matter of the presumed motivation which is causing the organizers to make the effort to pull this event off.  That is, theoretically, “to combat the discrimination that Muslims endure in America and to give us non-Muslims a better understanding of what Islam is really about.”

Perhaps I’ve been fortunate.  My third and fourth years of college I lived across the street from Elijah Muhammad’s Temple of Islam #2.  There were always a few young men, nicely dressed in suit and tie who stood outside the Temple and made sure that no incidents occurred there.  This was about a mile and a half from the complex that Muhammad Ali built.

Because I lived in a very well-integrated neighborhood – not just in terms of race but in religion as well, I knew a number of Muslims who were proprietors of stores.  One family started in this country with one brother who came from Pakistan, who worked two jobs and saved enough to buy a Standard Oil gas station.  He then brought over two other brothers and his wife and all of them worked in the family business and purchased several more gas stations.

These were people who came here for opportunity, worked hard in what has clearly become the old-fashioned and now passé way and were well-integrated in their communities.  But that is my experience and one that is not shared by a lot of Americans.

What is the American perception of Islam?  It is rather different – and perhaps more accurate than mine.

The Twin Towers; the Taliban; accurate stories about the suppression of women’s rights in countries in which Sharia law rules the land; the Boston Marathon; the persecution of Christians; the constant defamation of Jews as pigs; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Iraq; the issuance of fatwas against anyone who speaks ill of Islam; well, the list goes on and on, but you get the picture.

In some respects, the presumed “persecution of Muslims in America” is very little different than Al Sharpton’s categorization of how blacks are mistreated in this country.  And the problem is that when any group engages in what most of us consider to be uncivilized behavior, it is hard for even the objective observer not to extrapolate from that and conclude that is how all members of that group behave.

It is understandable to me that Americans who see constant reports about the number of violent deaths which occur in Chicago and our other major cities and see that the assailants and the victims are mostly black conclude that blacks are violent.

It is understandable to me that Americans who read about young girls in Islamic countries who are the victims of rape or refuse the advances of a male whom they spurned being stoned to death or being the victims of “honor killings” conclude that is the way Islam works.

Well, although it isn’t the politically correct thing, there is a tremendous amount of violence in our inner city black communities.  And there is a tremendous amount of medieval behavior in countries where Islam is the majority faith.

If we start by admitting that, perhaps we’ll look for the path which will lead us to fixing those problems.  And that would be worth a great deal more than having a march on Washington – or anywhere else.

THE O’REILLY FACTOR

Last night I listened, as I often do, to “The O’Reilly Factor” on the FOX network.  With so much media slanted in one direction, I find it necessary to get an occasional fix of some conservative input to remind myself that I’m not totally insane.

One of the stories that Mr. O’Reilly covered in his introduction was that Attorney General Holder has made an effort to dissemble the minimum sentencing requirements for non-violent drug offenders.  He made this statement at a meeting of the American Bar Association.

I heard a portion of his speech earlier in the day and, to be honest, I thought it was the most enlightened thing that the AG had said during his tenure.  Mr. O’Reilly felt otherwise.

Bill O’Reilly’s point was that drug dealers are selling poison – true; and that their sales, particularly to minors and others who are not capable of making prudent decisions may result in death – also true.  Therefore, he concluded that all drug sales had the potential of resulting in violent consequences and that the Attorney General was totally off base.  He also made reference to the recent death of Corey Monteith as an example of the horrible negative effects of drugs.

Bill O’Reilly has a point of view that is internally consistent – generally.  Part of his credo is that the individual has the right to make choices, free of government interference.  In that respect, I have to question his position on the issue of drug sellers and drug abusers.  Mr. Monteith is a case in point.  He made a terrible life choice which resulted in his death.  But it was his choice to make.

Then there’s the now much-touted case of the thirteen year old youngster in Florida who was savagely beaten by three older teenagers on the school bus.  This kid did the right thing by informing school authorities that his assailants were selling drugs on school grounds.  The result was that he suffered a terrible beating and a fractured arm.

Should those thugs be punished for their primitive behavior?  Of course they should.  But they should be tried and punished irrespective of their motivation or their drug-selling activity.

If I had a magic wand, all drugs would instantaneously disappear from the face of the earth.  But we know that isn’t reality or a lot of good people would have waved that wand a long time ago.

Anytime there are massive amounts of money involved in selling a product and a consumer demand for it, you can be certain people will make a market in it.  Setting aside our personal moral objections to drugs or drug use, we need to acknowledge that.  And then we need to find a productive strategy that will minimize their impact on society.

As a kid in New York City I don’t know how many times I read about some junkie holding up and harming an elderly person who was waiting to catch the subway, robbing them so they could get money for their next fix.  Some of those episodes resulted in the death of the victim.  That isn’t justice for the victims.

To my mind there is only one way to deal with this in a rational way and that is to decriminalize drugs and to dispense them through certified outlets – whether run by government or by a closely-regulated private operation.

Since most of the western world has adopted the American mind set toward drugs, we have few examples to guide us as to how implementing a process of legalization and regulation might work.  One country which has experience with this approach is the Netherlands.  They implemented their heroin-assisted program in 1998.

Since that time they have found that the number of heroin addicts has increased at a rate slower than the general population growth and that the average increase in the age of users has increased from 27 years of age to 38.  In other words, fewer young people are entering the addict population and those who are confirmed users are simply getting older, pulling up the average age.

Although cannabis is legal, using it while operating a vehicle is strictly prohibited and the police routinely give motorists who are involved in a traffic accident a drug test.  Failing this test can lead to a minimum three year jail term.

As a conservative I rely on the lessons that history teaches us.  If a particular philosophy, no matter how well-motivated, simply doesn’t work, it’s time for all reasonable people to question its usefulness.  That is what we learned with respect to alcohol.  And with all due respect to Bill O’Reilly, that is what we should be willing to admit about illegal drugs.

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