Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Drug War is a War on the Poor

Last week, the ASG Vice and Narcotics unit raided the home of a 50-year suspect for allegedly possessing marijuana and firearms. The police incarcerated him in the Territorial Correctional Facility to wait for his initial appearance in the District Court. But why should he wait? The police and the public as a whole have already found this man guilty as charged.

Even Pago’s faipule, Muavaefa’atasi, sentenced the suspected drug offender to what could be years in prison when he did not confront commander Sunia about such police activities in his village. He did a great disservice to his constituents by giving the raid the thumbs up.

Last week’s raid demonstrates how much the war on drugs is a war on the poor. Why do the local police not knock down the doors of high ASG officials for defrauding the U.S. Government of federal monies? Why does it take the Feds to keep accountability here and to force the ASG “to do what they have to do to uphold the law” on those with more influence and power?

This uneven handed approach of law enforcement is a weakness of the current administration.

The U.S. Congress came to its senses and repealed the Prohibition back in 1933. Alcohol abuse is bad, but they made a bad situation worse when they made it illegal. Violent crime skyrocketed (Al Capone anyone?) and moderate users filled the courts to receive their sentences. It would have been disgusting to see the ASG raiding people’s homes for the possession of beer and cigarettes while government officials enjoy their wine and champagne.

It is time to consider other ways of handling the drug crisis. (Suggestions to come in later posts)


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