[Ian sent this letter to the Keene Sentinel editors from jail via Mail-to-Jail]
825 Marlboro Rd.
Keene, NH 03431
Letter to the Editor (from Jail)
More Police Will Not Stop Robberies, Violence, and Theft in Keene.
Many Keene inhabitants are rightly concerned with the recent incidents of real crimes like robberies, thefts, fights, and even murder. It is understandable that typical response amounts to, “We need more police on the streets!”
Unfortunately, this only provides the illusion of security. The police cannot be everywhere at once. Even they will tell you they usually arrive on-scene after a crime has already ben committed. If they manage to find the money to hire another officer or two, the politicians can pat themselves on the back and pretend they have done something about crime. At best, more police only addresses a symptom – not the root cause of most of these crimes.
What is the root cause? Drug prohibition. Don’t believe me? Any honest policemen will tell you 80% of them want money to buy illegal drugs. The recent tragic murder in Keene wasn’t some random fight between friends, as has been suggested here in the Sentinel. The fight was over $100 in cocaine and the victim was attempting to collect the debt.
This should all sound very familiar to those who’ve paid attention to history. It all happened before nearly 100 years ago during the prohibition of alcohol. Crime rose dramatically and the profits available to those willing to flaunt the law gave rise to gangs and the violence that is all too familiar. Even the police in many cases could not resist the corrupting influence.
Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine addicts can all support their habit with a regular job. Total drug decriminalization would allow drugs to be distributed in the open market rather than the shadowy black market – decreasing prices dramatically, and removing most of the crime associated with those high prices. Purity and consistency of products will improve, reducing overdoses. Dosage instructions and safety information will be easily available – reducing harm to users. Addicts will be more likely to seek help, as they won’t fear arrest.
A solution like this will require real political courage. Sadly, Keene’s city council recently “accepted as informational” my proposal to stop enforcing drug prohibition in Keene. That means they refused to have even a public hearing on the issue. Apparently they’d rather keep you and your family at risk of drug-related violence and property crime. Insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. All of history proves the continued failure of the “War on Drugs”, which is really a war on our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family. After decades of millions of arrests of dealers and users (which destroy further the people they are supposed to “help”), and trillions of dollars spent, drugs are as popular as ever, if not more so.
Don’t believe me? Ask the cops at LEAP. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. They have all the studies and statistics you could want. Visit LEAP.cc for more.
Drug prohibition creates more problems and solves none. Aggression in the form of arrests will not solve this problem. Only compassion can help addicts. War is not compassion. Until politicians are willing to seriously look at the issue rather than brushing it under the rug, you can expect the crime to continue unabated.