Thursday, August 28, 2003


Some days nothing happens to me and I don't know what to say. Some days so much happens, I don't know where to start. Yesterday was the latter. Details to follow later this evening. For now, I'm a bit pressed for time so let me tell you about the 'invitation' I just found in my mailbox.

We have a lot of turnover in this building. The students often live here for only a semester or two. My neighbors next door have been here such a short time, that I never really learned their names. It seems however, they are having a party tomorrow night that promises to be raucous. Smart kids though, they invited all the neighbors to attend. Should we choose not to attend, we are also invited to complain directly to them about the noise rather call the police when the event runs into the wee hours. I like their style. Attached to the invite was a package of earplugs along with instructions for use.


David Borden, founder and executive director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet), an organization which calls for an end to prohibition and the so-called "war on drugs" has committed a courageous act of civil disobedience. In an eloquent open letter to DC's Chief Judge, Rufus G. King III, he explains his reasons for refusing to answer the call to jury duty. Click the link for the full text, it's long but well worth the time to read. He sums it up in this paragraph:

My service as a juror in the District of Columbia would directly or indirectly support injustice, and would help to fuel the illusion that drug prohibition serves the health and safety of the public; when in reality only some form of legalization can adequately address the combined harms of drugs and drug prohibition, which in the currently one-dimensional public dialogue are commonly attributed only to drugs; and when in reality only some form of legalization can satisfy the fundamental obligation of society to respect individual freedom while requiring individual responsibility.

I await the court's reaction, with great anticipation. Initially I thought jury nullification, a citizen's right and responsiblity as espoused by Thomas Jefferson himself, was the answer. Unfortunately our current administration has decided to criminalize that choice as well. I think this idea of consientious objection to serving at all as a brilliant move. Thanks David.


Breathing a sigh of relief at the change in the energy. I'm so glad the Mars thing finally did its swing. I've had more arguments in the last week, than I've had in the previous decade. I woke about just before 6:00am, when the planet spun into the magic zone and had a day almost beyond description.

I took an unexpected and ultimately heated meeting with my boss, and almost immediately thereafter, quelled a person having a virtual nervous breakdown. By the end of the day, that looked like the easy part. At 7:30 I found myself driving through the dusky twilight of Hatfield, on my way to the 63 Roadhouse. Seasons are changing here. Last time I took this trip in June, it was still daylight at that hour.

Mark Herschler, my soul brother, was hosting the open mike. It was glorious to see him, he's my favorite player on the planet and I haven't seen him live in over a year. As always, he had a new song that knocked me out and had assembled a group of impeccable musicians. I'd heard of the bass player - Peter Kim- by reputation. He lived up to it on stage last night.

My ex-best friend/neighbor was noticably absent, as was his Miller's paramour, the co-owner of their establishment. Nonetheless, I had some fun with the 63 regs. Ran into Jake again. He's the really young guy working for the local kick-butt sound company. I also met Rodney Beauchesne, a/k/a Beau. He handed me a red card with text on both sides. I'm not entirely clear on what he trades in but his slogan is, "You Can't Beat My Deals!".

On the ride home, I saw Mars hanging in the sky over the fields on River Road. I pulled over for a moment and watched it pull away.


If someone had predicted six months ago that I would have spent the last week supporting the legalization of heroin, I would have sneered. I want to shout it out loud. I HATE HEROIN. It's a dangerous substance. It has taken too many of those I held dear, away from me too soon. I wish nobody wanted to consume it and frankly, having tried it once, I don't know why they want to.

But I'm pragmatic. The profit margin of the heroin trade in Afghanistan this year will reach 1. 2 billion. And that's just one country. People are buying this stuff to the tune of close to 8% of the world's entireeconomy and the continued criminilization of the substance merely fuels a criminal market driven by artificially inflated costs and conducted in an environment that necessitates violence in order to protect one's assets. If it was legal, these business men would be using lawyers rather than Uzi's to enforce their business agreements?

In any event, in what I hope will be my final post on the subject for a good long while, I going to post my conversation with my sister. In response to my post about the recent ODs here, she said:

Where are you? You haven't posted on your blog since Saturday. Listen, you can't lump all drugs under some innocuous umbrella with pot. Heroin, crack, meth are all processed drugs. They are not natural or safe even though their base ingredient is from a plant. It has been dramatically altered. We certainly do not need a clinic to help someone stick a needle in their arm or light a pipe. I don't mind standing on the side of decriminalizing marijuana, but the idea that this kid may have "inadvertnetly" gotten hooked? Come on Lib, what, he didn't realize he was shooting up an addictive drug? He was not an innocent bystander in a drive by, he was using heroin and no doubt knew exactly what he was doing. You might be right, he may have gotten some bad stuff laced with God knows what or some really pure stuff. He probably would have gotten more from pysch therapy than a drug clinic. I'm really sorry he died. I hate to see a young life wasted, but don't do a white wash and spin it to fit your agenda. If you are going to fight this war, you need to be real. All drugs should not be legal and your friend is a graphic example of why that is so.

I replied:

The alcohol prohibition didn't stop people from drinking either but it did create a black market driven by crime and people were dying and going blind from drinking bathtub gin. When the government came to it's senses and realized they can't stop people from using alcohol, they legalized and regulated it and reduced the harms of that drug.

Yes, heroin is problem. The solution is legalization and regulation. Our current policy of attempted eradication is destroying the ecology of the planet, has it stopped the production of drugs? They are no less available. They suppress the coca industry and the heroin industry grows and so do the number of addicts as heroin is more addictive than cocaine. They supress the heroin, and addicts starting making meth in their bathtubs. The demand does not decrease and
the black market and the crime associated with it,grows as well, driven by the rising prices which is the only real effect our current drug policy has on the market.

Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, gee I think I'll become a heroin addict today. Especially young kids, who think I'll try it just this once. I won't get hooked. It happens and where can they go for help when they find out they were wrong? To the grossly underfunded rehab facilities, where the waiting lists are years long?

Our incarceration strategy has put 2.1 million citizens in jail, 1 out 3 of them black men and 56% of the growth at the federal level is for non-violent drug convictions. 1 out of 123 Americans are in jail right now. More people in jail than Russia. More than China. It has not stopped the demand for drugs nor has it prevented the adverse consequences of the black market.



My sis and I debated this at great length, however she sums it up best:

Oh, and no matter what, I will always love you and accept you just the way you are, no matter what our differences.

And that the last word.


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