Drug Related Death Essay, Research Paper
Columnist Jacob Sullum s article Drug-Related Death of March 30, 2000 dealt with the issue on the war on drugs and how it is not working. He starts out with a heart-tugging story that leads into the politics in fighting drugs.
Sullum catches the reader s interest with a heart-tugging story of an innocent man, Patrick Dorismond that the police mistakenly identify as a pot dealer. When in actuality he is an off-duty security guard hailing a cab with a friend. Dorismond was approached by three undercover men, and asked if he could sell them some marijuana. He became angry with these men, and an altercation broke out. Dorismond was hit, and then shot to death by the police. According to eyewitnesses, the police did not follow proper procedure. The officers did not identify themselves when approaching Dorismond. There are also discrepancies in the story of who assaulted who first and how the gun went off.
Sullum states Patrick Dorismond was a casualty on the war on drugs. How Sullum comes to this conclusion is that the police, in their quest for victory on the drug front, go to any means to accomplish their goals. Including luring innocent people into the net of the illegal drug dealings in order to make a sting successful. Sullum states that the mayor Giuliani is so entrenched with fighting the war on drugs and his hatred of the mind-altering effects they have on people, that he will pull all stops to achieve success. Then Sullum attacks the other political party candidate, Hillary Clinton, by stating the obvious, that she is going to ignore the issues. Clinton had criticized the mayor for making public Dorismond s minor criminal record, which is often used as an excuse once a mistake has been made. It is also brought to the surface that she cannot make too much of a pot issue since her husband went on MTV and joked about his marijuana experience.
Barry McCaffrey is the president s drug czar. He makes claims of winning the war on drugs. And yet in his annual report to congress he claims we are not ahead of the game. Reduced coca cultivation by 66 percent and 55 percent, respectively, in Peru and Bolivia are statements made by McCaffrey. But on the other hand, he states skyrocketing drug production in Columbia. Sullum states cocaine and heroin prices are at an all time low, and “teenagers say drugs are readily available.” McCaffrey cites methamphetamine as one of the most dangerous substances America has ever confronted” and that it could become the crack of the 90 s. These are not claims of winning the war on drugs.
These conflicting facts are used when most useful. This article infers that political statements regarding winning the war on drugs impresses the public for whatever political figure needs the accolades. But when it comes to getting funds from Congress, reports on increases of production and the need for more undercover operations, helps fuel the political fires to grant the money for these needs.
Sullum then reverts back to the sad story of Dorismond, and how the police use this method of undercover stings to control drugs and reduce homicides. This has failed miserably. According to Sullum, the police cover this failure by stating that their war on drugs has driven drug sales indoors. This is not the goal for the war on drugs. The goal is to reduce drug consumption and corruption that accompanies it.
Sullum concludes with the original thought of the witnesses to the Dorismond killing stating that his death was indeed a senseless act of violence when combined with their broader picture. Police corruption, statements of winning or losing when applicable, and murdering an innocent person are all compounded in its senselessness.