Drug Legalization, Cartel Violence, and a Safer America (DRAFT)

11 Feb

Drugs should be legal, simple as that.  A government as has no place to regulate what a person decides to do with their bodies.  Governments have every right to control the substances so children can’t get them, or to make it illegal for people to drive under the influence as these are both dangerous for the people involved, but a government has no right to make drugs illegal.  If a person is stupid enough to use some of the drugs that have been proving deadly, then let them be that stupid.  My personal opinions aside, there is actually a very reasonable set of possibilities that would occur if drugs were legalized that nobody would be opposed to having.  The first and foremost benefit being less criminal activity and less violence over drugs.  

Here is segment of a news report by Vice telling the tale of Mitt Romney’s Mormon family in Mexico currently warring with cartels.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1y41mYuwU0

This segment is on kidnappings and according to Vice currently 49 are happening daily.  

For as long as I can remember Cartel’s hailing from Mexico have been becoming an ever growing problem for the United States southern-most borders and our countries’ DEA’s effectiveness.  The ever increasing violence has made headlines almost weekly at times and our neighbors to the south.  The Zeta cartel’s leader, “Z-40”, has recently been described as “violent to the point of Sadism”, by ABC News journalists Kreider and Schone.   The violence seen in Mexico and which spills over into the United States via gangs and drug dealers is currently present solely because drugs are illegal.  Which brings me to another topic of debate, Should drugs be legalized in the States?  Well now that marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington, and many states are beginning to have medical marijuana programs we have seen some changes in drug policy in the US, but only on a state level.  With our state legislatures and our federal government in such dispute over these laws it only opens more gaps for criminals to take advantage of the disorder and make abundances of money off of illicit drugs.  The DEA, a huge agency with an annual budget of $3 billion (Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Public Affairs), with as much as they do to take drugs and people associated with them off the street still aren’t even close to solving the crime problem.

Here is a video of DEA agent and a police officer debating the legalization of marijuana http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krlb3UD1sCM.

My home state of Oregon just did not pass the bill to legalize marijuana unlike Colorado and Washington, but it has decriminalized the drug in amounts that are under an ounce in measurement.  Polls taken in California have shown that decriminalization of just marijuana has decreased juvenile arrests by 20% between 2010 and 2011, (Alternet, Ferriss).  In 2011 numbers of juvenile pot arrest dropped from approximately 15,000 down to a little less than 6,000 with possessions under an ounce being charged with a fine rather than jail time (AlterNet, Ferriss).  Not only does this approach keep more kids (adults as well) out of prison but it decreases at least some of the intense violence surrounding the drug trades investments in marijuana as it makes it less profitable due to its increased legality.  With notorious cartel leaders like Z-40 less interested in the marijuana trade because of the availibilty of it legally in the states, crime rate will drop along with the blood spilled over this illegal substance.  But that is just one of many drugs the cartel is invested in.  What about the rest of them?      

In Portugal a different approach on drugs and drug users has been taken with great success I might add.  Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001, (LSE, Stevens), and treats drug addiction as a health problem not a criminal activity.  This has caused all criminal drug activity to cease and actually increased survival rate of drug addicts and improved their re-assimilation into the work force and society.  Now imagine for an instant if this policy was held in the USA.  How much less violence would take place in our streets and in the streets of Mexico.  How the money spent on the drug war could be spent on helping people with drug problems (which is also much cheaper) and other beneficial things for this country.  The facts are overwhelming in that we should follow in Portugal’s wake in implementing a completely new way to deal with drugs in a legal fashion.   










One Response to “Drug Legalization, Cartel Violence, and a Safer America (DRAFT)”

  1. samuelliddell February 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    Readaround #2: Multimodal Toulmin Argument
    1. What are the specific strengths of the op-ed argument and why?
    The argument here is strong and topical. The video links are useful and informative. The first is even shocking.

    2. Which data/grounds best supports the argument? Why?
    The mentioning of Portugal’s solution to drug problems is strong evidence that such a solution might work. All data is in the form of statistics and is quite powerful.

    3. Tone and op-ed style: how effectively does the author use the title and first sentence to “hook” the reader?
    The title is great. It combines three ideas, two typically dangerous and one that is very ideal, to create a sense of shock which leads to interest in the topic. The first sentence is provocative, and leaves the reader curious.

    4. Where does the author “turn” the argument, and how effectively do they do so?
    The turn happens just before the suggestion to adopt Portugal’s policies. We go from a statement of problems to a call for action, which is effective.

    5. Read against the grain: why might someone in the community disagree with the author’s argument, and why?
    Many people would disagree with this argument, based on evidence that drugs are unhealthy to legally consume or the preconceived notion that they are. There is evidence in your links that they are not quite so dangerous, and that might be worth extracting to the body of the argument.

    6. How effectively does the author vary the length of their sentences and paragraphs to emphasize key points and to control the pace of op-ed? Or, are all the paragraphs and sentences about the same length?
    The paragraphs are currently about the same length, as are the sentences. The style is good though. It would be worth dividing certain sentences and paragraphs into parts in order to assist flow.

    7. Which visual or link is used most effectively and which visual or link could be better utilized in the argument, and why?
    The bottom links can be added as hyperlinks to the body of the op-ed and the citations can go. The video links are nice, and help illustrate your argument.

    8. What should they work on when they revise?
    Flow would be my biggest concern. The style is good, the arguments are good, and the format is an easy fix, so flow is really all that’s left anyways. Also, the first link is broken, you should make sure it links properly.


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