Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Robert Hartman (
31 Mar 1995 23:15:05 GMT

In article <>,
Aric D. Martin <> wrote:
>In article <3ldalv$>, (Donald Edwards)
>> well, let's see. Is jaywalking analogous to crack abuse?
>[anlogies cut]
>> Crack abuse -- no innocent third party is directly harmed.
>Assuming that the person high on crack is locked in a room by themselves,
>or is otherwise not allowed to have contact with other people. But
>unfortunately that is not generally the case. In the pursuit of money for
>more crack, and in the general insanity of the high, innocent parties are
>directly harmed.

Then it is those direct harms that can and should be prosecuted. If we
want to prevent such direct harms, drug treatment programs are just
about as effective and many times cheaper than long-term incarceration.

We don't put people in prison for long terms for abusing alcohol, even
though alcohol is invovled in a much higher number of injuries and
fatalities than crack overall, and an endemic source of misery throughout

If crack possession was not such a high-risk activity, the cost would
be much less. So also would be the incentive to engage in high-risk
activities to obtain money for it.

It is simplistic to label crack abusers as worse criminals than alcohol
abusers. To the extent that crack is so heavily stigmatized and
punished because it is primarily viewed as a "black" or "ghetto" drug,
the taint of racism in the "war on drugs" persists.

So if we want to criminalize substance abuse, that's fine. Let's make
the punishment for the abuse itself equivalent across the board--
regardless of who we see as the target market for a particular
substance. And let's make the punishment relevant. Anyone who's been
through a bout of withdrawal can tell you that it is an incredibly
painful experience. Manadtory rehab is no picnic.

If someone drives drunk, they are diverted to rehab the first or second
time. (Actually, if it were up to me, I'd send 'em to a boot-camp-
style reeducation program for a second DUI offense for any drug.) The
third time, they go to jail. If they commit any other crimes while
drunk, they are punished for those other crimes. As for criminal
activity while under the influence of crack, the same should apply.
They should be punished for the crimes they actually commit, not their
state of mind.