Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What the drug war brings us

Hoover officer injured in police chase at I-459 north ramp
Posted by Birmingham News staff January 23, 2008 1:55 PM

A Hoover police officer was injured during a police pursuit that ended at the top of the entrance ramp to Interstate 459 north at U.S. 31, near the Riverchase Galleria.
Hoover police Capt. Jim Coker said Officer Mike Lucas suffered leg injuries that were not life-threatening and was being treated at Brookwood Medical Center. Coker said the officer was attempting to place a spike strip on U.S. 31 to stop the suspect when he was struck by the suspect's vehicle, a van.

After hitting Lucas, the suspect drove to the top of the I-459 ramp, where a Birmingham patrol car nudged the van in an attempt to spin it. The suspect crashed, rolled his van and was ejected. He was handcuffed and taken to UAB Hospital.

Birmingham police started the chase in north Birmingham after an officer spotted a suspect involved in a possible drug transaction, said Birmingham police Sgt. Dexter Cunningham. The officer questioned the man, who refused to cooperate and could not present valid identification. They got into a short foot chase before the suspect jumped back in his van and took off.

The pursuit traveled from Interstate 59 northbound to I-459 southbound with the suspect tossing drugs along the way, said Jefferson County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Randy Christian. The chase involved more than a dozen law enforcement vehicles from Birmingham police, Hoover police and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

Cunningham said the suspect twice rammed a Birmingham police officer's cruiser during the pursuit. The suspect fled down I-459 south, exited at Galleria Boulevard, turned left onto John Hawkins Parkway and then left again onto U.S. 31, where he tried to get back on I-459 heading north.

I was in Birmingham today at the time this happened. It is only by chance that I was not in that exact area at the time of the crash. So many innocent lives were risked over what amounts to nothing.

Most people commenting on this thread at the link above obviously don't care if drug users live or die. Many of them seem to wish that drug users were all dead anyway. So, why do they support these high speed chases where EVERYONE on the road is at risk as opposed to the drug user only? Why not just let said drug user go home peacefully and potentially harm/kill his/herself on drugs? Why chase them at high rates of speed and endanger the lives of people who have nothing to do with the drug war.

The story says that the suspect "threw drugs out the window."
What kind of drugs were they? Were any drugs actually recovered? What kind? Or was the officer just talking smack?

See, the drug war brings us things like high speed police chases that endanger the lives of everyone on the road. I was most happy to read in today's editorial section of the BHAM News the whiny diatribe by the narcotics association officer because they will no longer have the money to do stupid shit like this.

So, a guy wants to buy drugs and get high. What business is that of anyone else's? If he is allowed to go about his business un-harassed chances are the only person who will be hurt is him. Some might say "But he could hurt someone else"... but, the truth is, in this country we aren't supposed to arrest people for what they might do. Some will say, "But he hurts his family" and that may be true...but that is a FAMILY matter and not a law enforcement one. Who hasn't done something that hurt their family at some point? Should they go to jail for everything they do that their family claims to be hurt by?

While drugs can be dangerous the laws surrounding them magnify every danger associated with them a thousand-fold. Organized crime rises, violence rises and preventable death and the spreading of disease rises. Just like it did with alcohol prohibition. When alcohol prohibition was repealed liquor runners and brewers stopped having shoot outs with the cops and turf wars over alcohol ended. When is the last time you saw the Budweiser man and the Coors man having a shoot out in the grocery store over shelf space?

We don't need a drug war. It can never be won. Even if you hate drugs you have to admit it will never be won. It is meant to be waged...not won. Even cops will tell you they'll never get it all...if they did get it all they would work themselves right out of a job.

Drug use and drug addiction are health and social issues. The sooner we wise up and accept that the sooner we will all be safer on the roads and in our communities.

1 comment:

~~alapoet~~ said...

"While drugs can be dangerous the laws surrounding them magnify every danger associated with them a thousand-fold. Organized crime rises, violence rises and preventable death and the spreading of disease rises. Just like it did with alcohol prohibition."

Exactly. When, oh when, will a majority of voters realize that is what's happening? If you want an end to the violence associated with prohibition, then end prohibition, don't redouble your efforts to enforce it.

Thanks for being a sane voice on this issue.