27 June 2007

In Which the Herd Follows Blithely

In a recent post, which contained a reprint of an opinion piece I wrote several years ago, I talked about the fact that our prisons are filled to overflowing with non-violent drug offenders - to such an extent that violent offenders (especially rapists) are being released early to make room for the newest inmates.

Reader Shaun commented in part:

Where are all the commercials trying to dissuade people from raping other people? I have watched more television than I'm sure is appropriate or healthy and I have never seen one commercial against the ghastly crime of rape. I see plenty of commercials where people are warned of the evils of MJ.

To which I said:

I'd never thought about the fact that while there are anti-drug ads, there aren't anti-rape or anti-robbery or -murder ads.... I may have to delve into that a bit more.

And so the thoughts began churning in my (over-crowded) mind. The more I thought about it, the more the dichotomy troubled me. Why are there adverts that decry drug use? Surely the fact that it's illegal is enough to dissuade people from travelling down that path. No, wait. Robbery, murder, and rape are all illegal - and yet those things happen all the time. And so, too, does drug use happen on a constant basis. So why spend taxpayers' money to attempt to dissuade people from one and not the other?

It seems to me that there are two paths to take. Either produce advertisements with anti -murder, -robbery, and -rape themes to air alongside the anti-drug ads, or stop airing the anti-drug ads. At this point, Shaun graced me with another visit and said, "The depths that our government is willing to dive down to are quite illogical to say the least. If the commercials worked,..."

Oh, that's right, the anti-drug ads have been proven to not only not dissuade people from using drugs, but also to desensitize them to the perils of drug use.

Shaun then continued,

it seems to me other federal agencies would be desirous to actually try to dissuade people from committing crimes that actually have a victim. By not producing commercials of that nature they refute the supposed efficacy of the ads they themselves unctuously hail as being effective. I am not an intellectually ponderous man, but IF a government is necessary I wish that the constituents of said government would at the very least match my pedestrian level of intelligence.

Well. Leaving aside the fact that Shaun either is, in fact, a patently intelligent person, or, at the very least, knows his way around a thesaurus (and I do believe it is the former, not the latter), we can see that he is also very correct. He also exhibits Libertarian beliefs, with which (in this instance) I have no argument. The mere fact that the gummint doesn't use ad campaigns to "fight" other crimes just goes to show, in my opinion, that they know the ads don't work.

Or is the government being - hold on tight, now - hypocritical? I know, you need to go lay down on the fainting couch for a moment. Go ahead, I’ll wait....

You’re back? Okay, where was I? Oh, yes, the rank hypocrisy of the Government of the US of A. It truly knows no bounds, does it? Lobbyists in positions of authority in the very Departments they lobbied in, draft dodgers in charge of war planning, brainless do nothings in charge of Justice - oh, that last isn’t hypocrisy, just stupidity.

What the War on Drugs(tm) and its useless ad campaign boils down to is (gasp) political theater. “Let’s show the sheeple - I mean, people - that we’re Doing Something About Drugs(c)!

Never mind that those incarcerated are disproportionately men of color.

Never mind that sentencing mandates are skewed to more adversely effect that same demographic.

Never mind that nonagenarians are being killed in drug raids - at the wrong address.

Never mind that people go along with it.

Never mind that murderers, rapists, etc. are being released to make more room for “druggies”.

Just. Never. Mind.

No comments: