The War On Gangs

Yes. The War On Gangs is over in the US.

The murder rate in the USA has been declining since 1991. We know that a real war on drug gangs (Mexico) causes an increase in dug violence. Even the FBI agrees with that point (a real drug war increases violence).

So in reality drugs have been de facto decriminalized. Now why do I say THAT? Good question. I have a train of logic which I hope hasn't jumped the tracks.

We no longer have a war on gangs. We have a war on some gang members. Destabilizing gangs is bad for public order.

And of course the arrests for drug crimes are up. How else are you going to cover for such a massive shift in policy?

I was a witness to one of the whole gang raids of the 80s (around 1988 IIRC). The big kahuna was a next door neighbor of mine. A really nice guy. We never had gang problems in the neighborhood until the DEA took him out. Any way. The FBI predicted a rise in the murder rate in our town due to taking the gang out.

Let us just say that the spike in murders was not well received.

My guess is that the DEA decided: a war on gangs or continuation of the gravy train.

Ending the war on gangs of course ends the war on drugs as a real enterprise. You need organized crime to organize transnational shipments of illegal commodities. Not to mention making a market between people who would rather not know each other: growers and buyers - for commodities that are locally grown.

So there you have it. The drug war is no longer about reducing the supplies of drugs or taking down the gangs that move them. It is now just a jobs program for government employees and preventing the worst violations of public order.

Inspired by a post at the Volokh Conspiracy

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 02.17.09 at 04:16 PM


Unfortunately, it is still going to punish casual drug users and people who are too poor to get charges dismissed. While this is better than an aggressive gang/drug war that causes more violence, it is still much worse than ending the whole farce completely and officially. But that would eliminate all those cushy jobs and we can't have that, can we?

Earnest Iconoclast   ·  February 17, 2009 5:50 PM

Terry Prachett in his Disc World series has the Patrician do much the same with crime in the large city of Ankh-Morpork. There's an Assassins' Guild, a Thieves' Guild, a Prost...I mean ...Seamstresses' Guild, etc. The theory is each would establish rules of proper behavior for their dues paying members. And should a non-dues payer commit a crime within their jurisdiction it was up to the guild to mete out punishment.

After all, if you're going to have crime, you might as well organize it.

joated   ·  February 17, 2009 8:29 PM

So if President Obama stayed left on the "soft drug" stuff, and repositioned the "War On Drugs" to "I see you...but not looking at you exactly", would that help in reshaping your attitude about this new administration, Simon?

Penny   ·  February 18, 2009 2:41 AM

That's a pretty convoluted way to note that some law enforcement has the honor to remain bought.

Brett   ·  February 18, 2009 7:27 AM


Yeah. I'd cut him some slack. But his economic program is still a disaster area.

But really. I'd like to see a politician with enough nerve to discuss the NIDA finding that addiction is 50% genetic. It seems to me that if that finding was made public the drug war could not stand.

But Barry is not known for his political courage.

M. Simon   ·  February 18, 2009 11:10 AM

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