12-27-2012, 06:36 PM
For the last 120 years, the USA has used bans and legislation to try to solve its problems. The first was alcoholism and the next was drug abuse. Did these bans work or did they just make things worse. This is important to know since now many people in this country are on a campaign to ban guns a step at a time. (please read on and do your own investigation):


The saga began with ratification of the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States. * High-minded crusaders and anti-alcohol organizations had helped push the amendment through in 1919, playing on fears of moral decay in a country just emerging from war. The Volstead Act, spelling out the rules for enforcement, passed shortly later, and Prohibition itself went into effect on Jan. 1, 1920.

Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 innocent people. But people continued to drink—and in large quantities. Alcoholism rates soared during the 1920s; insurance companies charted the increase at more than 300 more percent. Speakeasies promptly opened for business. By the decade's end, some 30,000 existed in New York City alone. Street gangs grew into bootlegging empires built on smuggling, stealing, and manufacturing illegal alcohol. The country's defiant response to the new laws shocked those who sincerely (and naively) believed that the amendment would usher in a new era of upright behavior. In conclusion, most people agree that prohibition was a colossal failure and resulted in the opposite of what was intended. Did we learn anything from this….not really, read on…..


President Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs in 1971. This program has been one of the most controversial and expensive undertakings in the history of the USA, resulting in trillions of dollars being spent on drug interdiction, cracking down on black markets and incarcerating those arrested for drug crimes. A 2008 study by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron has estimated that legalizing drugs would save taxpayers $76.8 billion a year in the United States — $44.1 billion from law enforcement savings, and at least $32.7 billion in tax revenue ($6.7 billion from marijuana, $22.5 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs).

The consensus is that the War on Drugs has been costly and ineffective largely because there has not been a high enough emphasis placed on treatment. Several authors believe that the United States’ federal and state governments have chosen the wrong method to combat the distribution of drugs. By financing domestic law enforcement (which includes activities focused on the criminal justice system, such as the courts, police, and prosecution) in favor of treatment (which includes helping users become drug-free through in-patient and out-patient counseling and other services), the government has focused on punishment rather than prevention. By making drugs illegal rather than regulating them, the War on Drugs created a highly profitable black market.

The United States leads the world in both recreational drug usage and incarceration rates. The United States also has the highest documented incarceration rate and total prison population in the world. At the start of 2012, nearly 3 million people were incarcerated and Approximately 15% of those are serving time for drug related charges of which half (7.5%) are attributed to marijuana sale and or possession charges.

Of those incarcerated, 70% of men arrested in metropolitan areas tested positive for an illicit substance, and 54% will be repeat offenders. This is a direct result of there being too many mandatory minimum sentences, and not enough mandatory treatment programs. If the United States were to shift its focus to treatment similar to what Portugal and the Netherlands have done, it would not only most likely result in a decrease in criminal behavior, but also work to reduce the demand for illicit drugs as well. In June 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world." Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed."


Will the Brady Bunch, Diane Feinstein, David Bloomberg and President Obama have their way? Are limited gun and magazine bans the answer to the increasing amount of gun violence that the USA and the world are experiencing? Will making criminals out of people who resist their gun ban and confiscation efforts actually benefit the USA or will it increase crime, black market activities and add millions of new inmates to our already overcrowded and hugely expensive prison program? Cigarettes are responsible for over 3 times the deaths of U.S. Citizens during 2011 (33,800 vs 9,900), yet people still smoke and no government bans of tobacco are in the news. However, since a wide reaching anti smoking awareness education program began, the number of tobacco related deaths have fallen from an average of over 125,000 deaths per year. Would a gun safety and awareness education program help more that gun bans and restrictions? Over the last 3 years, every gun related mass murder was carried out by a person with mental problems or a criminal record. Some of the blame of course has to fall on law abiding gun owners for not properly storing their weapons safely out of the reach of criminals and mental challenged individuals, but again, that can be avoided by more gun safety education. Let’s learn a few lessons from the failed bans of Prohibition and the Drug Wars and not fall into making the same mistakes all over again. No bans please, just more education and prevention.