24 October, 2009

The First Step Toward Stopping Big Brother?

Recently, one of my favorite Senators, Jim Webb wrote:
America's criminal justice system is broken.
How broken? The numbers are stark:
• The United States has 5% of the world's population, yet possesses 25% of the world's prison population;
• More than 2.38 million Americans are now in prison, and another 5 million remain on probation or parole. That amounts to 1 in every 31 adults in the United States is in prison, in jail, or on supervised release;
• Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980, up from 41,000 to 500,000 in 2008; and
• 60% of offenders are arrested for non-violent offensives--many driven by mental illness or drug addiction.

When I was a college kid I was blown away by two instances of totalitarianism.
The first instance, of course, involved Nazi Germany and the internment camps. Six million Jews and six million other human beings (consisting of Catholics, Gypsies, mentally ill, mentally retarded....) were exterminated.
The second instance involved Stalinist Russia which had its own dalliance in extermination but which also incarcerated some ten million people in the Gulags. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote much about this horrible prison system including his The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
The numbers just astounded me along with the living conditions of these Soviet prisoners. The death rate was astounding.
But times have changed. And now we, the richest country in the world and supposedly the freest, have the largest prison population. To reach 25% of the numbers reached by Soviet Russian sickens me.
So, now, Obama is pushing to stop the raids on the perfectly legal [per state laws] marijuana clinics.
"Let's not arrest people who aren't breaking the law." What a novel idea.

Now, Mr. Obama, let's take the next logical step. Let's legalize marijuana across the board. I know this idea has been around for a while. It's a good idea. Let's tax it. Let the government use this perfectly good, safer than alcohol commodity as a source of revenue.

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