Lesson 6: Violence

America has always been violent. The manner in which independence from England was achieved was violent. The Civil War was violent. Expansion to the west coast was realized through violence. Slavery was violent. Criminal gangs are not new in the nation. They go back to the wild west. Its time to end government sponsored violence. Ending the drug war is the way to start.

During alcohol prohibition, street crime grew and the nation became more violent. When prohibition was lifted, streets became safer and stayed that way until the government declared war on drugs.

Prohibition began its demise on a cold, snowy morning in Chicago, February 14, 1928. A black Cadillac touring car pulled up to a liquor warehouse belonging to the Moran gang. There were two uniformed policemen and three supposed plain-clothes officers in the car. Bugs Moran assumed it was another police raid that would mean a phony search and seizure and a payoff. He calmly left the scene.

The seven men inside did not resist, thinking the same as Moran. They calmly gave up their weapons, lined up against a wall, and were slaughtered.

The Saint Valentine's Day massacre occurred eight years after the noble experiment began, and was the turning point to it's end. The incident immediately gave opponents of prohibition an example to use to bring the debate to a head, leading to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1933, ending alcohol prohibition.

During the depression, when poverty and hopelessness were overwhelming the nation, crime rates declined! During the boom time of the 1920's, crime rates soared! It appears that poverty does not cause crime to the extent that prohibition does -- because prohibition breeds disrespect for the law.

The Independent (newspaper) editorialized: It is, in short, not drug abuse itself which creates the most havoc, but the crime resulting from its prohibition.

As Gina Kolata, New York Times, writes, "... the underground drug economy ... puts more power in the hands of teen-agers and makes the entire community more violent." The profits from prohibition make a mockery of the work ethic and of family authority.

It is capitalism in action -- supply and demand. As long as there is a market demand for drugs, there will be those who see dealing as a financial opportunity. Youngsters who see only dim opportunities for themselves in the mainstream have no reason not to try selling drugs. We'll never successfully prohibit the business.

History Lesson #6: During alcohol prohibition our streets became dramatically more violent. When it ended, the violence decreased.

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