Two really good criticisms of my views about drugs, violence, and victimless crime

In order to understand this post, please read two of my earlier posts and the comments to each. See here and here.  Now, please read Matt Brown, Tempe Criminal Defense, Victimless Non-Violent Federal Drug Crimes and Scott H. Greenfield, Simple Justice, Only the “foolish” call drug crimes “nonviolent.” Those responses to my earlier posts are extremely well-written, persuasive and very critical of my views but entirely fair and respectful. I urge you to read both of them.

Here are several observations:

* Mr. Brown and Mr. Greenfield are correct in one of their primary criticisms.  I was plainly wrong to assert so strongly that all federal drug crimes have “victims” and all federal drug crimes are “violent.”

*In defense of my rhetorical hubris, I believe that much of the rhetoric coming from reformers about draconian drug laws, particularly at the federal level, is misleading. The words “victimless” and “nonviolent” are thrown around far too casually.  That doesn’t justify my hyperbole, but it does explain my visceral reaction to those words.

*I agree (and I said as much earlier) that in the federal courts we are sending far too many people to prison for far too long because they committed drug crimes. I also agree that the ravages of poverty, and our nation’s stubborn unwillingness to honestly address poverty, is at the root of many drug crimes. However, I am pretty sure that my response to poverty would be far more authoritarian than most could stomach because of what I see daily in the courtroom. I have tried to write frankly about that in a post entitled “we can’t handle the truth.”

*If we are to have an intellectually honest debate, we need to describe facts rather than characterizing them. That is, we must stress candor rather than rhetoric.

*In a truly kind and gentle manner, Mr. Greenfield suggests that my writing is sometimes “awkward.”  He is absolutely right. Finding the right “voice” for this blog is a struggle. Besides, I am a bit of freak anyway (AWKWARD).


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