Thursday, October 04, 2007

Franklin Pierce University Forced by Local Police to Help Bust its Own Students

Drug war lunacy has taken hold in Rindge, NH and it isn't pretty. A new policy of notifying local police about suspected drug use on campus has disrupted the school's educational mission and provoked widespread alarm among students.

After discovering a marijuana grinder during a routine maintenance check, campus security called police to investigate. Police then locked students out of their residence for 26 hours while obtaining a search warrant. This video made by Franklin Pierce SSDP members shows how several students were denied access to all of their possessions, including their school work, for a full day so that one of them could be investigated for drug paraphernalia:

If this sounds like a typical college campus misconduct case, it's not. Sources familiar with the situation have informed me that Rindge Police threatened campus security themselves with arrest if they didn't start sacrificing students to the local drug war. It's like saying, "We know people smoke pot on campus. Help us bust them, or we'll bust you."

It's hard to understand what could motivate this type of law-enforcement. Small-town police departments with less to occupy their time are frequently prone to drug war excesses. College town culture clashes are nothing new either. But the sheer audacity of all this is stunning, and it raises important questions about whether this police department understands its proper role in the community.

Beyond that, it highlights how quickly the war on drugs can become a war on education itself. Throughout the nation, students bear the stigma of presumed drug involvement and are targeted, not just by law-enforcement, but by federal law that removes young people from school for petty offenses. The behavior of police at Franklin Pierce University is symptomatic of the corrupted drug war mentality that we must investigate and destroy our young people if necessary in order to discourage drug use.

This is not a war which seeks to protect and uplift America's youth. It is many things, but it is so clearly not that.

By Scott Morgan - cross-posted on Speakeasy

Don't Take Any Odds In This Fight

Today’s fight: on one side, Muhammed Ali in his prime; on the other, some random weak guy in a suit. The results are sure to be grotesque. But the fight is not nearly as one-sided as the next match-up: famed Chicago-school economist Milton Friedman vs. federal drug Czar John Walters.

In a recent interview, San Diego Herald Tribune blogger Chris Reed asked the Czar to refute Milton Friedman’s criticisms of the drug war. Friedman, who some call the father of the conservative movement (but who is an ideological ally of liberals on some social issues), wrote an important article for Newsweek in 1972 criticizing Nixon’s emerging “drug war”:

Legalizing drugs would simultaneously reduce the amount of crime and raise the quality of law enforcement. Can you conceive of any other measure that would accomplish so much to promote law and order?

But, you may say, must we accept defeat? Why not simply end the drug traffic? That is where experience under Prohibition is most relevant. We cannot end the drug traffic. We may be able to cut off opium from Turkey but there are innumerable other places where the opium poppy grows. With French cooperation, we may be able to make Marseilles an unhealthy place to manufacture heroin but there are innumerable other places where the simple manufacturing operations involved can be carried out. So long as large sums of money are involved -- and they are bound to be if drugs are illegal -- it is literally hopeless to expect to end the traffic or even to reduce seriously its scope. In drugs, as in other areas, persuasion and example are likely to be far more effective than the use of force to shape others in our image.

A well-reasoned blow from Friedman. Czar Walter has some explaining to do - after all, the drug war is what puts tax-payer money in his piggy bank. Reed transcribes his flimsy response:

he said what "the facts really say" is that Milton Friedman's criticisms of the drug war were "untrue -- demonstrably untrue."

This is what happens when you match-up a heavy-weight thinker with a mindless bureaucrat who’s profession is an embodiment of unfair, irrational laws.

Time to end with a joke:
Q: What did George Bush say when asked why he opposed the position of drug czar?
A: “That job is far too important to trust to a Russian”