I’ve held my peace about this Atlanta case, because there was something about it that simply did not add up.  Some information at some point was going to start leaping out at us… information that most critics would ignore.  And I think I’ve stumbled across it:

Whereas the majority of critics in the ‘sphere have been using this as an example to remove drug laws from the books, (sounding, in the process, like Andrew Sullivan attaching everything, every problem in the world, to the homosexual lifestyle, and the culture’s lack of support of it…) I think the ire at the death while justified, is mis-focused

I would suggest to you that the kind of violence that has occurred here can occur while enforcing any law.  One need look no further to prove that the New York City incident where the groom was recently shot hours before his wedding.  Unless you’re going to suggest to me that that death had something to do with drug laws, the issue is obviously deeper than some people’s pet peeve. 

Discuss the validity of removing the drug laws if you will.  However; If you’re looking for a lever to remove the drug laws, this case isn’t it.  I submit to you, that the central issue in this case is not drug laws, not even ‘no knock’ warrants, but corruption. And frankly, I think we’ll find that there’s a little more in the way of corruption going on here, then simply bypassing established procedure. 

Just a hunch. 

Update: (Bit)

In conversation with David, I’ve come up with a line that I think describes my concern very well:

The problem isn’t that drug laws are being enforced… the problem is that other laws are being broken, by those sworn to uphold them.

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9 Responses to “It’s Not the Drug Laws, It’s the Corruption. ”

  1. The problem with the street drug use is that we
    refuse to deal with the root cause of the problem
    to wit the druggie. We continue to excuses for the
    druggie, and we continue to have problems with druggies. No

    The first step should be to get every druggie off of Social
    Security. Social Security Diaability should be for the sick and
    not merely the stoned. Street drugs are a problem that is
    entirely self inflicted, or is that self injected. If a druggie
    wants to stoned that is purely his problem. Just don’t ask me to
    support his drug problem, no free needles, no disability and no
    unpaid medicial treatment.

  2. No argument on any of that.

    My concern, here, is that the problem is being mislabeled…. the main issue is corruption, and the bypassing of established laws.

    More to the point; the problem is not that drug laws are being enforced,
    but that other laws are being broken.

  3. No doubt, this case is so full of corruption that it’s slopping all down the sides, along with incompetence, panic and stupidity.  But how is any of this central to the problem of law enforcement officers gunning down innocent people in their bedrooms in the middle of the night? 

    At 933 Neal Street we had cops terrorizing and killing an elderly woman who seems, as best we know now, to have had nothing whatever to do with the drug trade used to justify the invasion of her home.  More than corruption, this situation seems to have come about through mind-boggling incompetence on the part of many people, including the apparently corrupt ones particularly.  What the hell have they gained apart from well-deserved hell handed back to them by people who, sooner or later, do pay some attention and do get fed up?

    In your update, you say: “The problem isn’t that drug laws are being enforced… the problem is that other laws are being broken, by those sworn to uphold them.”

    When legally sanctioned, standard operating procedure includes the smashing down of doors to private homes in the middle of the night and the killing of people who awaken, panicked, from their sleep, there is a big, big problem that goes way beyond corruption, incompetence or any other human frailty which might cause law enforcement officers – good ones, bad ones, or inexperienced ones – to falter in their sworn duties.  The laws that allow this sort of invasion and make inevitable the mayhem that costs innocent lives are themselves wrong. They are a graver threat to this country than is any traffic in drugs.

  4. Sorry, Linda, I’m not buying.

    The fact is that the laws of surrounding no knock warrants assume that the process as laid out has been followed.  Demonstrably, that wasn’t been the case here; The warrant was obtained under false pretext.  I call that, corruption.  I also call that, in this case, directly responsible for the woman’s death. 

    The problem here, is not to no-knock warrant, nor the drug policies of this country; it is that the laws and procedures surrounding that type of warrant, were clearly not followed. Think; Can you say that were those procedures followed, that this woman’s house would even have been entered?

  5. Respecting your interpretation of the problem as corruption, I’ll paraphrase the aphorism thusly: Never attribute to corruption that which is adequately explained by stupidity.  We may yet learn that someone arranged the execution of this fiasco believing he would gain something somehow , but as of now it would seem that the slipshod bungling of careless public servants was sufficient for getting the three armed and dangerous plainclothes officers into Kathryn Johnston’s home.

    You ask whether her house would have been entered if procedures had been correctly followed.  Well, assuming that the procedures are adequate to prevent forcible entry into the homes of armed, terrified and disoriented people both young and old who have committed no crime, then I suppose that, no, her house would not have been entered.  But her home was entered and her life was taken and that would seem, to me, to indicate that the procedures are very, very inadequate to the task of preventing the slaughter of innocent Americans at the hands of police officers who have no real business breaking into their homes in the middle of the night.  And that’s not surprising, given that the whole purpose of the law is to get those officers into your house before you have a chance to wake up and flush the coke.  No way can any procedures guarantee that only crack dealers are so bothered, if only because guilt can’t be established prior to apprehension.

    I gotta ask you, Bithead, about “the drug policies of this country;” what benefit do you find worth the risk of being awakened at 3:00 a.m. by a warrant-bearing SWAT team that confuses your house with your next-door neighbor’s, and your dog or kid or grandmother with an enemy of the people?

  6. First, you seem intent on ignoring the point being made about what constitutes corruption. I’m not suggesting that they were corrupt as in they were on the take… although I don’t rule that out by any means. What I’m suggsting is shortcutting the rules as laid out is also corruption.

    As to the second para, nice dodge, but again, no sale. The fact is had the rules even as they were laid out, and the warrant had not been falsified, the woman would be alive today.

    It’s also time for you to consider when 88 year old woman would be armed and the first place.  The reason is rather simple; there was an awful lot of violent criminals around involved with the drug trade.  That’s why civilization has been forced into fighting with these tactics.  And I support them in doing so.

  7. Bithead, people – cops, judges included – are fallible, frail and corruptible as hell.  Every last one of us has more in common with a starved ape than with any kind of robotic justice machine.  In particular, given the right – guess we should say wrong – circumstances, which might have nothing whatsoever to do with the job we’re getting paid for, something like 100 percent of all humans on earth are apt to shortcut rules.

    You say that: “The fact is had the rules even as they were laid out, and the warrant had not been falsified, the woman would be alive today.” Given that, do you think the persons who shortcut the rules and falsified the warrant in this case and others like it should be tried for aiding and abetting murder?  Manslaughter?  Lousy work ethic?  How about the cop(s) who ended up firing in self-defense? 

    I well understand why an 88-year-old living where Kathryn Johnston lived was armed and why she fired on men who violently broke into her home in the middle of the night.  Do you understand why people involved in the drug trade all around her were violent criminals?

    Bursting through the doors of sleeping people who may be dealing drugs or may just be living nearby or may just be the unlucky souls on the other end of a typo is not fighting a war on drugs.  It’s fighting a war on our civilization.

  8. Yes, Linda, I think they should be charged with Murder. They operated outside the law.  It’s only a clean shoot if they operate within the bounds of the law. They did not,a nd so it becomes a case of murder. It’s that simple, that clear cut. This is not because they used a procedure you disapprove of, but because they operated outside the law.

    Did you see that?  Go back and read it again.  Can I make that any clearer for you? That you can ask me that question tells me you haven’t been reading this blog for very long.

    That, as you say, all humans are frail and corruptible only strengthens my case, here; It increases the need for being vigilant.  And that includes a strong law enforcement contingent. 

    I believe in giving people that we appoint to do a particular task, the tools to do that task.  Sometimes, indeed, often, that means giving them rights and the attendant responsibilities that most citizens don’t have.  These would necessarily include in the case of police the execution of a warrant. 

    But, think, now…Do we eliminate traffic laws because some people don’t follow them?  Does our need for law enforcement become less when some we give that power, abuse it?

    Certainly, go after the people who abuse our trust. Make sure that reprisal is in the public eye.  I’ll be the one standing on the front row with the spikes and the shotgun, and the rope. But, let’s not be stupid enough to tie the hands of the vast majority of cops and other officials who do their job diligently, and legally. And by the way, I took the same position as regards the patriot act just a few days ago in this very spot if you’ll recall. 

    And I certainly understand Linda, why there is constant violence attendant to drugs.  Because there’s illegal money involved and they’re trying to defend themselves from the police.  But you’ll notice that that doesn’t elicit a great deal of sympathy from me.  Nor, I think, from most people. Nor does it make stronger your argument that we should not be taking such measures as no knock warrants.  Sorry, it just doesn’t. 

  9. And Linda, I’d like you to consider something; Even assuming what you’re saying about No-Knocks being the issue were true…I still suggest that the police officers in question not following the law is the greater problem.  Which, if you’ll read my exact wording you will find that was precisely my point. 

    Why they are the larger problem than the no-knock warrant should be patently clear; if we cannot trust them to follow that law, can we are really trust them to follow any law at all?  If we can’t trust those we appoint to uphold the law, then society itself is doomed.  It’s really that simple. 

    By the way I don’t hold that to be limited to police officers, either.  A goodly chunk of what I write about in this blog has always been abuse of trust by politicians , and by bureaucrats.