The Silk Road trial has concluded, but why are we here in the first place?
The larger conversation regarding the War on Drugs has been ignored on the whole and the trial has surrounded “Did Ross sell drugs?” instead of “Do we care Ross sold drugs?”.
The war on Drugs after almost a century has only wrecked lives, empowered the police state, and funneled money into a prison industrial complex. This is already common knowledge to many, so why is it missing from the media context of Silk Road’s trial?
America is not ready to end the war on drugs. America still has communities with morals and ethics stemming from the 1950s. The baby boomer generation was force fed stories of crazed men on LSD and violent drug dealing cartel killings through media and school. While both of these things do happen from time to time, their perceived frequency is increased with media.
The boomers and their voting aged offspring are the unknowing force that screams, “think of the children” and “not in my backyard”. Legalizing drugs is seen as condoning the behavior of using drugs and, “sends the wrong message to young people.” Well guess what? Young people have unprecedented access to drugs and drug-related knowledge. Cities and towns are struggling to find budgets to combat the War on Drugs and pay to imprison their citizens.
Imprisoning citizens is neither helpful nor cost effective from a prevention standpoint. Most whom have been paying attention to the drug war dialogue already know this. Harm reduction is starting to play a massive part of this, and the example I like to tout is the Shambhala Music Festival. This is the only music festival in the world that provides on-site drug testing from the festival themselves. They do community outreach, they go buy drugs to test them and show to others if they need to be avoided; but most importantly they allow people to know if they are getting the harmless drugs they want, give them dosage guidelines, and prevent overdoses. This can also help find random chemicals that are “sold as” recreational drugs. Some people do this for profit and it is a symptom of the unregulated marketplace created by prohibition.
Follow the money they say. Well here’s a solid example…
The War on Drugs and drug-related seizures are a massive cash cow for the people running police departments, prison funds and state coffers. We burn the heroin we find, but what do you think happens to that cash they found? They sell anything they can, including Bitcoins to get funds. While it may be an educated assumption from this writer, it’s not a stretch to assume that there are money forces behind the drug war making it last longer.
Did we forget that the CIA used to import cocaine? I’m going to give you some search terms to educate yourself on this lengthy subject, but here are a few: Danilo Blandon, Iran-Contra, Gary Webb, Dark Alliance, Freeway Ricky Ross. The summary of this is we sold cocaine to fund the Iran-Contra affair some time ago. It’s the biggest open secret in Washington D.C. Cocaine and drugs in general remain as a potential way to fund operations for black ops. It seems as recently as 2012 they are still doing it.
Ross is going to jail having been found guilty, while the cartels that violently murder people, cut drugs with adulterants, and extort funds from locals will remain free. The only way to end the cartels is to end their money supply. Legalize drugs of all kinds, regulate them, and tax the living hell out of them.
Criminalizing drugs has not solved the problem, and fifty years of data shows that.
Taxing drugs can pay for addiction support, public housing and rehab for users. Production of drugs can provide endless jobs for the United States and someone will be needed to market and distribute them all. Not to mention design the supply lines, get them to stores, and regulate the dispensing of this drugs.
Putting people like Ross Ulbricht in jail has not solved the problem. There are still dozens of dark net markets who will likely never be shut down permanently. Operations security has evolved to embrace a “hydra” structure (see: Pirate Bay). As long as encryption and privacy methods remain intact and the Internet stays up, the dark net markets will continue to prosper.
No one should tell their kids to do drugs, but if we think this joke of a paradigm is still working you haven’t been paying attention to the bigger picture.
Do you want your children safer? Do you want to get rid of those homeless bums with substance abuse problems wandering the streets? Disband the cartels and cut their funding? Then end the War on Drugs so we can begin taxing the drugs and putting them through the proper ropes.
We need to start treating our own citizens as adults instead of adhering to a nanny state. If the War on Drugs was over, Ross would not be in jail. The United States Government created the set of circumstances for Silk Road to prosper. They continue to allow the dark nets to prosper because no one wants to stop the flow of money from the drug war.
Through education and realization of our current dire situation we can make progress. The government so far has only very slightly begun reversing its policy on cannabis. Just this week it legal sales in DC were worked into the budget.
Ross doesn’t deserve to be in jail for selling drugs. He was filling a void of service and created an entire new industry. The reality is he is a passionate visionary with a horrible sense of operations security.
End the nonsense. End the War on Drugs.