Simple & unpleasant truths

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B W Moll

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May 16, 1994, 12:14:33 PM5/16/94
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In article 7...@crl.crl.com, wds...@crl.com (William December Starr) writes:
>
>[o...@ornl.gov (B W Moll) posted article <1994May13....@ornl.gov>,
>which began with the words "In article 78...@ornl.gov, o...@ornl.gov (B W
>Moll) writes:" and was fully ">" indented from that point on. I'm
>assuming that there was some sort of technical glitch which left Brent in
>the position of having to do a null followup to his own article in order
>to get the original to appear on the net at all... anyway, if I'm
>mis-attributing any of the quoted material below, I apologize.]
>
>> It is the rise of the drug culture that has raised the level of
>> violence to it's current intolerable level on the streets of our
>> cities, as well as the countryside. We, as a nation will not gain the
>> upper hand in the war against this violent carnage unless we reach
>> children early with the knowledge of the consequences of drug use, and
>> unless we reverse the tolerance and even glamorizing drug use in the
>> popular culture of Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment
>> industry, we will stand no chance of winning the war on drugs.
>> [B W Moll]
>
>While I have no objection to the idea of educating children in the
>objective facts about recreational drug use -- N.B., I said "objective
>facts," not "anti-drug propaganda" -- I have to disagree with, or at
>least question, the main thrust of the above paragraph... it is far from
>clear to me that the cause of the problem is "the rise in the drug
>culture" rather than the rise in (or at least constant level of) the
>fighting of the War on [Some] Drugs by the various tentacles of Our
>Benevolent Government (tm). Would the phenomenon generically referred
>to as "drug-related violence" be anywhere near as large as it is today
>if the state wasn't actively, almost fanatically, working to prop up the
>artificially huge value of various relatively-cheap-to-produce chemical
>substances?
>

IMHO it is quite clear that there is a direct relationship between the
rise in violence on the streets of our urban centers and the drug culture,
and it is also quite evident that unless we as a society reverse the
tolerance and glamorizing of drug use in our urban underclasses, we
stand no chance in stemming the violence that rapidly is making our
great urban centers unlivable.

>I also question the implicit assumption that "we" _should_ win, or even
>be fighting, this war. Is the interference by force of law in the
>private affairs of the people _really_ a legitimate government function?

Yes. It is a duty of government to enfoce the laws of our society, and
that means interfering in the private affairs of its citizenry if the
citizenry engages in criminal acts.

That approach is not the only one, however, that can be used to reduce
crime. One has to address the _causes_ of crime, and especially the
patterns and behavior of those who suffer from a vicious cycle of
illegitimacy, broken families, lax work ethics, and welfare dependency.

Our society has developed this vast and often predatory underclass that
views illegal drugs as an escape from their grinding poverty because we
have adopted policies that denied the individual's responsiblity for his
own conditions and for the consequences of his own behavior. Far too often,
the role models for the youth in this underclass are those who are in
the illegal drug trade. These individuals, although criminals, represent
the American dream. Entrapreneurs who are sucessful in supplying the
goods (drugs) and services to their customers. What is needed is a
redirection in values, and maximising the opportunity for those to
climb the ladder of opportunity, and thus the social ladder out of
poverty and dispair.

Regards-

Brent
---
disclaimer: The views represented here are my own. Any similarity
between my views and the views of my employer is purely coincidence.

If you think the United States has stood still, who built the largest
shopping center in the world?
-- Richard M. Nixon

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Brent W. Moll Internet o...@ornl.gov
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge TN Phone: 615-574-6335 (USA)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

William December Starr

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May 16, 1994, 1:14:28 PM5/16/94
to

In article <1994May16.1...@ornl.gov>,
o...@ornl.gov (B W Moll) said:

> IMHO it is quite clear that there is a direct relationship between the
> rise in violence on the streets of our urban centers and the drug
> culture, and it is also quite evident that unless we as a society
> reverse the tolerance and glamorizing of drug use in our urban
> underclasses, we stand no chance in stemming the violence that rapidly
> is making our great urban centers unlivable.

Well, very little of that is quite clear to me, I'm afraid.

>> I also question the implicit assumption that "we" _should_ win, or even
>> be fighting, this war. Is the interference by force of law in the
>> private affairs of the people _really_ a legitimate government function?

>> [wdstarr]


>
> Yes. It is a duty of government to enfoce the laws of our society,
> and that means interfering in the private affairs of its citizenry if
> the citizenry engages in criminal acts.

My intended point was that the War on [Some] Drugs should not have been
started, and that the laws which criminalize some acts related to some
drugs should never have been created, because *those laws* constitute
unjustified interference by force of law in the private affairs of the
people by the state.

Is it a legitimate government function to enforce unjust and immoral
laws? Perhaps so... but it is not the obligation of any person to obey
such laws, or to aid in their enforcement.

> That approach is not the only one, however, that can be used to reduce
> crime. One has to address the _causes_ of crime, and especially the
> patterns and behavior of those who suffer from a vicious cycle of
> illegitimacy, broken families, lax work ethics, and welfare
> dependency.

No argument.

> Our society has developed this vast and often predatory underclass
> that views illegal drugs as an escape from their grinding poverty
> because we have adopted policies that denied the individual's
> responsiblity for his own conditions and for the consequences of his
> own behavior.

None of which negates the legitimacy of a desire to escape, or of the
use of drugs as a method of escape.

> Far too often, the role models for the youth in this underclass are
> those who are in the illegal drug trade. These individuals, although
> criminals, represent the American dream. Entrapreneurs who are
> sucessful in supplying the goods (drugs) and services to their
> customers. What is needed is a redirection in values, and maximising
> the opportunity for those to climb the ladder of opportunity, and thus
> the social ladder out of poverty and dispair.

Why is "a redirection in values" needed? What is wrong with the values
inherent in admiring a successful entrepreneur who deals in a line of
products which which are not objectionable?

Your complaint seems to be that these children are learning the lesson
that engaging in criminal acts is not necessarily wrong. I say, that's
a damned good lesson for people to learn if they hope to survive and
prosper in the world that our government has created.

-- William December Starr <wds...@crl.com>

B W Moll

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May 16, 1994, 2:47:23 PM5/16/94
to
In article j...@crl.crl.com, wds...@crl.com (William December Starr) writes:
>
>In article <1994May16.1...@ornl.gov>,
>o...@ornl.gov (B W Moll) said:
>
>> IMHO it is quite clear that there is a direct relationship between the
>> rise in violence on the streets of our urban centers and the drug
>> culture, and it is also quite evident that unless we as a society
>> reverse the tolerance and glamorizing of drug use in our urban
>> underclasses, we stand no chance in stemming the violence that rapidly
>> is making our great urban centers unlivable.
>
>Well, very little of that is quite clear to me, I'm afraid.

What is not clear? Please fill the net.bandwith with your opinion.

>
>>> I also question the implicit assumption that "we" _should_ win, or even
>>> be fighting, this war. Is the interference by force of law in the
>>> private affairs of the people _really_ a legitimate government function?
>>> [wdstarr]
>>
>> Yes. It is a duty of government to enfoce the laws of our society,
>> and that means interfering in the private affairs of its citizenry if
>> the citizenry engages in criminal acts.
>
>My intended point was that the War on [Some] Drugs should not have been
>started, and that the laws which criminalize some acts related to some
>drugs should never have been created, because *those laws* constitute
>unjustified interference by force of law in the private affairs of the
>people by the state.

Which drugs do you believe should be legalized?

>
>Is it a legitimate government function to enforce unjust and immoral
>laws? Perhaps so... but it is not the obligation of any person to obey
>such laws, or to aid in their enforcement.
>
>> That approach is not the only one, however, that can be used to reduce
>> crime. One has to address the _causes_ of crime, and especially the
>> patterns and behavior of those who suffer from a vicious cycle of
>> illegitimacy, broken families, lax work ethics, and welfare
>> dependency.
>
>No argument.
>
>> Our society has developed this vast and often predatory underclass
>> that views illegal drugs as an escape from their grinding poverty
>> because we have adopted policies that denied the individual's
>> responsiblity for his own conditions and for the consequences of his
>> own behavior.
>
>None of which negates the legitimacy of a desire to escape, or of the
>use of drugs as a method of escape.

The desire to escape is a honest, real one. However the vehicle that
provides the means of _real_ escape is not that which one gets on via
a needle, or through the nose, or down the throat. These are symtoms
of dispair. Like behavior, these attitues are learned. Changing
attitudes requires altering our social system of reward an punishment.
It requires reinstilling that basic sense of personal responsibility
that has been one of the prime casulaties of the liberal era.

The best way for one to truly escape poverty and dispair is for one to
climb the ladder of opportunity. This requires ensuring that any obstacles
are removed. This is the responsibility of government. However, it also
requires that those at the bottom of the ladder take the first step and
then to make the climb. It means government having a key role in promoting
educational achievement. It means motivating people to use the advantages
available to them. It means knocking down barriers of discrimination
that have historically held so many back. It means, in many cases,
extending a helping hand to those who have the will to make the
climb but have not found the way. This is more than a moral obligation.
It represents an indespensible investment in our nation's future.

>
>> Far too often, the role models for the youth in this underclass are
>> those who are in the illegal drug trade. These individuals, although
>> criminals, represent the American dream. Entrapreneurs who are
>> sucessful in supplying the goods (drugs) and services to their
>> customers. What is needed is a redirection in values, and maximising
>> the opportunity for those to climb the ladder of opportunity, and thus
>> the social ladder out of poverty and dispair.
>
>Why is "a redirection in values" needed? What is wrong with the values
>inherent in admiring a successful entrepreneur who deals in a line of
>products which which are not objectionable?

Absolutley nothing. It is just that the role models are wrong. Just
as those in the poverty industry who get and take in the name of the
poor, but not for the benifit of the poor. The exploiting class in the
poor communities today are every bit as dispicable as those who lived
on the slave trade. Their cynical manipulation of the fears, anxieties and vulnerabilites of their poor constituients is itself a form of
psycological slavery. The poor in America will stay poor until they
realize that each of them can make it on their own and until they set
out to do what it takes to make it on their own.

The threat of having to do without is central to a productive economy.
Some people work becaue they want to, but most people work because they
have to. What we have done over the past 30 years of the Great Society
is to remove the necessity, thus the motivation. Even worse, we have
introduced a spiritual rot that has eaten at the foundations of our society
itself.

In many cases those who do work resent those who do not, and they also
resent the system that rewards the lazy with liesure. Seeing the lazy
rip off the system and get away with it, they are tempted to rip it
off in their own ways. Society as a whole has gone on a downward
spiral of alienation and irresponsiblility, which in turn, fosters
hostility, resentment and even revenge.

This is wrong. This is where the 'change' must occur, if Clinton really
wants to instill 'change' in society.

Almost anyone can lead a productive life. The basic distinction we
must draw is between those who choose to do so and those who choose not
to do so. Those who choose to do so, but need help in getting started
deserve that help. Those who through misfortune falter along the way
and need a hand back up deserve it. But those who wilfully fail to
prepare themselves for a job or self-indulgently sink themselves into
drugs or crime have no claim on the community concience.

Once this is made crystal clear, the numbers choosing life outside the
productive community will, IMHO, drop drastically. Crime rates will
fall. Dispair will diminish. Productivity and incomes will rise.
Alienation will give way to pride and a sense of community. All of
this, however, requires one basic step . . . a radical change in attitude
amoung those who live on the fringes of civilized society.

>
>Your complaint seems to be that these children are learning the lesson
>that engaging in criminal acts is not necessarily wrong. I say, that's
>a damned good lesson for people to learn if they hope to survive and
>prosper in the world that our government has created.

Children are impressionable. If they learn from example of their parents
and from their enviornment, then the lesson that should be taught is that
if they choose not to make the effort or to accept the dicipline needed
to earn a honest, law-abiding, living, it is not only appropriate but
necessary that they suffer the consequences of that choice.

Richard Boyd

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May 15, 1994, 10:40:56 AM5/15/94
to
After reading the following message, I couldn't help myself.

-=> Quoting o...@ornl.gov to All <=-

>> As to the police who whine about getting killed on the
>> streets, here's

Sorry to break this to you, the police are NOT whining about
getting killed. Their Chiefs of Police are. The street cops are on
our side. There are a number of surveys that have been done,
asking street cops what they think about gun control. They all
conclude that the vast majority of cops want guns in the hands of
the people.

>> another simple and unpleasant truth: I'm sorry, but that is
>> what you are PAID to do. You are paid to go out and get your
>> head blown off if society requires you to do so. If you don't
>> like that, then obviously you don't belong in the police
>> force. I'm sorry that you chose to become a police officer,
>> but that
>> was YOUR decision. I really don't feel like having my civil
>> was rights abridged to
>> make your job easier.
>
>
>No wonder we have such a hard time trying to keep our rights when idiots like

>you start spouting your intelligence. Thanks a lot you really ought to join
>handgun control or one of those idiot groups since we don't need your help on

>our side of the issue. Our police are trying to do a very difficult job and
>what they need is a justice system that backs them up not some idiot telling
>them that they are paid to die.
More to the point, they aren't getting killed. Over the last
decade, there has been a constant DECREASE in cops being killed on
duty.

ol> I posted before that in the United States, we have the highest crime
ol> rate in the world,
WRONG! I have been doing some checking. I have so far written
letters to the German Bundeskriminalamt, the English Home Office
and the French Ministere de la Justice, asking for crime rates as
of 1992. (Actually, I have written letters to a bunch of places.
This is all I received answers to so far.) You might find the
results interesting.
________________
Country Crime Rate per 100,000
USA 5,660
France 6,687
Germany 7,838
England & Wales 10,905

Now, who has a crime problem? In addition, do you want to rank
these countries by their gun control ratings?

ol> and that during the Persian Gulf War almost twenty
ol> times as many Americans were murdered on the streets of our great
ol> metropolitan centers, as were killed on the battlefield. Society is
Well, the romp in the desert was not exactly a war either. This
hardly rates as a real comparison.
ol> becoming more and more fed up that a permanent underclass has developed
ol> that is rapidly making our cities unsafe and unliveable.

ol> It is the rise of the drug culture that has raised the level of
ol> violence to it's current intolerable level on the streets of our
ol> cities, as well as the countryside. We, as a nation will not gain the
ol> upper hand in the war against this violent carnage unless we reach
ol> children early with the knowledge of the consequences of drug use, and
ol> unless we reverse the tolerance and even glamorizing drug use in the
ol> popular culture of Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment
ol> industry, we will stand no chance of winning the war on drugs.
While you are probably correct about the drug problem in America
(and everywhere else I have info on), the violence crime rate in
America has been going DOWN (1% last year). In fact crime
generally has been going down (3% in each of the last two years).
So, your statement that, "It is the rise of the drug culture that


has raised the level of violence to it's current intolerable

level..." is simply not true due to the fact that the crime rate
has not gone up (I also got a letter from the FBI).

ol> The Clinton Administration must shift the focus from a supply-side
ol> battle in distant corners of the world to a demand-side battle here at
ol> home. There is no way that the United States can seal it's borders
ol> tight enough to stop the drug trafficking. While budgets for drug
ol> interdiction have risen, the street price of drugs has dropped as
ol> traffickers devised ever more artful means to penetrate defenses
ol> against them. Victory will only come if the Clinton Administration
ol> takes steps to reduce the demand for drugs through stronger legal
ol> sanctions, education, treatment, and most importantly, a radical change
ol> in community values. The current drug culture has it's roots in the
ol> liberal permissive attitudes of the 1960's, which glorified the use of
ol> marijuana and hard drugs and in condoning the use of so-called 'casual'
ol> drugs today.
No government can do this. That and the fact that Clinton is the
stereotype of the, "liberal permissive attitudes of the 1960's."
He is hardly the one to lead a change from these values.

ol> Attacking the pathology of the urban underclass is central to meeting
ol> the whole range of our domestic social needs. The underclasses of
ol> society is primarily responsible for the plauge of violent crime. It
Problem; a plague requires growth. If the crime rate is going
down, how can there be a plauge?

ol> drains the resources of our state and local governments and of our
ol> social service institutions. It cripples much of our school system.
ol> It represents a tremendous human waste, as millions of people wasting
ol> away in slums could be productive members of the larger society,
ol> strengthening the nation in the global economic competition and adding
ol> to its reputation as a place of opportunity.

ol> It is also quite clear that the use of firearms by those in the drug
ol> trade is the overwhelming cause of many many murders and violent crime
ol> by those in search of money to fuel their drug habit. Steps, such as
True (if I understand the sentance correctly).
ol> banning assault weapons are, IMHO, a meaningless political gesture that
ol> is simply not going to solve the problem of violence on the streets. A
True! Very true.
ol> criminal is not going to worry about not being able to obtain an
ol> assault rifle to commit a crime that he already has decided to commit.
Well, as they don't use "assault weapons" anyway, it definitely
won't affect him.

ol> They will get the firearm one way or another, and as long as it has the
ol> ability to shoot bullets, that's fine. Laws such as that only serve the
ol> purpose of the radicals who see firearms as the source of all evil.
We agree.
ol> Well, they aren't. It is the _individual_ who is the source of the
ol> violence and crime.
We agree, again.
ol> That is not to say that firearms are blameless, as
ol> they aren't either.
How can an inanimate object be the blame for anything. They are
inanimate. Only animate objects be be the blame for anything.

ol> The United States is awash with weaponry.
So?
ol> Estimates are that there are more firearms than individuals in the
So what? There may also me more toothbrushes then people. It's
really a meaningless statistic.

ol> population. If we, as a society are ever going to get a handle on
ol> controlling violence on the streets, ways must be found to reduce the
ol> supply of weapons available to the criminals.
Really? Almost anything can be used as a weapon, even hands and
feet. The only true way to reduce the supply of weapons available
to criminals would be to strap them down in a rubber room.
Anything else gives them access to weapons (remember those hands
and feet).

ol> Unless we adapt and
ol> _enforce_ strict gun-control laws, ones much more tougher than the
ol> Brady Law, and ones really effective in controlling the sale and
ol> responsibility for firearms ownership,
Really? This assumes that there are gun control laws that are
effective in reducing crime. There aren't. I could go on and on,
listing gun control failures. Instead, I'll challenge you. Show me
one:
City
State
Country
that has EVER reduced the crime rate by the passage of a gun
control law. the US has something like 20,000 gun control law.
None of them seem to work. There are something like 150 countries,
I don't know any of them that have ever gotten it to work. So, show
me one. If what I have just said it true (it is), then what makes
you think that you can come up with one that will finally work?
ol> we will never succeed in stemming
ol> the violence spawned by the drug trade. . .
Am I terminally stupid or isn't the best way to stem anything
spawned by the drug trade to stem the drug trade?
Rich

... "ASSAULT is a behavior, not a device!"
* Origin: Infinite Improbability Board (2:2468/9721)

B W Moll

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May 17, 1994, 11:19:32 AM5/17/94
to
In article AA0...@krypta.in-berlin.de, zap...@krypta.in-berlin.de (Richard Boyd) writes:
>After reading the following message, I couldn't help myself.
>
> -=> Quoting o...@ornl.gov to All <=-

Well, first off, I didn't write the following.
It was written by ps...@aurora.alaska.edu.

Please make your references correct. I don't mind being asked about things
that I post, but I don't like to take credit where things are not due.
So lets just delete this, and get down to the things that I _did_ post.

[edited out . . .

>
> ol> I posted before that in the United States, we have the highest crime
> ol> rate in the world,
>WRONG! I have been doing some checking. I have so far written
>letters to the German Bundeskriminalamt, the English Home Office
>and the French Ministere de la Justice, asking for crime rates as
>of 1992. (Actually, I have written letters to a bunch of places.
>This is all I received answers to so far.) You might find the
>results interesting.
>________________
> Country Crime Rate per 100,000
> USA 5,660
> France 6,687
> Germany 7,838
> England & Wales 10,905
>
>Now, who has a crime problem? In addition, do you want to rank
>these countries by their gun control ratings?

Whew! I'm glad you posted that. Now I feel much safer knowing that
I was at much more of a grave risk when I lived in the UK and in
West Germany. Funny, however, I didn't know that Europe was a
virtual sea of crime compared to the US. Although in Paris one
did feel somewhat uneasy, although I suppose that was about stepping
in the urine that was eminating from the public restrooms on the
sidewalk.:)

>
> ol> and that during the Persian Gulf War almost twenty
> ol> times as many Americans were murdered on the streets of our great
> ol> metropolitan centers, as were killed on the battlefield. Society is

>Well, the romp in the desert was not exactly a war either. This
>hardly rates as a real comparison.

Romp in the desert, yeah right. Having missles coming at you, and not
knowing which one contained nerve gas, or living in a tent that contained
sand fleas, camel spiders and scorpions must be a cakewalk, right? Or
perhaps not knowing when you were going to GO HOME? Perhaps your information
may be more accurate if you would have some knowledge of the facts, yes?

> ol> becoming more and more fed up that a permanent underclass has developed
> ol> that is rapidly making our cities unsafe and unliveable.
>
> ol> It is the rise of the drug culture that has raised the level of
> ol> violence to it's current intolerable level on the streets of our
> ol> cities, as well as the countryside. We, as a nation will not gain the
> ol> upper hand in the war against this violent carnage unless we reach
> ol> children early with the knowledge of the consequences of drug use, and
> ol> unless we reverse the tolerance and even glamorizing drug use in the
> ol> popular culture of Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment
> ol> industry, we will stand no chance of winning the war on drugs.

>While you are probably correct about the drug problem in America
>(and everywhere else I have info on), the violence crime rate in
>America has been going DOWN (1% last year). In fact crime
>generally has been going down (3% in each of the last two years).
>So, your statement that, "It is the rise of the drug culture that
>has raised the level of violence to it's current intolerable
>level..." is simply not true due to the fact that the crime rate
>has not gone up (I also got a letter from the FBI).

Given that the _rate_ is at an intolerably high level, that doesn't
give many Americans, who have to live in the urban jungle, very much
relief. Especially when one fears to go walking down the streets unarmed.

>
> ol> The Clinton Administration must shift the focus from a supply-side
> ol> battle in distant corners of the world to a demand-side battle here at
> ol> home. There is no way that the United States can seal it's borders
> ol> tight enough to stop the drug trafficking. While budgets for drug
> ol> interdiction have risen, the street price of drugs has dropped as
> ol> traffickers devised ever more artful means to penetrate defenses
> ol> against them. Victory will only come if the Clinton Administration
> ol> takes steps to reduce the demand for drugs through stronger legal
> ol> sanctions, education, treatment, and most importantly, a radical change
> ol> in community values. The current drug culture has it's roots in the
> ol> liberal permissive attitudes of the 1960's, which glorified the use of
> ol> marijuana and hard drugs and in condoning the use of so-called 'casual'
> ol> drugs today.

>No government can do this. That and the fact that Clinton is the
>stereotype of the, "liberal permissive attitudes of the 1960's."
>He is hardly the one to lead a change from these values.

We can agree on that. Especially when he admits to using illegal drugs,
but 'didn't inhale!'

>
> ol> Attacking the pathology of the urban underclass is central to meeting
> ol> the whole range of our domestic social needs. The underclasses of
> ol> society is primarily responsible for the plauge of violent crime. It

>Problem; a plague requires growth. If the crime rate is going
>down, how can there be a plauge?

Perhaps plague was an inaccurate word in this usage. Crime can also be
called a 'cancer' that has manifested itself on the body of society. That
may be a better symbology of the manifestation.

As long as there are malcontents in society, there will be crime. As
long as people are greedy, there will be crime. As long as people lust
for things they can't posess legally, there will be crime. Firearms
are a tool that is used by the criminal in many cases to bring force to
the table in the commission of a crime. It isn't the only tool, but
it is a very effective one. It is also widely available in the United
States. It is not unusual for a career crminal getting out of jail to
obtain a firearm within thirty minutes after being released, as it is
a part of their attire, just as shoes, socks and a shirt is.

What must be done is to attempt to reduce the sheer amount of firearms
that is _not_ a part of the responsible owner's collection, the firearm
that the law-abiding citizen owns for self protection, or any of the
many other legitimite reasons for an individual who wants to own a
firearm. For example, those individuals who travel from state to state,
purchacing scores of weapons for illegal sale on the streets to criminals
must be stopped. Undocumented sales of firearms at gun shows that
eventually wind up in police evidence lock-ups after their use in
felonies must be stopped, etc.

Perhaps, just perhaps, swift capitol punishment for murderers using
firearms in the commision of crimes would be a good start as well.

> ol> we will never succeed in stemming
> ol> the violence spawned by the drug trade. . .
>Am I terminally stupid or isn't the best way to stem anything
>spawned by the drug trade to stem the drug trade?

Agreed.

gar...@ingres.com

unread,
May 18, 1994, 7:22:19 PM5/18/94
to
In article <1994May17.1...@ornl.gov>, o...@ornl.gov writes...

>In article AA0...@krypta.in-berlin.de, zap...@krypta.in-berlin.de (Richard Boyd) writes:
>>After reading the following message, I couldn't help myself.
>
>[edited out . . .
>> ol> I posted before that in the United States, we have the highest crime
>> ol> rate in the world,
>>WRONG! I have been doing some checking. I have so far written
>>letters to the German Bundeskriminalamt, the English Home Office
>>and the French Ministere de la Justice, asking for crime rates as
>>of 1992. (Actually, I have written letters to a bunch of places.
>>This is all I received answers to so far.) You might find the
>>results interesting.
>>________________
>> Country Crime Rate per 100,000
>> USA 5,660
>> France 6,687
>> Germany 7,838
>> England & Wales 10,905
>>
[snip]

>>While you are probably correct about the drug problem in America
>>(and everywhere else I have info on), the violence crime rate in
>>America has been going DOWN (1% last year). In fact crime
>>generally has been going down (3% in each of the last two years).
>>So, your statement that, "It is the rise of the drug culture that
>>has raised the level of violence to it's current intolerable
>>level..." is simply not true due to the fact that the crime rate
>>has not gone up (I also got a letter from the FBI).
>
>Given that the _rate_ is at an intolerably high level, that doesn't
>give many Americans, who have to live in the urban jungle, very much
>relief. Especially when one fears to go walking down the streets unarmed.
>

Is it just me, or does it seem that the people who are most scared of
crime are the ones that are living in safe rural and suburban areas?

[very large deletia]

>Regards-
>Brent
>---


>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>Brent W. Moll Internet o...@ornl.gov

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Birds of a feather flock together, as so do sheep and Gar...@Ingres.com
swine, rats and mice shall have their choice, and so Garrett Johnson
shall I have mine." - Mother Goose

B W Moll

unread,
May 19, 1994, 10:30:21 AM5/19/94
to
In article 15...@pony.Ingres.COM, gar...@Ingres.COM () writes:
>In article <1994May17.1...@ornl.gov>, o...@ornl.gov writes...
>>In article AA0...@krypta.in-berlin.de, zap...@krypta.in-berlin.de (Richard Boyd) writes:
>>
>>Given that the _rate_ is at an intolerably high level, that doesn't
>>give many Americans, who have to live in the urban jungle, very much
>>relief. Especially when one fears to go walking down the streets unarmed.
>>
>Is it just me, or does it seem that the people who are most scared of
>crime are the ones that are living in safe rural and suburban areas?
>

A lot of people who live in 'save rural and surburban areas' are former
urbanites who got sick of the swill and filth. Cities are nice places
to visit, but some are abhorrent to live in.

Regards-

Brent


---
disclaimer: The views represented here are my own. Any similarity
between my views and the views of my employer is purely coincidence.

If you think the United States has stood still, who built the largest
shopping center in the world?
-- Richard M. Nixon

--------------------------------------------------------------------


Brent W. Moll Internet o...@ornl.gov

Chris Holt

unread,
May 19, 1994, 5:16:10 PM5/19/94
to
gar...@Ingres.COM writes:
>In article <1994May17.1...@ornl.gov>, o...@ornl.gov writes...
>>In article AA0...@krypta.in-berlin.de, zap...@krypta.in-berlin.de (Richard Boyd) writes:
>>>________________
>>> Country Crime Rate per 100,000
>>> USA 5,660
>>> France 6,687
>>> Germany 7,838
>>> England & Wales 10,905

>>>While you are probably correct about the drug problem in America


>>>(and everywhere else I have info on), the violence crime rate in
>>>America has been going DOWN (1% last year). In fact crime
>>>generally has been going down (3% in each of the last two years).
>>>So, your statement that, "It is the rise of the drug culture that
>>>has raised the level of violence to it's current intolerable
>>>level..." is simply not true due to the fact that the crime rate
>>>has not gone up (I also got a letter from the FBI).

We can't really interpret these figures unless we know something
about whether what counts as a crime is comparable, whether
report rates are comparable, and whether the overall rates
have similar proportions of what is considered "serious" crime.
For instance, if the UK has far more speeding tickets than
France, I'm not sure that's a convincing reason to feel safer
in France (since I usually take the train :-).

An additional confusing factor is that crime tends to be
higher during economic downturns, and the US has been on the
recovery path earlier than Europe.

>>Given that the _rate_ is at an intolerably high level, that doesn't
>>give many Americans, who have to live in the urban jungle, very much
>>relief. Especially when one fears to go walking down the streets unarmed.

And yet here I am, in a supposedly dangerous country, feeling quite
free to walk home through downtown Newcastle at 1 a.m. without fear
of attack.

>Is it just me, or does it seem that the people who are most scared of
>crime are the ones that are living in safe rural and suburban areas?

They're the ones who vocalize their concerns the most; I doubt they're
the most afraid. When you're living in an apartment block where
you know there are a bunch of druggies, where people have been
killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, where if
you hear a knock on the door your first thought is "have the gangs
decided they want to move in here", you're pretty scared of crime.
However, you don't say a whole lot about it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chris...@newcastle.ac.uk ftp://tuda.ncl.ac.uk/pub/local/ncmh1/nameplate.html
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fair pledges of a fruitful web, / Why do ye fall so fast?

William December Starr

unread,
May 20, 1994, 4:06:12 PM5/20/94
to
[Note that I'm adding talk.politics.drugs to this thread, and removing
alt.politics.clinton from the followups.]

In article <1994May16.1...@ornl.gov>, as part of the "Simple &
unpleasant truths" thread, o...@ornl.gov (B W Moll) said a lot of stuff,
which I'm breaking along thematic lines into two threads... this is the
first one:

>>> IMHO it is quite clear that there is a direct relationship between the
>>> rise in violence on the streets of our urban centers and the drug
>>> culture, and it is also quite evident that unless we as a society
>>> reverse the tolerance and glamorizing of drug use in our urban
>>> underclasses, we stand no chance in stemming the violence that rapidly

>>> is making our great urban centers unlivable. [B W Moll]
>>
>> Well, very little of that is quite clear to me, I'm afraid. [wdstarr]


>
> What is not clear? Please fill the net.bandwith with your opinion.

Don't I always? :-)

It depends on what you mean by "the drug culture." There are two
distinct phenomena both of which could wear that name:

(1) The culture in which the use of drugs is not viewed as necessarily
bad or evil... sort of like the stereotypical hippie drug culture of the
1960s.

(2) The culture which is both drug-related and war-on-drugs-related that
dominates a lot of urban landscapes today, a culture set in an
environment which consists of long periods of despair punctuated by
moments of sheer terror and death.

Culture #2 clearly drives the violence machine in those areas, and if
that's what you meant then we have no disagreement. But I don't see any
straight connection between Culture #1 and the rise in urban violence,
at least not any strong correlation. (Certainly there's a weak
correlation, as there are violent crimes committed to obtain drug money,
and users do occasionally -- though probably very rarely -- go on
drug-induced rampages. But I see no correlation strong enough to
justify a "war" on drugs and the draconian means being used to implement
that war.)

>> My intended point was that the War on [Some] Drugs should not have
>> been started, and that the laws which criminalize some acts related
>> to some drugs should never have been created, because *those laws*
>> constitute unjustified interference by force of law in the private
>> affairs of the people by the state.
>
> Which drugs do you believe should be legalized?

All of them, pretty much. About the only type of drugs that I've heard
a good argument for the government control of are, believe it or not,
high-powered antibiotics, as their overuse can turn the user's body into
a incubator for Darwinially-selected "supergerms" which, unless the user
lives in a plastic bubble, very likely will be passed on to other
people.

My reasoning is pretty simple, at least when limited to adults-only
cases: in a state which purports to respect the freedom, rights and
privacy of the people within the jurisdiction of its laws, no acts may
be legitimately outlawed save those which violate or credibly threated
to violate the rights of a person other than the actor.

Producing/manufacturing just about any currently-illegal drug does not
fall into that category<*>, therefore it cannot be outlawed.

<*>Yes, I know that drug labs frequently use highly volatile
chemicals like ether, and that they _do_ present a fire/explosion
risk to their neighbors. However, the credible threat to the rights
of others in these cases arises not from the drug itself but from the
fire hazard... it is legitimate to regulate or outlaw such hazardous
acts under basic fire and safety laws, but not under drug laws.

Likewise -- assuming that elementary safety precautions are taken -- the
storage/possession of these drugs does not fall into that category, nor
does their distribution. Only when it comes to the usage/consumption of
"street" drugs does there arise even the possibility of a credible
threat to the rights of other persons... in these cases, the state has
the right and the obligation to _rationally and objectively_ evaluate
separately each combination of drug and mode of consumption as to the
potential threat that is posed users of that drug and determine and
enforce laws and regulations pertaining to such usage which are crafted
to be reasonable and to pose the least interference possible into
peoples' private acts.

In other words, I see about (guesstimate coming up here, folks) 95 to 98
percent of the government's war-related laws as being totally
illegitimate, and most of the remainder as being at least sufficiently
questionable as to require a complete reevaluation.

William December Starr

unread,
May 20, 1994, 4:29:31 PM5/20/94
to

In article <1994May16.1...@ornl.gov>, as part of the "Simple &
unpleasant truths" thread, o...@ornl.gov (B W Moll) said a lot of stuff,
which I'm breaking along thematic lines into two threads... this is the
second one:

>>> Our society has developed this vast and often predatory underclass
>>> that views illegal drugs as an escape from their grinding poverty
>>> because we have adopted policies that denied the individual's
>>> responsiblity for his own conditions and for the consequences of his

>>> own behavior. [B W Moll]


>>
>> None of which negates the legitimacy of a desire to escape, or of the

>> use of drugs as a method of escape. [wdstarr]


>
> The desire to escape is a honest, real one. However the vehicle that
> provides the means of _real_ escape is not that which one gets on via
> a needle, or through the nose, or down the throat. These are symtoms
> of dispair. Like behavior, these attitues are learned. Changing

> attitudes requires altering our social system of reward and


> punishment. It requires reinstilling that basic sense of personal
> responsibility that has been one of the prime casulaties of the
> liberal era.

I agree that it would be nice if things were better, there was less
despair, and less usage of self-destructive methods of avoiding despair.
The question is, does the state, or anyone else, have the right to try
to bring about these changes partly or wholly at gunpoint?

> The best way for one to truly escape poverty and dispair is for one to
> climb the ladder of opportunity. This requires ensuring that any
> obstacles are removed. This is the responsibility of government.
> However, it also requires that those at the bottom of the ladder take
> the first step and then to make the climb. It means government having
> a key role in promoting educational achievement. It means motivating
> people to use the advantages available to them. It means knocking
> down barriers of discrimination that have historically held so many
> back. It means, in many cases, extending a helping hand to those who
> have the will to make the climb but have not found the way. This is
> more than a moral obligation. It represents an indespensible
> investment in our nation's future.

All well and good, and I agree virtually completely. (As I've said
elsewhere, I may be a libertarian, but I'm a *bleeding-heart*
libertarian. :-) And I note that none, or very little, of what you're
proposing here requires in its implementation the use of force or threat
of force by the government. (About the only part of it that does, I
think, would be the enforcement of truancy laws.)

Regarding role models for inner-city youth:

>>> Far too often, the role models for the youth in this underclass are
>>> those who are in the illegal drug trade. These individuals,
>>> although criminals, represent the American dream. Entrapreneurs who
>>> are sucessful in supplying the goods (drugs) and services to their
>>> customers. What is needed is a redirection in values, and
>>> maximising the opportunity for those to climb the ladder of
>>> opportunity, and thus the social ladder out of poverty and dispair.

>>> [B W Moll]


>>
>> Why is "a redirection in values" needed? What is wrong with the values
>> inherent in admiring a successful entrepreneur who deals in a line of

>> products which which are not objectionable? [wdstarr]


>
> Absolutley nothing. It is just that the role models are wrong. Just
> as those in the poverty industry who get and take in the name of the
> poor, but not for the benifit of the poor. The exploiting class in
> the poor communities today are every bit as dispicable as those who
> lived on the slave trade. Their cynical manipulation of the fears,
> anxieties and vulnerabilites of their poor constituients is itself a
> form of psycological slavery. The poor in America will stay poor
> until they realize that each of them can make it on their own and
> until they set out to do what it takes to make it on their own.

And again, agreement, though I find the use of the word "slavery" to be
perhaps a bit too strong and inflammatory. I'm going to skip a bit of
what you said in order to get to the punchline:

> Almost anyone can lead a productive life. The basic distinction we
> must draw is between those who choose to do so and those who choose
> not to do so. Those who choose to do so, but need help in getting
> started deserve that help. Those who through misfortune falter along
> the way and need a hand back up deserve it. But those who wilfully
> fail to prepare themselves for a job or self-indulgently sink
> themselves into drugs or crime have no claim on the community
> concience.
>
> Once this is made crystal clear, the numbers choosing life outside the
> productive community will, IMHO, drop drastically. Crime rates will

> fall. Despair will diminish. Productivity and incomes will rise.


> Alienation will give way to pride and a sense of community. All of
> this, however, requires one basic step . . . a radical change in
> attitude amoung those who live on the fringes of civilized society.

(I couldn't help but giggle, by the way, at your almost certainly
unintentional echoing of Karl Marx' prediction that the system which he
felt was holding people back, capitalism, would eventually wither away
if the societal changes that he recommended were made... :-)

But seriously, folks... yes, you're right. The only point upon which we
_may_ disagree is that of whether any governmental use of _coercion_ --
not the pseudo-coercion inherent in "Meet these standards or we won't
give you any money" but the real coercion of "If you perform that act,
we will criminally prosecute and punish you" -- with regard to acts
which may exploit people's despair but do not actually violate their
rights, has a legitimate place in the bringing about of this radical
change.

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