PM Harper [Canada] has announced new measures to address the public shootings, like the spate of violence that has been occuring on Vancouver area streets.
He thinks that by keeping more of the gang members in jail that there will be fewer public shootings.
That is the basic "tough on crime" idea that has not helped in the past, and it is allready part of the American strategy that is not working. I do believe that it is a good idea to keep those dangerous thugs behind bars, but there are plenty of others waiting in line to take their place, and it won't end the public shootings. In fact, it might even trigger new turf wars when gang leaders are taken out of their positions.
Another measure he has announced is automatic jail time for certain sizes of marijuana grow-ops. New ones will take their places too, because the money is so good - jail is not going to be a deterrant for the way the gangs operate grow-ops. There will allways be a good supply of pot for the gangs to empower themselves with.
I think PM Harper is just using the gang shootings as an excuse to go after pot - the world needs MORE pot, not less, and it should be sold through regulated outlets such as the successfull program of "compassion clubs" now operating in B.C. that takes many sales and their proceeds away from organised crime, and provides income for regular people who are growing the pot for the compassion clubs. Harper's new plans will hurt that system, and non-gang growers will end up in jail.
The other initiatives that PM Harper is proposing are treatment for addicts, and deterrant of new users with education.
I also agree that there needs to be adequate treatment facilities for all who want to quit their addictions to drugs, but the current methods are insufficient for many types of addicts. For one thing, some addicts inly need to stop for a short time in order to get their tolerance down, but almost none of the treatment centres offers that option - "commit to quitting forever or don't bother coming here" is their attitude. That does not work for people with chronic pain or other chronic health problems who are on morphine but simply want to reduce their tolerance so they will not need to take such large doses that they go to the street supply to augment their prescriptions.
As for educational deterrant, there needs to be more than the blunt-headed "just say no" gab. Young people need to understand that certain drugs are just wrong to use for recreational purposes. It is not fun to take heroin - we should be seeing heroin as medicine. The War on Drugs will never agree to that, despite the fact that the poppy plant's medicine is used as basic medical therapy. Only the opiate drugs are physically addictive, and many of those addictions could be avoided if heroin was not used recreationally. It is in a different category. The "pleasure and habitual addiction" to cocaine and marijuana should be seen as the very different kind of addiction that they are, as compared to heroin. Educational programs like the ones Harper is proposing will not teach this difference.
Rather than "just saying no" to marijuana and cocaine, youth should be taught that our brain will begin to crave a continuous supply of these drugs if we take them too often. We should be teaching our sons and daughters, and students in schools, that it is okay to satisfy their curiosity about cocaine and marijuana, but not to go so far as to alter their brain's chemistry so much that they cannot be happy without it.
How about a new slogan for cocaine and marijuana, such as: "Too often, too much - don't change your Brain".
Getting back to the gang situation -
In order to reduce the gun crime and violence, and organised crime involvement in the drug trade, the three main "plant-based medicines" should be legalised, regulated, taxed, and sold for something much closer to the price it costs to produce them. That way, the gangs will lose their motivation to risk such drastic actions as gun crimes over trafficing territory. Gangs need illegal drugs in order to thrive. All forms of tyranny have allways needed an advantage of some sort, from slavery to illegal drugs or religious fearmongering in order to keep their power and control over the masses. Gangs have illegal drugs, and that could be taken away from them with a few words from the pen of the lawmakers.
Many other people commenting on this issue have suggested ending prohibition. There was a strong movement in this direction in Canada10 years ago, and marijuana prohibition was almost ended then. It is believed that the pressure from American political powers stopped that from happening here in Canada. If democracy was actually alive and well, prohibition of drugs would have ended by now. We have had it with the War on Drugs and the gangs that use illegal drugs to provide themselves with a lucrative revenue stream. We do not care that the CIA also uses this revenue stream in order to keep doing what they do.
Although I do want shooters and violent gang members to be locked up, I have to wonder if they are not also victims. Are we targetting our sons and daughters who got involved with gangs because of prohibition laws? Isn't it a fact that once addicted, the only way for most people to get an adequate supply of the drug is to commit crime? Selling drugs, or working for a drug trafficing gang, provides both income and easy access to the drugs. If prohibition were ended, and the drugs costss much less than current street prices, addicts could simply work normal jobs and pay for their drugs that way. Also, people often become prostitutes because of their addiction to illegal drugs, as a way to pay for their supply of drugs, and ending prohibition of drugs could also free many of those women and men who only work as prostitutes because drugs cost so much.
In conclusion, the new strategy is the same as the old strategy. It won't change anything; it won't stop the public shootings. It is high time that the prohibition laws against plant-based drugs were repealed. Prohibition only serves to empower organised crime. The government could use the tax revenue that would come from the regulated sales of these drugs. We are now a mature society, and we can learn to handle the responsibility of choosing what drugs we take, and we have a basic human right to be have access to plant-based medicines. Prohibition does not allow a realistic educational program where we could learn that some drugs are best used as medicine only, and in moderation - "Just Saying No" has not worked out so well, there is still a steady stream of new users of illegal drugs.