The Poverty Trifecta: Despair, Dependency, Drugs

 

I’ll admit that our justice system is discriminatory: it favors those who can afford a viable defense and it disfavors the defiant. I’m no sociologist, but I guarantee that defendants represented by private counsel are more apt to receive leniency than those represented by public defenders. Defendants invested in private counsel are more likely to take the advice of counsel seriously and conduct themselves with humility and contrition throughout the judicial process. This garners leniency. These observations are intuitive and cannot likely be proven or reasonably measured; nonetheless, I’m confident they are true and profound.

Consider the state of the poor communities in urban America. Crime rates in these urban areas are legion, but this is not just an African-American problem. The problems of gangs and drugs go hand-in-hand with welfare dependency and persistent single parenthood, and it’s not hard to find pockets of white or Hispanic citizens where these problems persist. In fact, this is not even an urban problem. These problems are epidemic in many small rural towns (especially in California), on the reservation, and in rural Appalachia. That they are most acute in urban black communities does not mean the issue is fundamentally about race.

When politicians like Rand Paul infer that our justice system is racially rigged and propose decriminalizing drugs as the solution, they are not just providing false affirmation of racial discrimination; they are encouraging a defiance of law likely to result in yet more criminal activity and less leniency from the justice system. This is not productive and hurts those to whom they pander.

The decriminalization of drugs is a vast topic worthy of much consideration. Those who say that drug use is a personal decision without consequences for others are mistaken. Whether or not these consequences can be mitigated with government control and regulation remains to be seen. No doubt drugs are a major problem in our poor communities, but they are neither the only nor the biggest problem. The bigger problems are despair and government dependency. A combination of marriage, opportunity, and a rollback of public benefits — welfare, food stamps, housing, healthcare, etc. – are the only ways to solve these problems. People have to gain the means and motivation to abandon dependency and remove themselves from entrenched poverty and areas with intractable crime.

If they make a mistake and get in trouble with the law once they’re out and independent, perhaps they will be able to afford the best defense and begin to bend the demographic trends that politicians portray falsely as proof of discrimination. Remember, OJ Simpson was an African-American man…but a rich one.

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  1. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Nobody cares about poor white people.

    • #1
  2. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Nice essay. Great points Doug.

    • #2
  3. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Now here’s where you’re off about Rand Paul….just kidding, it’s late.

    • #3
  4. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Per the numbers, it’s Drugs, Droppin’ out, and ‘Dultery.  Avoid those.  (Close as I can get to illegitimacy with a “D”).

    • #4
  5. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    I am not in favor of legalizing drugs.  That said, this is the most powerful argument I have heard for that legalization.  This guy is a treasure.

    http://www.cato.org/multimedia/daily-podcast/lets-end-war-drugs

    • #5
  6. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    I just posted to the facebook group a photo with the following caption:

    A married couple in Florida, Tito and Amanda Watts, were arrested a few days ago for selling “golden tickets to heaven” to hundreds of people.

    They sold the tickets on the street for $99.99 per ticket, told buyers the tickets were made from solid gold, and that each ticket reserved the buyer a spot in heaven — simply present the ticket at the pearly gates and you’re in.

    Tito Watts said in his police statement: “I don’t care what the police say. The tickets are solid gold… And it was Jesus who give them to me behind the KFC and said to sell them so I could get me some money to go to outer space. I met an alien named Stevie who said if I got the cash together he’d take me and my wife on his flying saucer to his planet that’s made entirely of drugs. You should arrest Jesus because he’s the one that gave me the golden tickets and said to sell them. I’m willing to wear a wire and set Jesus up….”

    Amanda Watts said in her police statement:” “We just wanted to leave earth and go to space and do drugs. I didn’t do nothing. Tito sold the golden tickets to heaven. I just watched.”

    Police said they confiscated over $10,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia, and a baby alligator.

    I’m just as speechless posting it here. But, sure, lets legalize drugs.

    • #6
  7. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The King Prawn:I just posted to the facebook group a photo with the following caption:

    A married couple in Florida, Tito and Amanda Watts, were arrested a few days ago for selling “golden tickets to heaven” to hundreds of people.

    They sold the ti

    Tito Watts said in his police statement: “I don’t care what the police say. The tickets are solid gold… And it was Jesus who give them to me behind the KFC and said to sell them so I could get me some money to go to outer space. I met an alien named Stevie who said if I got the cash together he’d take me and my wife on his flying saucer to his planet that’s made entirely of drugs. You should arrest Jesus because he’s the one that gave me the golden tickets and said to sell them. I’m willing to wear a wire and set Jesus up….”

    Amanda Watts said in her police statement:” “We just wanted to leave earth and go to space and do drugs. I didn’t do nothing. Tito sold the golden tickets to heaven. I just watched.”

    Police said they confiscated over $10,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia, and a baby alligator.

    I’m just as speechless posting it here. But, sure, lets legalize drugs.

    I love the baby alligator part.  Where does that come in?

    • #7
  8. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Great essay.

    Despair is usually provoked by a sense of abandonment, isolation, of being alone in a hostile environment. Drugs offer an escape from the feeling. Gangs offer an alternative to that feeling. But drugs and gangs are symptoms, they’re not the disease, i.e., the disease is despair; a lack of connectedness. That sense of connectedness is crucial for a society.

    What was the killing statistic of the Obama-Romney campaign? Romney won on almost every major issue, but he lost (by dozens of points) on the question: “cares about people like me.” I’d say that despair is a driving motivator, not only in politics, but life also. That’s also why (my pet opinion) that Pope Francis is a huge hit. People sense that he cares about them. That’s all it takes. A little bit of compassion, and that trumps a ton of ideas.

    Why don’t people care about the church? I say it’s because they don’t sense that the church cares about them. I’ve argued for a long time that religion has to be personal. It has to be face-to-face. It can’t be mass-media’ed or impersonal. The same goes for politics. Obama didn’t win because his ads were better. The ads were a wash. Instead, the “get out the vote” effort made it personal.

    Society has to be built one relationship at a time. The presence of Big Government and Big Media (Big Fill-in-the-blank) seem to take all of the humanity out of life. Maybe playing that Big game is what’s killing us.

    Gotta say, Doug, you’ve got me pumped up now.

    • #8
  9. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    KC Mulville:Despair is usually provoked by a sense of abandonment, isolation, of being alone in a hostile environment.

    Or purposelessness.

    Even when you’re not alone or abandoned, not having a good answer to the question, “What can I do next to help myself and my loved ones?” can be tough. Even those imbued with a strong sense of moral purpose from an early age can founder when discerning a practical way forward is difficult. (Think of a concert pianist who has an accident. One hand is crushed, and the surgeons heroically save rather than amputate his hand. The problem, though, is that nobody knows whether his crushed hand will ever recover, or by how much. Now, it’s a good thing his hand is saved, and he should be grateful. But in terms of decisionmaking, he’s now placed in an even tougher position than if his crushed hand had simply been amputated, because at least the complete absence of a hand is a clear signal to work with.)

    Even if you feel cared for, facing perverse incentives that mess with the feedback you need to plan for a better life must be tough. “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t” is pretty much a recipe for despair.

    I agree the personal touch is necessary, but it by itself is not enough to overcome despair. One might even say that caring for people by showering them with perverse incentives is the kind of abusive care that causes despair.

    • #9
  10. Sheila S. Inactive
    Sheila S.
    @SheilaS

    I agree completely. Wasn’t it Jonah on a recent GLoP podcast pointing out the disparate impact of fines and bail on the poor? Taking the focus off race and putting it where it belongs is something that needs to be done. I’ve been glad to see more and more discussion of these issues among conservatives.

    • #10
  11. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Sheila S.:I agree completely. Wasn’t it Jonah on a recent GLoP podcast pointing out the disparate impact of fines and bail on the poor? Taking the focus off race and putting it where it belongs is something that needs to be done. I’ve been glad to see more and more discussion of these issues among conservatives.

    While I sympathized with that point (and it was agreed by all 3 on GLoP), I don’t think it really says much.  Everything that involves money discriminates against the poor.  Literally the only solution is to make everyone poor or make everyone rich.  That’s not much of a solution, if you ask me.

    • #11
  12. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I got a golden ticket.

    • #12
  13. Sheila S. Inactive
    Sheila S.
    @SheilaS

    Ryan M:

    Sheila S.:I agree completely. Wasn’t it Jonah on a recent GLoP podcast pointing out the disparate impact of fines and bail on the poor? Taking the focus off race and putting it where it belongs is something that needs to be done. I’ve been glad to see more and more discussion of these issues among conservatives.

    While I sympathized with that point (and it was agreed by all 3 on GLoP), I don’t think it really says much. Everything that involves money discriminates against the poor. Literally the only solution is to make everyone poor or make everyone rich. That’s not much of a solution, if you ask me.

    No, it’s not much of a solution. Perhaps making bail, fines and the like to be more proportionate in some way. Maybe a fine, for example, being the equivalent of one month’s income or some set minimum (to account for the unemployed or those earning unreported income.) It’s still a disparate impact in many cases, but less so. I don’t know of a perfect solution, but there must be some way of doing things better than the current system.

    • #13
  14. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    DocJay:I got a golden ticket.

    Is that like having a “special purpose”?

    • #14
  15. user_216080 Thatcher
    user_216080
    @DougKimball

    The King Prawn

    I just posted to the facebook group a photo with the following caption:

    A married couple in Florida, Tito and Amanda Watts, were arrested a few days ago for selling “golden tickets to heaven” to hundreds of people.

    They sold the tickets on the street for $99.99 per ticket, told buyers the tickets were made from solid gold, and that each ticket reserved the buyer a spot in heaven — simply present the ticket at the pearly gates and you’re in.

    Tito Watts said in his police statement: “I don’t care what the police say. The tickets are solid gold… And it was Jesus who give them to me behind the KFC and said to sell them so I could get me some money to go to outer space. I met an alien named Stevie who said if I got the cash together he’d take me and my wife on his flying saucer to his planet that’s made entirely of drugs. You should arrest Jesus because he’s the one that gave me the golden tickets and said to sell them. I’m willing to wear a wire and set Jesus up….”

    Amanda Watts said in her police statement:” “We just wanted to leave earth and go to space and do drugs. I didn’t do nothing. Tito sold the golden tickets to heaven. I just watched.”

    Police said they confiscated over $10,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia, and a baby alligator.

    I’m just as speechless posting it here. But, sure, lets legalize drugs.

    Prawn:

    You made me miss Elmore Leonard.  That sounds like the opening to one of his novels.  RIP

    DK

    • #15
  16. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Does anyone happen to know whether the classic formula for avoiding/escaping poverty – graduate high school, find and do paid work of any kind, don’t have children until you are married – is still true? I’ve heard so many on the right say that 80-90% of people who do these three things will not be poor (heck, I’ve said it myself many times) but I wonder whether anyone has crunched the numbers from, say, the past ten years to find out if it still applies.

    • #16
  17. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    The King Prawn:I just posted to the facebook group a photo with the following caption:

    A married couple in Florida, Tito and Amanda Watts […]

    I’m just as speechless posting it here. But, sure, lets legalize drugs.

    TKP, I know you updated the FB post, but just wanted to point out here too that this is fake.

    • #17
  18. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Charlotte

    The King Prawn:I just posted to the facebook group a photo with the following caption:

    A married couple in Florida, Tito and Amanda Watts […]

    I’m just as speechless posting it here. But, sure, lets legalize drugs.

    TKP, I know you updated the FB post, but just wanted to point out here too that this is fake.

    I assumed it would turn out that way. The mere fact that it is plausible in our society is what makes me cringe the most.

    • #18
  19. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Charlotte:Does anyone happen to know whether the classic formula for avoiding/escaping poverty – graduate high school, find and do paid work of any kind, don’t have children until you are married – is still true? I’ve heard so many on the right say that 80-90% of people who do these three things will not be poor (heck, I’ve said it myself many times) but I wonder whether anyone has crunched the numbers from, say, the past ten years to find out if it still applies.

    I suspect the high school part is now go to college.  High school diplomas are so worthless now that you can not get an interview for a decent job unless you have some college degree.

    • #19
  20. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Sheila S.:

    Ryan M:

    Sheila S.:I agree completely. Wasn’t it Jonah on a recent GLoP podcast pointing out the disparate impact of fines and bail on the poor? Taking the focus off race and putting it where it belongs is something that needs to be done. I’ve been glad to see more and more discussion of these issues among conservatives.

    While I sympathized with that point (and it was agreed by all 3 on GLoP), I don’t think it really says much. Everything that involves money discriminates against the poor. Literally the only solution is to make everyone poor or make everyone rich. That’s not much of a solution, if you ask me.

    No, it’s not much of a solution. Perhaps making bail, fines and the like to be more proportionate in some way. Maybe a fine, for example, being the equivalent of one month’s income or some set minimum (to account for the unemployed or those earning unreported income.) It’s still a disparate impact in many cases, but less so. I don’t know of a perfect solution, but there must be some way of doing things better than the current system.

    Well, I want to say that John (or Jonah) was factually wrong in what he said, too.  In my county, this already exists.  When I plead someone out on anything, I’ll flat-out tell that person that they allow a payment plan, but that there is virtually no consequence for not paying fines.  I suppose the only thing is that, with certain fines, you can get your driver’s license suspended.  But the only way you’ll end up back in jail is if you’re driving without your license.  As far as I’m aware (and it may be different in different states) there is no such thing as a person being in jail for unpaid fines.

    • #20
  21. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Charlotte:

    The King Prawn:I just posted to the facebook group a photo with the following caption:

    A married couple in Florida, Tito and Amanda Watts […]

    I’m just as speechless posting it here. But, sure, lets legalize drugs.

    TKP, I know you updated the FB post, but just wanted to point out here too that this is fake.

    Was it someone on one of the Ricochet podcasts who pointed out that the people who run Snopes also run a company that generates and distributes much of the spam that they discredit?  So, they’ll start these facebook trends and then people go to snopes.com to check if they’re true.  Kind of clever, but kind of annoying.

    • #21
  22. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Ryan M:

    Charlotte:

    The King Prawn:I just posted to the facebook group a photo with the following caption:

    A married couple in Florida, Tito and Amanda Watts […]

    I’m just as speechless posting it here. But, sure, lets legalize drugs.

    TKP, I know you updated the FB post, but just wanted to point out here too that this is fake.

    Was it someone on one of the Ricochet podcasts who pointed out that the people who run Snopes also run a company that generates and distributes much of the spam that they discredit? So, they’ll start these facebook trends and then people go to snopes.com to check if they’re true. Kind of clever, but kind of annoying.

    oh, yes … it was one of those stick-figure cartoons.  In the next frame, the guy says “no, I looked that up on snopes, it’s not true.”

    • #22
  23. Sheila S. Inactive
    Sheila S.
    @SheilaS

    Ryan M:

    Sheila S.:

    No, it’s not much of a solution. Perhaps making bail, fines and the like to be more proportionate in some way. Maybe a fine, for example, being the equivalent of one month’s income or some set minimum (to account for the unemployed or those earning unreported income.) It’s still a disparate impact in many cases, but less so. I don’t know of a perfect solution, but there must be some way of doing things better than the current system.

    Well, I want to say that John (or Jonah) was factually wrong in what he said, too. In my county, this already exists. When I plead someone out on anything, I’ll flat-out tell that person that they allow a payment plan, but that there is virtually no consequence for not paying fines. I suppose the only thing is that, with certain fines, you can get your driver’s license suspended. But the only way you’ll end up back in jail is if you’re driving without your license. As far as I’m aware (and it may be different in different states) there is no such thing as a person being in jail for unpaid fines.

    I readily admit to an ignorance of the way such things are actually administered, and have no idea how things work here in MD. Question, though: Does your county actually have a sliding scale for fines, or do the poor just get to do a payment plan? I understand that functionally there are virtually no consequences for non-payment, but that’s not the same as levying fines proportionally based on income. Also, the loss of a driver’s license is a big deal to a member of the working poor with no job security.

    • #23
  24. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @TempTime

    …..  propose decriminalizing drugs as the solution,

    It’s not as if this reasoning hasn’t worked so well for alcohol and alcoholism.  :-]   I would consider decriminalizing drugs the day laws are  put in place to shield the tax-paying- non-drug using population from having to cover the social, economic, psychological, mental costs of drug users as well  as the cost/negative impact on victims from the user’s conduct: their children and the assaulted store clerks, robbery victims, just to name a few.  On the day when the person who chooses to use drugs is the only person who pays all the costs — which includes treatment in the hospital for drug overdoses —  meaning — no money, no treatment.  (Of course, voluntarily funded charities and family members are allowed to help financially.)  Decisions and actions have outcomes. So long as users/perpetrators are shielded from the true costs of their actions, they will have no incentive to change.

    …personal decision without consequences for others are mistaken

    Anyone who thinks drug use is a decision/behavior without negative consequences  is either joking or not being honest.  Or maybe has not ever used drugs and or known anyone who has.

    ….discriminates against the poor

    For purposes of this discussion could someone provide a working definition of the word “poor”?  I see plenty of people in line at the grocery store with newly done gel nails, talking on iphones, and whose kids are wearing $200 sneakers while they buy beer, steak and chips (no vegies).  They don’t seem “poor” to me.  Even if they are paying for their groceries with food stamps/ebt or whatever.  Or even if they can’t/don’t pay for their own legal costs related their own conduct. Really, why should they when big government will make sure I pay.  I frequently think “I’m involuntarily paying for their lifestyle”.  I wish I could keep some more of my own labor wage for myself, then maybe I would live as well as they do.

    …despair and government dependency. A combination of marriage, opportunity, and a rollback of public benefits — welfare, food stamps, housing, healthcare, etc. – are the only ways to solve these problems. People have to gain the means and motivation to abandon dependency

    So true.  When I was younger, I always  wondered how (at least initially) 12 years of free public education was enough for some people to survive and thrive, to begin their  careers/find a job; but seemingly not enough for others.   By college I thought I had it figured  out. In college I wrote a paper titled “Slavery in the Eighties” —  two chapters.  the first on federal income taxation aka slavery of labor.  The second was on public welfare programs aka slavery of the human will.  The latter being the greater evil.

    Taking the focus off race

    I agree.  I have always wondered if  biases/preference/conduct/”discrimination”  is an issue of race or lifestyle/culture?  I have encountered plenty of people of my skin color whose  life style is so  totally 180  degrees from mine and unacceptable to me; I do not associate with them.  And encountered plenty of persons of a different skin color whose lifestyle is a good match and our association is natural.  I am not sure “issues” such as the one discussed in this essay are today a race issues or a lifestyle/culture issue; I don’t think it’s race, at least not in my bubble.

    …That’s not much of a solution, if you ask me.

    I agree.  I think as crime is an act against the people/laws —  All criminal lawyers should be made to become/practice as  either employees of the State or the Federal government.  Legal representation (defense and prosecution) would be assigned by drawing names from a box, similar to drawing numbers at bingo games.

    It will be the luck of the draw for everyone equally as to quality of representation.  And justice will again be blind.  Potential  positive outcome (unintended of course), fewer lawyers   :-)

    edited by me to correct spelling and incomplete thoughts  :-)  I should not type when I am venting

    • #24
  25. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    KC Mulville: #8 “I’ve argued for a long time that religion has to be personal. It has to be face-to-face.”

    There are a sizable number of people who want to be identified with the famous, including those of a religious persuasion.

    Joel Osteen, John Hagee, and Creflo Dollar appear on my television with some regularity, and I believe that they all buy time on multiple networks or stations.  They are not alone.  I also see others doing the same.

    These people aren’t my cup of tea, but for many of them their congregations are huge, they have wide-spread speaking ministries, and one assumes that the money pours in.  None of them seems impoverished.  They don’t buy their clothes from Harry the Suit Mender.

    I am not sure how these religious movie stars translate on the “face-to-face” kind of personalization but, at least financially, they must be doing something right.

    Perhaps it is the culture.  Perhaps it is the tent meeting practice updated by technology.  Perhaps it is Billy Graham writ large.  But even someone with a prodigious memory won’t recognize but a few of the people who attend them.  Face-to-face has taken on a new meaning.

    • #25
  26. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    I understand your beef, and you’re correct that poor whites are pretty equally disadvantaged compared to poor blacks/hispanics/other ethnically or racially aggrieved minority. However, the proportion of poor blacks/hispanics/etc. compared to the proportion of poor whites relative to the total population in that given subgroup makes this a more relevant issue to racial minorities. In addition, the policies recommended by Paul will fix things for all people, not give some sort of criminal justice affirmative action to racial minorities. I think it’s fine, and probably a good idea, to acknowledge the disparate impact of poverty and crime for racial minorities. It’s just reality.

    • #26
  27. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @TempTime

    Are you saying the proportion of persons within the “racially aggrieved minority” total population have a higher level of illegal drug use than in poor white populations.  Yes/No?  Why? What would account for different levels of illegal drug use?  Is it true?  I would need some numbers.

    Question — who is the other ethnically or racially aggrieved minority?  Who is this person?   What are you thinking/considering when you state they are an aggrieved persons?  Are you saying they are aggrieved due to regulations and or statutes?    I don’t understand, what makes them aggrieved?

    Second, in many cities, Blacks/Hispanics are not the “minority” groups.  In these situations, where whites are the minority, would make you the same assertion that the issues (drug use criminality)  would then be more relevant to whites?

    I don’t mean this comment to seem cantankerous but I have never been able to understand how people come up with these ideas or perceive the situation to be as described regarding the “others”, from the other side of the tracks.  As if somehow people whose skin is something darker then the color of crackers or who are “poor” are incapable of discerning good vs. bad, incapable of making right decisions, unable to say no to temptations, incapable of intelligent judgment, be persons of good character, and persons of integrity.  That they are people who are solely the product of their environments and incapable of independent action/thinking.   Yes, simply because of economics of their lives and or their skin color they are unredeemable and forever sentenced to live ignorant lives unable to become fully self-actualized persons who are contributing members to society.

    Who simply cannot be expected to live up to the standards of, dare I say it, white society?  That is unless the rules, standards, and expectations are lowered/relaxed enough, so that the”less than capable natural status” of the “others” is accommodated.  I think it is insulting and disrespectful to think this way or color the world this way.  It’s arrogant.

    People need respect not false charity/compassion. If you are truly worried — hire better teachers of good virtue and integrity, put the police officers of good character back in the neighborhoods “walking the beat”, end celebration of diversity, stop focusing on what’s different and celebrate/ acknowledge what we have in common.  Stop expecting and accepting less from us then you expect from yourself.  Stop destroying the natural, inherent will of all beings to thrive by ending the government’s destructive, demeaning lifelong welfare programs.  These programs  move the position expressed from arrogant to evil.

    Ever hear of Ben Carson?  Just to name one of many, many thousands — no, probably millions.

    • #27
  28. user_216080 Thatcher
    user_216080
    @DougKimball

    Super Nurse:I understand your beef, and you’re correct that poor whites are pretty equally disadvantaged compared to poor blacks/hispanics/other ethnically or racially aggrieved minority. However, the proportion of poor blacks/hispanics/etc. compared to the proportion of poor whites relative to the total population in that given subgroup makes this a more relevant issue to racial minorities. In addition, the policies recommended by Paul will fix things for all people, not give some sort of criminal justice affirmative action to racial minorities. I think it’s fine, and probably a good idea, to acknowledge the disparate impact of poverty and crime for racial minorities. It’s just reality.

    My take is this.  Reality is no excuse for giving up.  And Paul’s pandering to blacks on the notion that it is all racist is completely wrongheaded.  Compare Atlanta, with its vibrant black population to NO or Detroit.  African Americans can thrive here if they just try.  Instead many choose to remain in crime and drug ridden neighborhoods, unwed, wards of the state, looking for the Paul’s to sweeten the ride on the dependency train and confirm their excuses for indolence.

    • #28
  29. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    happy2b:Are you saying the proportion of persons within the “racially aggrieved minority” total population have a higher level of illegal drug use than in poor white populations. Yes/No? Why? What would account for different levels of illegal drug use? Is it true? I would need some numbers.

    Poverty levels in 2013, US Census Bureau= Whites, non hispanic, approx 9%, blacks and hispanic 25-27% or thereabouts. Yes, people of color are more likely to be poor. They are more likely to be incarcerated for drug possession, and to live in areas, arguably because of poverty, in which drug use is more of a social norm. It is just a fact, not even a hard one to find. Once one has been convicted of drug use or possession, it is that much harder to escape the cycle. What we can do to reduce the criminality of non-violent actions currently codified as criminal, we should. Clearly our criminal justice system related to drugs to this point has not been especially beneficial, and there’s a decent argument that there is harm.

    • #29
  30. Super Nurse Inactive
    Super Nurse
    @SuperNurse

    Doug Kimball:

    My take is this. Reality is no excuse for giving up. And Paul’s pandering to blacks on the notion that it is all racist is completely wrongheaded. Compare Atlanta, with its vibrant black population to NO or Detroit. African Americans can thrive here if they just try. Instead many choose to remain in crime and drug ridden neighborhoods, unwed, wards of the state, looking for the Paul’s to sweeten the ride on the dependency train and confirm their excuses for indolence.

    Here’s the reforms that Paul proposes:

    The REDEEM Act: Creates a judicial process for adults to seal non-violent criminal records on the federal level. It also creates an automatic expungement of records for non-violent juveniles under the age of 15. It mandates the FBI to update their criminal background check system to ensure that employers receive accurate information. States are incentivized to have substantially similar legislation on the state level or risk losing appropriations for law enforcement agencies.

    Justice Safety Valve Act: Judges can depart from mandatory minimum sentencing laws if they find that it is in the best interests of justice to do so. This would increase judicial discretion and allow judges to make individualized determinations about the proper punishment for defendants.

    Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act: If passed, this would restore the voting rights of every non-violent felon in the country. Non-violent felons would be able to vote in federal elections only and states that do not change their laws to reflect this would not receive federal prison funds.

    RESET Act: This bill re-classifies simple possession of controlled substances – very small amounts – as a misdemeanor rather than a low-level felony. It also eliminates the crack-cocaine disparity.

    FAIR Act: This bill ensures that the federal government would have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that seized property was being used for illegal purposes before it’s forfeited. Forfeited assets would be placed in the Treasury’s General Fund instead of the DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture Fund. This shift would remove the profit incentive police officers currently have to seize and forfeit property. The bill would also protect the property rights of citizens by eliminating the ability of state law enforcement to circumvent state asset forfeiture laws and use more lenient federal standards instead.

    Not sure how any of the above serves to “Sweeten the ride on the dependency train” as you put it. There’s nothing about race in there. He certainly refers to the disparate impact on blacks and hispanics when he talks about this stuff, and that’s true, because there is a disproportionate number of blacks and hispanics living in poverty and in drug ridden areas.

    There was a time when crime was a huge concern in this country. We passed tough laws and cracked down, and our crime problem is well under control. Time for the pendulum to swing the other way, and to recognize where we’ve gone overboard. Paul seems to have some good ideas about how to intelligently recognize excesses in the criminal justice system.

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