Our Unending War
Someone finally said it. It was an unspoken truth hiding in plain sight. In a recent interview, former Attorney General Bill Barr stated that we should treat the Mexican Drug cartels “like ISIS.” And he is absolutely correct. The Mexican drug cartels are one of the biggest threats to this country. They are killers. Their business model is to create as many addicts as possible. And addiction destroys lives, destroys families, destroys communities, destroys countries, and eventually kills the addict.
The cartels are living off the death and destruction of Americans. Over 100,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, many of them under the age of 18. Supplying a drug addict a lethal dose fentanyl or heroin is tantamount to murder. There’s no two ways around it. Drug dealers are exploiting another person’s serious medical condition, knowingly putting them at risk of their lives for their own profit. Three days after Barr’s statement, former President Donald Trump said that we should institute the “death penalty sentence for drug dealers.” He went onto say, “you execute a drug dealer and you’ll save 500 lives, because they kill, on average, 500 people.”
But there has been a lot of talk these days about decriminalizing drugs because it supposedly is a “non-violent” offense, but that should only extend to the drug user, the addict. We should never decriminalize the sale of drugs. In fact, we should increase the penalties to life imprisonment, or even death for the drug dealers, the drug smugglers and the cartels as Donald Trump has advocated. The drug addicts are the victims of our drug crisis. They are the only non-violent drug offender in the entire equation. The drug dealer is violent whether he uses a gun or not. Knowingly selling the drug addict, the drugs that kills him is a violent act. If you sold a gun to a person who you knew had suicidal or homicidal tendencies, and he kills himself or other people, you would have aided and abetted a homicide. It’s very similar with drug overdoses.
If ISIS was smuggling anthrax into our country, and it was killing 275 people every day, how soon would our federal government shut that down? How quickly would we identify where the anthrax was coming from and take the people who were producing it out? Would it take a week? 72 hours? 48 hours? Pretty damn quick, and everyone involved would be killed or jailed for the rest of their lives. Yet we allow the drug cartels to smuggle tons of deadly drugs into this country that kills 2,000 Americans every week.
Within 24 hours after 9/11, we knew that the Taliban had been giving the hijackers a safe haven in Afghanistan, and within a month we were unleashing an all-out invasion of that country. We didn’t sit back and allow these terrorists to come here, kill 3,000 Americans, and get away with it. Why are we allowing the drug cartels to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans every year?
Enough fentanyl to kill 140 million people was seized on America's Southern border in the month of June alone. This is not simply a crisis, this as an all-out assault on America that must be dealt with, and the most appropriate way to treat these drug cartels like the terrorists they are. Why don’t we shoot a hell-fire missile into the middle of the compounds of these drug cartels, or carpet-bomb the poppy fields in Afghanistan or Mexico? If this is really a “war on drugs”, why are we not fighting it like a war? If you don’t fight a war like a war, you end up losing the war, like we did in Vietnam.
Some will argue that the drug user is choosing to use the drugs that kills him. Drugs is not about free choice and bodily autonomy because addiction does not allow for free choice or bodily autonomy. Once the addiction gets its claws into the addict, the addiction is making the decisions. That’s the mechanism that drug dealers create and exploit. The drug dealers’ goal is to create as many addicts as possible. That is their business model, the best way for them to create recurring customers. They target kids under the age of 18 with the sole purpose of getting them addicted, and they have them as customers for life, or until the drugs end their lives. The vast majority of addicts started using drugs when they are still underage, that’s when they are most susceptible to addiction that kills them.
The drug dealers give these young and vulnerable people drugs for free or very inexpensively, and when the addiction kicks in, the dealer is in control because the drugs are in control. If a 30-year-old man seduced a 15-year-old girl into having sex, he would be thrown in jail for statutory rape because she is underage, but if the same 30-year-old man convinced the same 15-year-old girl to start using drugs which lead to her addiction and eventually overdose, we say it was her choice to start using drugs.
The drug trade is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the laundering of that money back onto our country stimulates our economy, so the government has an incentive to turn a blind eye to the drug crisis in America. If our government and our law enforcement refuse to take the steps necessary to prevent this scourge of drugs, we must police ourselves. We must do a better job of stopping this before it gets started in our own communities, and our own homes. We must stop believing the lies that marijuana is not a gateway drug, or there are some harmless street drugs, and drug dealer is a “non-violent” offense. They are all lies told by those benefitting from the drug trade to create the addiction they exploit for their own profit and is killing too many Americans every year.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.