Frosty Wooldridge

CONNECTING THE DOTS

More About: Drug War

War on Drugs: Modern Day Jim Crow-Slavery

 
Puzzlement; who is 'winning' the so-called "war-on-drugs ?"
 

This fifth in a series of articles pertaining to the "War on Drugs" illustrates a huge disconnect from our government toward average citizens.

To write this piece, I interviewed my brother, 18 year veteran police officer and detective, Howard Wooldridge (retired), now with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, www.leap.cc, stationed in Washington, DC.

"One hundred and forty two years ago lawmakers amended the United States Constitution to eliminate slavery and give full citizenship to the freed slaves," Officer Wooldridge said.  "How well has 'freedom' worked for the descendants of slaves?  Certainly there has been tremendous progress in the past several decades.  Record numbers of African-Americans hold elected offices and important positions in government.

"Just as certain, millions of blacks have been put in chains, lost their votes, even had their children taken away from them.   Black neighborhoods are too often plagued with violence, crime and despair.  For over 100 years Jim Crow kept the black population from enjoying citizenship.   In the past 36 years the 'War on Drugs' has devastated African-Americans nearly as much as Jim Crow."
 
 
By the late 1960s Jim Crow laws of the South disappeared.
 
 

The KKK's power to intimidate blacks and local politicians vanished like a raindrop in the Sahara Desert.  With the Voting Rights Act of 1965, millions of blacks voted for the first time. African-Americans made progress economically, educationally, spiritually and politically.  The Old South would never be the same, or at least it seemed that would happen.  The future appeared bright.

"Then, President Nixon launched a 'War on Drugs' in 1971," Officer Howard Wooldridge said.  "He committed the United States to a 'drug-free' America, established the Drug Enforcement Administration and poured money into law enforcement to stop this 'scourge.'  President Reagan continued this battle cry of a 'drug-free' America and added mandatory minimums to those possessing or selling drugs.  

We 'public-service troops' in law enforcement knew it to be a "War on People" – mostly People of Color.   Whether by design, ignorance or lack of research, the New Prohibition policy has been nothing short of devastating to people of color – black Americans in particular.
 
Blatant discrimination; blacks are the losers
 

"Due to racial profiling and the nature by which blacks sell drugs openly on the streets, they are incarcerated at a ratio of about eight to one over white drug dealers.  As they are more visible to buyers, so are they more obvious to others who want the dealer's money, drugs and selling turf.  Thus, everyone buys weapons to protect themselves or to rob and kill the dealers.  

"Black neighborhoods have been for decades plagued by gunfire and death.  Minor disputes escalate into deadly force being employed.  The quality of life in a black neighborhood, never that prosperous, has been dramatically lowered due to another, unintended consequence of drug prohibition."
 
Life has been cheapened by the decades of violent deaths.
 

A recent drive-by shooting in Washington DC resulted in seven people hit by bullets as everyone ducked for cover.  Because it happened that the victims were black, the local paper buried it on page 17.  Since the policy of the drug war gives a job option to a million teens, thousands have been shot and killed.  However, no one outside the victim's family raises an eyebrow when a 15 year old dies on the street corner.  We no longer react to the horror of a violent death at such a young age, especially when the victim is black.

"Homeowners put iron bars across all the windows, trying to stop thieves," Officer Wooldridge said.  "Every year dozens of black children die in house fires, unable to get out.  These young, innocent victims never saw another birthday because of drug prohibition.  You may not count them as drug war victims – but I do.
 
Political solution has become more difficult
 
"A political solution has become more difficult, as a convicted felon cannot vote while in prison, and in many states will never be able to vote again.  The felons have become less than a full citizen.  Slaves were once considered to be three-fifths of a person for population purposes.
 
 
Perversely, black prisoners now are coveted by rural areas which are losing population.  Why?   Prisoners count towards the population of the county, even as they cannot vote.  Thus rural areas have more representation than justified.  Examples abound. 
 
"Legislators in Upstate New York are fighting changes to drug sentencing laws because it would reduce their regional voting power.  They need the prisoners to count as residents.
 
On horseback, Howard Wooldridge and "Misty" crossed the USA
 

"As I rode my horse thru New York in 2005 on my way from Los Angeles to the Big Apple, I learned that 93 percent of the States' prisoners (on drug offenses) were black or brown.  This despite every survey showing that people-of-color neither use nor sell more than their percentage of the population.  Did politicians ask – or did they want to remain ignorant of what race would be butchered with a 100:1 disparity in sentences for crack vs. powder cocaine?  Either way, 20 years later they are still allowing a 70:1 ratio."

Please, gentle readers – read the previous paragraph again, slowly.

In the 1990s pregnant, black South Carolina women were singled out to be drug-tested.  When tested positive, they suffered arrest after the birth of their child.  Authorities took the child away.  This ended when the Supreme Court stepped in to stop this baby-snatching.

"Where slave-owners or the KKK used to cause so much pain, suffering and death now it is the effects of the New Prohibition," Officer Howard Wooldridge said.  "When will we become as wise as our grandparents – and end this most dysfunctional, devastating, immoral policy since slavery?"
 
Follow-the-money; Frosty Wooldridge continues this sordid story
 
As you can imagine, my brother Howard tells me the inside stories facing Americans concerning the "War on Drugs."
 
 Because the DEA enjoys $70 billion annually in paychecks, everyone involved wants the "War on Drugs" to continue.  The department exists – to exist.  It's like a plane being held in a circular pattern around an airport, but never allowed to land.  It burns up fuel, wastes time and accomplishes nothing!
 
ONE TRILLION U.S. GREENBACKS – for what ?
 

However, you, the American taxpayer forked over $1 trillion in the past 35 years with zero results!

Today, my brother Howard Wooldridge (the personification of a balanced cop) heads up a task force in Washington, DC to educate and enlighten congressmen at the highest levels.  He works for a better future for all Americans.  He can be reached at: Education Specialist, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), www.leap.cc, Washington, DC.  Wearing his trademark white-Stetson cowboy-hat, he speaks at colleges, political clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs across America.  He captivates audiences at political conferences in Washington and scores of cities across the USA.  wooldridge@leap.cc

So, what the heck is LEAP ?  Once you get the message and think about the big picture – you will realize that 50 percent of our expensive incarceration facilities are occupied by addicts.
THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY !
The mission of LEAP is to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful consequences resulting from fighting the 'war on drugs' – and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition.
 
"Envision a nation where crime is cut in half, terrorists don't make money selling drugs and kids are not employed in the drug trade," Howard Wooldridge said. "Envision a nation where the police focus on DUI, child predators and terrorists.Imagine a nation where – If you have a drug problem – you see a physician, not a judge.All are possible, when we find the courage to end our dysfunctional Prohibition."
 

Contact my brother, Howard Wooldridge, and invite him to come and speak to your local groups.  Together, we can turn the herd and make life better for millions.

© 2007 Frosty Wooldridge - All Rights Reserved

 

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