Many still don't un­der­stand the drug prob­lem

The Freeman - - OPINION -

Lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties have fi­nally agreed to stop the shame cam­paign against drug sus­pects, which some lo­cal of­fi­cials tried test­ing in a few places. The cam­paign first in­volved the post­ing of no­tices on houses that in­di­cated them as dwellings of drugs sus­pects. Later it was mod­i­fied by post­ing no­tices on houses that de­scribed them as drug-free.

The rea­son for the can­cel­la­tion of the cam­paign was that it tended to vi­o­late the rights of peo­ple. While there is no dis­pute that the rights of peo­ple were clearly vi­o­lated by the cam­paign, hu­man rights shouldn't have been made the sole mea­sure for the ini­tia­tive. Hu­man rights, while con­ced­edly vi­tal in ev­ery un­der­tak­ing, should be treated as a sep­a­rate mea­sure by which ini­tia­tives are weighed.

For ex­am­ple, it is wrong to say that the shame cam­paign had to be stopped be­cause it trans­gressed the rights of peo­ple. To say so ob­scures the many other per­ti­nent rea­sons why the cam­paign was un­ten­able from the be­gin­ning. And when a par­tic­u­lar mat­ter is ob­scured un­nec­es­sar­ily, it de­prives ev­ery­one the chance to fully un­der­stand a prob­lem and ap­pre­ci­ate each and ev­ery po­ten­tial so­lu­tion.

In other words, to say only that the cam­paign was scrapped be­cause of its ten­dency to vi­o­late hu­man rights ef­fec­tively di­ag­noses a dis­ease solely on the ba­sis of one symp­tom to the ex­clu­sion of the many other man­i­fes­ta­tions that in­di­cate a po­ten­tially even greater dis­ease. If that is the at­ti­tude to be adopted in any fu­ture cam­paign, then any and all such fu­ture cam­paigns are doomed to fail.

There is an even more sen­si­ble and prac­ti­cal rea­son, in ad­di­tion to be­ing vi­ola­tive of hu­man rights, why the cam­paign just can­not go on. And it is that a shame cam­paign just does not work on peo­ple zonked on drugs. These peo­ple are gone. They no longer know shame. No shame cam­paign can ever work on those who no longer know what is go­ing on in the world. And those who ini­ti­ated the cam­paign were no bet­ter. They clearly did not know what they were deal­ing with.

And yet things are go­ing to get even worse. A group of lawyers has just gone to the Supreme Court ask­ing it to stop the war on drugs it­self. Ap­par­ently these lawyers also just don't get it. They seem to think that if the drug war is stopped, ev­ery­thing will be­come all hunky-dory again, as if noth­ing hap­pened. Well, there is no go­ing back to wher­ever. This coun­try is so deep into the quag­mire it will be de­voured whole the mo­ment we treat the prob­lem as if it was as dainty as cot­ton candy.

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