EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 20, 2012

Letter: Republicans should end the war on drugs

To the editor:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, columnist Charles Krauthammer and others have suggested changes that they believe will lead to GOP victories in the future. I have one, too.

Stop the war on drugs. It has targeted black people and those in poverty, has made it harder for those convicted to find jobs once convicted of drug-related offenses, and has encouraged single-mother families without even a chance of receiving alimony.

The stereotype of a drug user is a black man. Here is some New York University information about the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisks.

In 2003, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 160,851 times:

140,442 were totally innocent (87 percent).

77,704 were black (54 percent).

44,581 were Latino (31 percent).

17623 were white (12 percent).

83,499 were aged 14-24 (55 percent).

The number of stop-and-frisks increased. The attention to whites has decreased; the attention to minorities has increased. The accuracy has decreased.

In 2011, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 685,724 times:

605,328 were totally innocent (88 percent).

350,743 were black (53 percent).

223,740 were Latino (34 percent).

61,805 were white (9 percent).

341,581 were aged 14-24 (51 percent).

Comparing these two years, we see that the profiling (guessing) about whom should be stopped worsened from 13 percent correct to 12 percent correct. Blacks represented 54 percent of the stop-and-frisks before, down to 53 percent now. Latinos went up from 31 percent to 34 percent. Whites are being chosen for fewer, down from 12 percent to 9 percent.

The GOP would have a competitive advantage among the minority groups with a change in perspective on the war on drugs. The issue of legalization needs to stop being seen as the movement of drug addicts and college kids looking for a good time. It is a civil rights issue, and it is damaging our country. More and more people are being put on prison welfare. The prison population is heavily skewed against minorities. About 35 percent of the jailed and imprisoned population is black, even though they make up only about 12.5 percent of the entire population. And what do you know? The poverty rate for blacks is also 35 percent.

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