Letter to President Trump on Street Violence and Drug Policy Reform, Michael Redman, 2017 March 1
Dear Mr. Trump,
Thank you again for stepping up to lead.
The street violence in Chicago hasn't just gotten your attention in Washington, from time to time it even makes the Dutch news I read on the Internet.
If America is serious about quelling street violence it will take the money and incentive out of street violence by ending the failed "war on drugs". The flow of drug money gives street criminals and gangs both something of value of war over, and money for weapons. Just days ago I heard a cop on TV saying drug money was fueling the purchase of illegal guns. Although poverty and desperation go hand-in-hand with violence in any legal environment, by incentivizing and financing violence the "war on drugs" has made a gasoline fire out of what would otherwise have been slowly smoldering coals.
America's experience with the prohibition of alcohol is a 100% on-point precedent for what it is experiencing with street crime during the long era of the failed "war on drugs". When booze was illegal and smuggled, it was also fought over and a source of violent crime and corruption of the rule of law. How many people are killed or cops bribed in the manufacture and distribution of beer today?
Likewise Netherlands has been proving since before I was born that the sky does not fall if a society lets its people smoke weed.
Despite generations of failed policy America is stubbornly clinging to drug prohibition only because that policy is more consistent with its traditional values, not because it is more rational or less destructive than legalization.
Mr. President, I know you are better than this. No one survives in business stubbornly clinging to losing strategies and bad deals. In your long and successful career you must have seen many examples of when it is time to cut losses. I know you have to be able to say "You're fired!" to ideas and policies, not just people. You are uniquely qualified to fix the broken psychology of American politics that seems to think, "if a policy doesn't work, do even more of it".
Just as you have recognized the mistake of 70 years of bad trade policy and committed to lead America forward, I hope you will likewise recognize the mistake of generations of bad drug policy and commit also in that context to lead America forward out of the abject disaster that has been drug prohibition.
GOD bless and be with you sir.