Wed 2/13 6:30PM
“We had fed the heart on fantasies, the heart’s grown brutal from the fare…”
–William Butler Yeats
Peter Christ, a 66-year-old retired police captain from Tonawanda, NY, is the co-founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and he’s bringing his message of drug policy sanity to Cleveland as part of his ongoing effort to counterpoise the insane drug war rhetoric we still often hear too much of.
These messages come spewing forth, out of the mouths of those reactionaries and protectors of the status quo who would have us continue to harm our fellow citizens so they might make a profit off of the created misery of incarceration … and other forms of punishment meted out to those caught up in the maw of a criminal justice system grown brutal beyond belief in regards to the consensual “crimes” of what we put into our bodies.
Christ will speak his truth to power at a free event at Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave., on Wed 2/13 at 6:30 pm. Get the details on his visit to Cleveland by clicking here.
For 25 years Christ, along with a group of other law enforcement officers, has been spreading the gospel of commonsense in regards to our failed so-called “War on Drugs” — which, as any reasoning person has to admit, is really a war on people, and a failed one at that.
Prices for substances we’ve declared illegal are falling — and have been for decades — due to them being more readily available, not less. If there was a scarcity, prices would climb … simple supply and demand. This only serves to prove this is a “war” that can’t be “won” utilizing current methods — some changes must be made and indeed, are already occurring, in smarter states like Colorado and Washington. They’ve created tax revenue streams, instead of tax-taking, nonsensical, enforcement schemes.
He knows (and is willing to say) what many others in law enforcement won’t: Lifting the prohibition against drugs and regulating them will result in less people dying in the streets — in America, and cities the world-over — due to drug-related killings … which, today, is the root cause of most of the deaths in inner-city neighborhoods in places like Chicago, Detroit, and yes, Cleveland.
Outlawing a commodity only creates outlaws, as it did during Prohibition, which gave us the likes of Al Capone; this really isn’t all that complicated, is it folks?
However, there are powerful forces and institutions in place — the DEA and other law enforcement, the criminal court system in America, and the prison/industrial complex — where adherents of these failed policies all make a living (and a handsome one at that) by perpetuating this un-winnable war. Like much of government, their efforts are not designed to put themselves out of business by solving the problem at hand, but to constantly increase their budgets and influence. It’s called “mission creep” and this has gone unchecked in America for decades now.
Peter Christ is an exceptionally knowledgeable, engaging, funny and passionately persuasive anti-drug warrior I had the great pleasure (and grandest time I’ve had in years) of interviewing the other day; we were just chattering away like we’ve known each other forever … and in a metaphysical sense I guess we have; we’re on the same side — in the same foxhole — in this battle we know we cannot afford to lose.
The future health and well-being of our nation depends, in part, on our bringing the citizenry to its collective sense in regards to our failed drug policies … which have, and continues, to act as drains on our national treasure. Ignorance, stupidity, mendacity, fear-mongering, and duplicitous disingenuousness are indeed all very expensive … but somewhat par for the course in these debates.
But that is changing.
This is a man who possesses the unique ability to distill down all of the arguments for his positions into short, concise nuggets of truth that trip off his tongue like so many pearls of wisdom. Listening to him hold forth and you quickly conclude … it’s exceptionally hard (indeed, impossible) to trump the logic of Christ’s years of experience.
From time to time things lines up in the universe … they come together in a harmonious fashion so that which once was difficult becomes easier; maybe not quite a fait accompli, but certainly more doable. I think we’re on the cusp of one of those periods in America — a period in which change can be brought about in many progressive areas of concern, but especially in regards to the formerly third-rail issue of formulating saner drug policies. It’s time for us to get off the couch, strap our nuts on, and get busy.
After listening to — and exchanging ideas with — Peter, I firmly believe he is that change-agent … that being sent from wherever such wise men come from to show us the way out of the wilderness of our own ignorance on this nettlesome and costly drug prohibition issue.
We all need to be — right now — gearing up to get an issue on the ballot in Ohio in 2014. I fully realize we’re, in large part, a southern state which just happens to be located north of the Mason-Dixon line, but we don’t have to continue to emulate those pockets of backwardness so commonly found in the solidly red regions of the bottom third of the country. We can do this; we can make positive changes for the good of Ohio, and indeed the nation.
But judge for yourself: Click on the link here to see and hear the master messenger Peter Christ … and then show up to support him at Case Western on the 13th. See you there.
From Cool Cleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available again in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author by visiting http://www.neighborhoodsolutionsinc.com.