The War On (Some) Drugs Has Killed More Mexicans Than Fast & Furious

America's Drug War has caused more problems for Mexico than Fast & Furious ever will.

Conor Friedersdorf makes an excellent point:

Before Fast and Furious, I never recall the conservative movement giving much thought to dead Mexicans. But now that the body count can be attributed to a bureaucracy run by Democrats?

The right is invoking the tragic deaths of foreigners with great frequency.

Said Texas Governor Rick Perry, “We’ve had over 300 Mexican nationals killed directly attributable to this Fast and Furious operation, where they brought those guns into Mexico. A former Marine and a Border Patrol agent by the name of Brian Terry lost his life. With Watergate you had a second-rate burglary.”

Mark Steyn brought up the body count while complaining about the liberal reaction to the investigation. “Insofar as they know anything about Fast and Furious, it’s something to do with the government tracking the guns of fellows like those Alabama ‘Segregation Forever’ nuts, rather than a means by which hundreds of innocent Rigoberta Menchús south of the border were gunned down with weapons sold to their killers by liberal policymakers of the Obama administration,” he wrote.

(…)

Since the 2006 crackdown on cartels that the United States urged on, between 35,000 and 40,000 people have been killed by drug violence in Mexico alone. The drug cartels are powerful enough to cause that kind of carnage only because Americans keep buying their drugs, even as U.S. politicians and voters back domestic policies such that all narcotics transactions take place on a black market that inevitably empowers murderous criminals. It’s an unintended consequence, to be sure, but after all these decades is that really an excuse anymore?

We all know that prohibition fuels violence.

When the prohibitionist worries that legalizing drugs would increase drug use and addiction, that U.S. productivity might fall, and that it would send a bad moral signal, their argument is effectively, “The harm legalization might do is worse than tens of thousands of foreigners dying, worse than decades-long wars with cartels, worse than whole regions being destabilized.”

It’s a very easy calculation to make when the dead people are mostly far away, in foreign countries or in bad neighborhoods you don’t pass through.

Conor’s argument is spot-on, of course. In fact, it’s worth noting that the very gun running that Fast & Furious was, ineptly, designed to monitor is directly attributable to that same crackdown on Mexican drug gangs and, ultimately, to the fact that there are millions of Americans who continue to want to purchase things like marijuana and cocaine despite the fact that its illegal, or maybe even because of it.

This has happened before, of course. We all know the story of alcohol Prohibition and how a decade of alcohol prohibition helped organized crime, mostly dominated at the time by Sicilians and other Italian immigrants, gain a massive foothold in the United States thanks to the huge amounts of cash that they were able to make by the illegal importation, manufacture, and sale of alcoholic beverages. With that money, they were able to bribe politicians and gain influence that lasted long after our insane experiment was repealed in 1933 with the ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment.

Sadly, though, we have not learned the lessons of history very well and it still doesn’t seem to occur to those in power, or indeed many Americans, that it is drug prohibition that is responsible for the violence and corruption we associate with drugs, and indeed that prohibition itself has led to the development of stronger, more easy to transport, drugs such as crack cocaine. The only significant difference with the Drug War is that most of the worst effects end up getting felt in foreign countries like Mexico where the cash generated by illegal drug sales in the United States goes a very, very long way and the drug lords become very powerful men with their own private armies. Colombia has only recently broken the back of some its worst drug lords, and that has occurred at a tremendous cost, what will it take for Mexico to do the same? More importantly, how can we possibly deceive ourselves into thinking that the violence on the other side of our Southern border, generated as it is by our own citizens, isn’t going to have an impact on us at some point, and that it isn’t , to some degree , at least partly our responsibility?

Many on the right who have continue to demand answers in the Fast & Furious matter bring up the fact that the weapons which the Phoenix office of the ATF irresponsibly let walk across the border have likely resulted in the deaths of countless Mexican citizens. This is certainly something we should be concerned about, and one of the reasons that the American people are owned a full account of what happened in this matter, why the policy was implemented in the first place, and what has been done to make sure it won’t happen again. However, if you’re really concerned about all that violence in Mexico, then you need to take a look at our own failed Drug Policies, because that’s where the root cause of all of it lies.

So I applaud conservatives for being concerned about the impact of a bad law enforcement operation on the people of Mexico. Now, I encourage them to show some concern for the impact of our own failed Drug War on those same Mexicans.

Photo: A member of the  Mexican Army watches the incineration of fourteen tons of drugs in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on December 2, 2008. (J. Guadalupe PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Crime, Latin America, Law and the Courts, US Politics, World Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. John Peabody says:

    Well said.

  2. Chad S says:

    Im sure absolutely no mexicans will get killed if we stop fighting the drug war. /sarcasm

  3. al-Ameda says:

    So I applaud conservatives for being concerned about the impact of a bad law enforcement operation on the people of Mexico. Now, I encourage them to show some concern for the impact of our own failed Drug War on those same Mexicans.

    It took us a while to recognize that Prohibition was a colossal failure that enriched many and caused criminal violence. Why can’t we – Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians – agree that the War on Drugs is a similar colossal failure?

    We should only criminalize that drug activity that causes harm – like DUI or drug usage that causes harm to individuals or to the public at large. Perhaps it is too much to ask right now.

  4. Rob in CT says:

    Yes, this is the context for F&F (and Wide Receiver before it). The whole drug war is insane, and terribly harmful, like the original prohibition.

    If the F&F thing helps change some minds about the Wo(s)D, great. But it seems to me that public opinion doesn’t correlate all that well with drug policy. At the very least, there is significant lag time.

    Baby steps are being taken (decriminalization efforts in some states, like my own). Hopefully that will continue. But there are entrenched organizations (who are made up of people, my friends) with lots of money that will fight hard to keep the drug war going.

    At best, we might get legal MJ. But that still leaves lots of drugs for people to get shot over.

  5. george says:

    Well, its the same way many conservatives seem to care about an individuals right to put what they want into their body when its large softdrinks, but suddenly cease to care about that right when its pot … much of what pretends to be concern or principle is just political talking points.

  6. john personna says:

    Momentum seems to be building for pot legalization, someday. I have no idea what that would do to illegal drug demand. You’d think potential meth users would just relax and be pot heads, but maybe it doesn’t work that way. I mean, they could relax and have a beer now. Obviously that isn’t working for them.

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    The War On (Some) Drugs Has Killed More Mexicans Than Fast & Furious

    True.

    Along similar lines:

    “Traffic accidents caused by vehicle defects kill more Americans each year than murderers.”

    “U.S. police officers shoot more people each year than multistate serial killers.”

    “More people around the world die of food poisoning each year than those who were killed in the Tokyo subway Sarin terror attack.”

    You get the point, right?

    In any event, marijuana should be legalized. That’s a no brainer.

    The Feds should completely exit the drug war business, except in direct connection with ports and customs and indirectly in connection with physical border enforcement. To the extent there remains a drug war it should be fought by states and local governments with their own local tax dollars and subject to local voter scrutiny.

    Along those lines, however, you might want to reconsider the idea of legalizing all drugs. The prohibition analogy is not apt. Everyone drinks. Your neighbor owns a bar. Your niece has worked in a bar. So on, so forth. Not so with respect to narcotics. The people who deal in narcotics are bad people. They’d cut out your heart and feed it to you just for kicks. The people who use narcotics are not well. Literally.

    Legalize narcotics and narcotics dealers are not going to switch gears, get their degrees and become insurance salesmen. There won’t be the equivalent of speak easys where reputable and proper folks go and shoot heroin. There will remain an even darker, more desperate and considerably more vicious black market for narcotics. It would make Al Capone look like Justin Bieber. Beware the unintended consequences of trying to avoid unintended consequences.

  8. Jeremy R says:

    So I applaud conservatives for being concerned about the impact of a bad law enforcement operation on the people of Mexico. Now, I encourage them to show some concern for the impact of our own failed Drug War on those same Mexicans.

    And I encourage both conservatives and libertarians to show equal concern for death and mayhem visited “on those same Mexicans” by our lax gun laws.

    I think the WaPo editorial board generally had the right idea, earlier this year, when they advocated refocusing the debate on the actual cause of the massive illegal gun proliferation in Mexico:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lax-us-gun-laws-enable-killing-in-mexico/2012/02/02/gIQAWb9CqQ_story.html

    DO AMERICA’S failed gun policies contribute to the terrible violence in Mexico? Alejandro A. Poire Romero makes a compelling case that the answer is yes.

    Law enforcement officials in both countries acknowledge that 70 to 80 percent of the traceable guns seized in Mexico can be tracked to the United States. Mr. Poire Romero, a top Mexican national security and criminal justice official, offers additional evidence that the United States has been an enabler of the violence.

    In 2005 roughly one-third of the seized guns were assault weapons. Today, according to Mr. Poire Romero, assault weapons represent 60 to 65 percent of the guns confiscated by Mexican authorities. The assault-weapons ban in the United States lapsed in 2004.

    “The significant rise in violence and the increase in the number of public officials killed in Mexico coincides with lifting of the assault weapons ban,” Mr. Poire Romero said.

    Yet Fast and Furious was a well-intentioned, misguided response to — and not the cause of — the proliferation of illegal guns in Mexico. To stanch that flow, the Obama administration and Congress should heed the pleas of Mr. Poire Romero and his countrymen by reviving the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole that makes it far too easy to sell weapons without a background check. The White House and lawmakers should work to enact a federal firearms trafficking statute and call for stiffer penalties for illegal straw purchases. Lawmakers also should confirm a chief for the ATF and give the beleaguered agency enough money and personnel to fulfill its mission of keeping illegal guns out of the hands of criminals on both sides of the border.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Right who are now pretending to be concerned for these under siege Mexican citizens, actually address their primary concerns and the real sources of the insecurity.

  9. jan says:

    The only moral equivalence I can see on the War on Drugs and the F&F debacle is that people were killed. While the former protocol tried to unsuccessfully stop drugs from coming into this country, were these people murdered by guns the US supplied? Whereas, in F&F, I don’t really see a high-minded purpose for this operation, especially one that had no inherent controls or tracking devises involved, supplying any kind of prevention or safety mechanism discouraging or disallowing these guns to freely kill people (on either side of the border).

    Consequently, I think this is a non-sequitur argument, or juxtapositioning of two separate government experiments, in order to introduce undercurrent support for the legalization of drugs.

    However, I’m not sure how many of you have any knowledge or experience with drug addiction, especially in the younger adolescent populations, where such legalization would have it’s greatest long term impact and toll. After all, so many people smoke or grow pot, what difference would it make? In reality, beneath the veneer of marijuana for medical uses, there is a huge downside for this drug to be casually endorsed and given the stamp of legalization.

  10. anjin-san says:

    The people who deal in narcotics are bad people

    Some are, some are not. I worked in the bar biz for many years knowing full well that some of my customers were blowing out their livers, some would lose their jobs because of their drinking, and some would drive home drunk. Am I a bad person? Is everyone who works in that industry? Would the guy who sells you a beer at a baseball game “cut your heart out”?

    How many people that you know personally drank themselves to death?

    Sorry, I have known a lot of people who sold drugs that were fairly average. It is generally something they did when they were young and outgrew.

    You argument is one dimensional nonsense.

  11. KansasMom says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:”The people who deal in narcotics are bad people. They’d cut out your heart and feed it to you just for kicks. The people who use narcotics are not well. Literally.

    Legalize narcotics and narcotics dealers are not going to switch gears, get their degrees and become insurance salesmen.”

    No, they might become pharmacists. Narcotics run the range from heroin to marijuana to cough medicine w/codeine. Your neighbor probably did narcotics at some point, as did your grandma or your mom, your niece probably does today.

    This is half the problem. Drugs are bad, except the drugs I like to do that is.

  12. An Interested Party says:

    In reality, beneath the veneer of marijuana for medical uses, there is a huge downside for this drug to be casually endorsed and given the stamp of legalization.

    As opposed to the downside of the way it is currently handled?

    You argument is one dimensional nonsense.

    Do you really expect anything else from him?

  13. george says:

    @jan:

    However, I’m not sure how many of you have any knowledge or experience with drug addiction, especially in the younger adolescent populations, where such legalization would have it’s greatest long term impact and toll. After all, so many people smoke or grow pot, what difference would it make? In reality, beneath the veneer of marijuana for medical uses, there is a huge downside for this drug to be casually endorsed and given the stamp of legalization.

    Just to be clear, you’re basically saying people can’t be trusted to take care of themself. That’s certainly one opinion, but it is diametrically opposed to the idea of small government – taking away people’s right to choose for themselves is the main component of a “nanny state”.

    I’ve no idea if you’re a small government conservative or not – if you’re not, then you can correctly ignore what I said as irrelevant to your position. But many of the strongest advocates for the war on drugs simultaneously wax poetically on the virtues of small government – and I have to admit I’ve no idea how they can manage the mental gymnastics of that huge contradiction.

    And outside of the philosophical problems of a small gov’t playing nanny, the basic problem with the war on drugs is simply that it has been an incredibly expensive failure.

  14. anjin-san says:

    While the former protocol tried to unsuccessfully stop drugs from coming into this country

    If you think that is the extent of the war on drugs, you don’t have a clue of a clue…

  15. anjin-san says:

    However, I’m not sure how many of you have any knowledge or experience with drug addiction, especially in the younger adolescent populations, where such legalization would have it’s greatest long term impact and toll.

    Hmm. 17 years of active addiction, 23 years in recovery, and 2 years of university level training in chemical dependency counseling. What expertise do you bring to the table?

  16. jan says:

    @anjin-san:

    “Hmm. 17 years of active addiction, 23 years in recovery, and 2 years of university level training in chemical dependency counseling. What expertise do you bring to the table? “

    A close family member who is an addict, 7 years in a 12 step program, and 2 years of addiction studies at LMU…and lots of tears.

  17. Ron Beasley says:

    Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001 – the result:

    In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to abolish all criminal penalties for personal drug possession. In addition, drug users were to be targeted with therapy rather than prison sentences. Research commissioned by the Cato Institute and led by Glenn Greenwald found that in the five years after the start of decriminalisation, illegal drug use by teenagers had declined, the rate of HIV infections among drug users had dropped, deaths related to heroin and similar drugs had been cut by more than half, and the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction had doubled.

    It is easier for teenagers to get illegal drugs than alcohol. Why? Alcohol is legal and regulated – illegal drugs are sold in an unregulated black market.
    Of course the reason for all of this war on drugs nonsense is people in the prison industrial complex are making money. The private prison industry is big and powerful as are the labor unions in the public prisons.

  18. anjin-san says:

    @ Jan

    And you have not learned that the war on drugs does more harm to society than the drugs do? (In addition to running cover for the vast harm done by legal alcohol an tobacco).

    If I could wave a magic wand I would legalize pot. And write laws with mandatory jail time for those who furnish to minors.

    casually endorsed

    I don’t think anyone here is “endorsing” the use of pot. I would advise anyone against its use, but people tend to ignore those warnings. What they are saying is that it is relatively benign as mind altering substances go, and that criminalization is A. inneffective B. a cure that is worse than the disease. Billons wasted, overflowing prisons, the erosion of civil liberties… the list goes on and on. The cocaine explosion of the 70s was in part the result of Nixon’s efforts to stop the flow of pot across the Mexican border.

    Illegal drugs provide an excellent example of market principals at work. Where there is demand, there will always be someone to supply it. Always. Every day millions of people risk their freedom and lives to supply/use drugs. The criminal justice model for dealing with the problem is an utter failure. Time to get serious about looking at the demand end of the problem with an approach rooted in compassion.

  19. Just nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @george: It’s easy–small government is government that doesn’t regulate any of MY activities. YOU, on the other hand, are on your own,,,

  20. Just nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @jan: Yes, you bring a lot to the table and I commend you for your work at recovery, and feel for your pain. That being said, you still don’t get it. Laws do not make people good nor do they stop destructive behavior.

  21. Ron Beasley says:

    @Just nutha’ ig’rant cracker: I saw a report that if drugs were legal 5% of the population would become addicts – if drugs were illegal 5% of the of the population would become addicted. Alcohol kills an estimated 400,000 people a year, illegal drugs 25,000.

  22. anjin-san says:

    Alcohol kills an estimated 400,000 people a year

    Lets not forget prescription meds. 100K+ deaths a year.

  23. anjin-san says:

    And lets not overlook the bogus reference in the title of this post to people “killed” by F&F…

  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Doug, you were so close to “getting” this story, and now this.

    In fact, it’s worth noting that the very gun running that Fast & Furious was, ineptly, designed to monitor is directly attributable to that same crackdown on Mexican drug gangs and, ultimately, to the fact that there are millions of Americans who continue to want to purchase things like marijuana and cocaine despite the fact that its illegal, or maybe even because of it.

    Fast & Furious was not “designed’ to monitor gun running. It was designed to run guns.

    There was never a part of the plan for tracking the guns once they crossed the border, let alone recovering them. The plan ended at the border with federal agents waving goodbye to the guns as they sailed off to the waiting drug cartels.

    And the argument you make is so absurd as to be obscene. Let’s look at things in the US. In 2010, the FBI says 14,748 people were murdered. In the same year, 32,788 people died in car accidents.

    So, we should let murderers go free until we get the highway death stats lowered?

    For a followup, just how many innocent people would need to be killed by guns supplied to the cartels by the US government before you decide that it’s a big enough deal that we really ought to find out what the hell they were doing? What’s the “acceptable” number of bodies to you?

  25. Rob in CT says:

    Seriously, the argument is not “illegal drugs are harmless, maaaaan!” The argument is that the harm that will follow from legalization is less than the harm caused by the WoD.

    People use drugs now anyway. All we’ve done is created a huge, violent black market. Legalize, regulate, tax.

    And yes, there will be addicts who screw up their lives. Just as there are now. Just like there are lots of alcoholics. We could take a fraction of the money spent on the WoD and spend it on treatment/counseling instead.

    Re: addiction… to me, there are personalities who are just vulnerable to addiction. The exact substance doesn’t really matter that much, as far as I can tell. If not one, then another.

  26. Rob in CT says:

    There was never a part of the plan for tracking the guns once they crossed the border, let alone recovering them. The plan ended at the border with federal agents waving goodbye to the guns as they sailed off to the waiting drug cartels.

    So, you’re on the “it was all planned to blow up so they could push gun control” train?

    So, we should let murderers go free until we get the highway death stats lowered?

    Of course not. However, there is something to be said for trying to be at least a little bit rational about how we respond to threats. Ideally, the response would match up with the threat level. We aren’t really rational creatures (we’re like half-rational, some more some less), so that’s an ideal we’re unlikely to reach. But it’s worth working towards. See also: terrorism.

  27. @Rob in CT:

    I think these guys are sensitive to the truth … that assault rifle sales do have negative consequences. Documentation of those consequences is a negative for that reason.

    It’s some kind of twist on “guns don’t kill people, people do.”

    I guess the argument is “assault weapons don’t kill people, only Fast and Furious”

  28. LCB says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Umm…Al Capone WAS the kind of guy that would cut out your heart…or tell someone to do it later in his career when he started trying to look “respectable”.

  29. LCB says:

    @Jeremy R: I think if you did a little research you’d find out that most of the weapons that make it to the cartels come from our own government, who sold or gave the guns to the Mexican government. Corrupt military and police officers then sell the guns to the cartels. All of the laws in the world wouldn’t stop that kind of flow…only congresscriters stopping the sales.

  30. LCB says:

    Let’s just say that the WOD was canceled at the snap of a finger. What then to do with all of the SWAT teams that have been kicking in doors to serve misdemeanor warrants??? They’re not going away…too many toys to play with. What will the police use them for next…unpaid parking tickets. Sounds silly, I know…but really, do you think all these SWAT teams with connections to the Dept of Homeland Security are just going to fold their tents and fade willingly in to the night.

    The WOD is a monster we’ve created. Legalizing drugs won’t make the monster go away.

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rob in CT: So, you’re on the “it was all planned to blow up so they could push gun control” train?

    I’m not offering any explanations. I simply don’t see any reasonable explanation or rationale or motive behind the actions that have been laid out in exceptional detail by professionals under oath. It’s just too damned crazy that the only explanations that might come close are money, insanity, or ideology.

    “Money” would mean a lot of people were paid a lot of money, and that kind of thing tends to not stay secret when that many people are involved.

    “Insanity” would mean that roughly the same number of people would have to all taken leave of their senses at the same time in the same way. Statistically impossible.

    Ideology? I can’t imagine that many people who knew the realities of the Mexican drug cartel situation all suddenly becoming such far-left gun-hating leftists that they’d coordinate to pull this off.

    On the other hand, the idea that a few very highly placed individuals who were both ideologically driven to push the gun control agenda and totally new to the intricacies of dealing with the drug cartels might be motivated. And if those highly-placed few were also angered that their “90% of all guns used by the cartels were made in the US” fiction had been totally discredited, they might be motivated to boost the perceived threat of US-sourced guns smuggled into Mexico. (the truth was, Mexico asked the US to help identify about 5% of the guns they seized, as the rest they could ID on their own. Of those 5% that they thought were of US origin, 90% were — meaning that the real number was around 4.5%.)

    So, those politically-driven, law-enforcement-experienced-challenged individuals in positions of great power and authority might have been motivated to push Fast & Furious over the objections of the career professionals. And, predictably, it was a disaster.

    Crazy theory? Absolutely. But nowhere near as crazy as the “innocent” explanations proffered so far.

    Toss in how the ONLY official who has been officially sanctioned and disciplined over it thus far was ATF Special Agent John Dodson, the guy who blew the whistle on this fiasco, and the idea that the whole thing was ideologically driven still seems crazy… but not quite as crazy as before.

    So… please. Offer an alternative explanation. I’m no fan of the Obama administration, but I really don’t want to think that they would have carried out a scheme that left two US agents and hundreds of Mexicans dead for purely political reasons.

    Or are you taking the CNN approach, and saying “it really can’t be that bad, but we’re probably better off not knowing the truth?”

  32. anjin-san says:

    What then to do with all of the SWAT teams that have been kicking in doors to serve misdemeanor warrants???

    SWAT Teams, ADAs, prison workers, and so on. The WOD is basically an extension of prohibition. Funding is very near the heart of the matter. When it became clear that the Volstad Act was going to be repealed, everyone who earned a living off whiskey busting suddenly realized the funding was about to go away – presto “Marijuana, Assassin Of Youth” was born. Funding, and the extension of government power.

  33. David M says:

    I’m sure it won’t be a surprise to anyone but Jenos that the GOP is lying about the Fast and Furious.

  34. anjin-san says:

    BTW, whoever voted Jan down when she was talking about her experiences with recovery – really?
    I mean I disagree with her about pretty much everything, but that just seems trite.

  35. anjin-san says:

    @ David M

    The bigger the lie is, the more sanctimonious Jenos is when parroting it…

  36. Rob in CT says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    All of that to say yes, you are on that train.

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: I’m giving that article a read, and it’s quite interesting. Here’s one quote I’ve found so far:

    It was nearly impossible in Arizona to bring a case against a straw purchaser. The federal prosecutors there did not consider the purchase of a huge volume of guns, or their handoff to a third party, sufficient evidence to seize them. A buyer who certified that the guns were for himself, then handed them off minutes later, hadn’t necessarily lied and was free to change his mind. Even if a suspect bought 10 guns that were recovered days later at a Mexican crime scene, this didn’t mean the initial purchase had been illegal. To these prosecutors, the pattern proved little. Instead, agents needed to link specific evidence of intent to commit a crime to each gun they wanted to seize.

    That sounded a little odd, so I did a little digging…

    In an early morning round-up in Arizona, law enforcement agents Tuesday arrested 20 people who are accused of illegally buying hundreds of AK-47s and other firearms at U.S. gun stores. The defendants allegedly acted as “straw purchasers,” falsely declaring on federal forms they were purchasing the weapons for themselves, rather than their real clients: the Sinaloa Cartel and other Mexican drug trafficking organizations across the border, the officials said.

    Emphasis added.

    Interesting article. I think I’ll keep reading…

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: It also strikes me that the article keeps talking about the state climate and state laws, yet the BATFE is a federal agency, enforcing federal laws, and dealing with a US Attorney answerable to Eric Holder’s Justice Department and who serves at the pleasure of the president.

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: OK, jumped the gun (so to speak) on that one — those were the arrests from Fast and Furious, apparently.

  40. anjin-san says:

    Re: addiction… to me, there are personalities who are just vulnerable to addiction. The exact substance doesn’t really matter that much, as far as I can tell. If not one, then another.

    Exactly. Roughly 10% of the population are natural born addicts. No law will stop them from using. If they can’t get one substance, they will use another. If all illegal drugs vanished tomorrow, they would drink themselves into oblivion/death.

    The WOD is not about helping them, it never was.

  41. matt says:

    @john personna: You cannot buy real assault rifles in the USA unless you want to spend +30 grand for a pre-ban or can get a special federal license (which can be revoked for no real reason). The assault weapon ban was a pile of crap that banned some shot guns bayonet lugs and some semi-auto rifles. Not a single real assault rifle was affected by that ban..