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Today's Poll: Should drug dealers get the death penalty?

By Howard B. Owens
Tim Miller

To anybody who voted "yes", I hope your kid never gets busted selling a joint to his buddy for a few bucks.

...and before anybody says "that's not what they mean!", think that bozo in the Philippines, whose policy Trump is pushing, cares whether the "dealer" is selling a joint or a kilo?

Mar 16, 2018, 9:47am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

The power of the state to take life isn't something to be taken lightly.

We've all seen the stories of numerous prisoners released from death row after new DNA evidence exonerated them. For a variety of reasons, people being wrongfully convicted is not uncommon.

Are people really ready to kill other people in drug cases where it's easy to make mistakes, where it's possible for informants to set up enemies? Are you really ready to condemn to death people who did nothing wrong and were wrongfully convicted? Because that's the chance you take.

Further, a good number of dealers are merely addicts themselves looking to pay off their debts or pay off their next hit. How does killing them solve the problem?

Do you want to solve the heroin crisis? Legalize possession and regulate it so that users get predictable doses. Not only does this make addiction easier to fight (part of the mechanism of addiction is the random unpredictability of doses) it greatly reduces the risk of an overdose.

In Portugal, overdose deaths have dropped dramatically since decriminalization.

Regulation also means taxation -- taxes that could be used to finance rehabilitation programs.

It also means we stop wasting billions on the clearly failed and lost "war on drugs."

Mar 16, 2018, 10:17am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Clearly, Jim, you didn't read my comment in its entirety, nor are you interested in science-based solutions. Nor are you bothering to offer any solutions of your own.

Mar 16, 2018, 12:33pm Permalink
Justin Burger

Howard, I don't always agree with your opinions/politics, however, you are spot-on with this one. I wish I could give you a million thumbs up.

Mar 16, 2018, 12:39pm Permalink
Roberta White

I totally agree with Howard..... I, however, WOULD like to offer a solution. Most opioid addictions stem from pharmaceutical addiction because safer and less addictive natural alternatives are not available. What if we give the owners and boards of pharmaceutical companies and politicians opposing the legalization of marijuana the death penalty and solve America's real drug crisis?

Mar 16, 2018, 1:08pm Permalink
Jim Urtel Jr

Just what we need, legalization of not just weed, but heroin! We are losing the war on drugs so let`s legalize it and make money off of it? This is the stupidest thought period and it`s sad that so many would give a thumbs up to it!

Mar 16, 2018, 4:17pm Permalink
Tim Miller

Roberta - did you read the first line of Howard's comment?
"The power of the state to take life isn't something to be taken lightly."

If they did anything illegal, bust them and put them in jail (don't fine them - they have lots of money). If they did anything immoral, well.... (Just kidding about that "if" part)

Mar 16, 2018, 4:18pm Permalink
david spaulding

Why not kill the drug user then there won't be a drug dealer.?< sarcasm.... Appears the answer to people dying from drug overdoses is for other people to die. Does that make sense? Maybe it's that drug users are good people but drug dealers are bad ones? Like Howard said, some drug dealers are drug users, now what?

Mar 16, 2018, 5:03pm Permalink
david spaulding

not all of my post was posted......first part of comment was sarcasm, ... Appears the answer to people dying from drug overdoses is for other people to die. Does that make sense? Why is this even being proposed? Maybe we look at drug users as good people and drug dealers as bad people? good? bad ? who decides?

Mar 16, 2018, 5:08pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Jim, the documented use of substances to alter one's mental state goes back to at least the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago.

"Not to try in the first place" is to ignore human nature and to admit you're divorced from reality.

I assume you never drink, or don't smoke, as well, given that judgemental attitude.

There is always going to be a segment of the population that will try substances that alter their mental state. That segment knows no boundaries based on race, education, intelligence, wealth, religion, or any other category you choose to name. A sub-segment of that segment will become addicted and tend toward overindulgence. That's just a statistical reality that neither you nor I nor any other mortal can change.

Once we're dealing with reality, we can talk about how best to manage that reality.

The current regime of the "war on drugs" goes back to at least Reagan and year after year, it's a war we continue to lose while never making progress or gaining ground.

What's the old saw about the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

You might try examining the issue beyond sound bites and pat answers. You'll find it enlightening.

Mar 16, 2018, 5:16pm Permalink
Christopher Putnam

Oh yeah....Jim, please open your mind. Just because you dont like an idea, or disagree with it, does not mean that the idea itself is bad, or the concept. Like Howard said, its human nature, you cant change it. Yes, never trying it worked for you! Great. Sadly not everyone is you, they value different things, hold different morals, worship different gods, they have a different thought process. What worked for you, does not, and will not work for everyone. That is what we are after, a solution that works for a majority of people, not just YOU.

Mar 16, 2018, 6:28pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Just got this press release from ICE. Even Homeland Security admits the War on Drugs is a failure

"In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized nearly 2,400 pounds of fentanyl nationally. During that same time period, HSI logged 629,765 investigative hours toward fentanyl. HSI has experienced a drastic increase in fentanyl related arrests and seizures in the last three years.

As agency personnel have been working to combat this epidemic, one thing has become very clear – law enforcement can’t arrest their way out of the problem. While the investigation, disruption and dismantling of transnational criminal organizations that illicitly introduce fentanyl, heroin and other dangerous opioids into the United States are chief among HSI’s mission areas, it’s only one step. An informed public, willing partners and engaged treatment and prevention community are also vital to combating the problem."

While advocating, through this provided link with the press release, for more law enforcement resources ...

Mar 16, 2018, 6:47pm Permalink
Randy Sliker

I always wonder how many people on these comments who vote in Favor of the drug users actually suck up the drugs and THEN CALL FOR MAKING THEM LEGAL !! I suspect many of them do ,, I grew up In Batavia and Indian Falls ,,Life was great .. People actually left the doors unlocked and the keys in the car .. NOW Today the Batavian police blotter is just full of drug related stories , Sadly a few side streets in Batavia have become just Like south side Chicago...One of the worst things is working with drug users-Stoned and stupid comes to mind! As To death to drug dealers -- I have married a Chinese lady and Visit china on occasion,,You can safely walk in the huge park outside the city for a mile in the late night returning from a night out and be totally safe -The only people you see are other couples walking home from a night out too. In the light of the city from across the lake.. I have friends in Thailand and Its a NO drugs allowed country and a very nice place to visit . bring in Drugs -go to the Bangkok Hilton for a long stay. Same in the Philippines Now - Friend reports walking down a city street and having dozens of vendors try selling all sorts of stuff to him from Foods to cigarettes-BUT No Drugs ! You see the president has declared war on drug dealers --AND USERS ! If the USA had the same policy -Little Jimmy would not be selling his Buddy a Joint and be subject to the penalties -Unless Little Jimmy is a Little Criminal !! But Hey--- Liberals Like there drugs and so it will be !!!

Mar 16, 2018, 10:03pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Praise for totalitarian states is not a conservative virtue. In fact, no real conservative would ever entertain such a thought. Conservatives praise individual liberty not the rule of men, especially murderous dictators such as Rodrigo Duterte.

Further, there is no part of Batavia that is even remotely close to anything like the Southside of Chicago.

Mar 16, 2018, 11:05pm Permalink
Mike Weaver

If we are going to support the death penalty for drug dealers that get our friends and family members addicted to opiates, we'll be sentencing a lot of pharma industry executives to death penalties.

Oh, wait.... they are the types of folks sitting in executive branch offices. Nevermind.

Mar 17, 2018, 10:34am Permalink

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