As I write this, a thirteen year old boy and his two year old sister lay in the hospital in critical condition. They were shot while behind a fence in their own front yard two nights ago. Another family grieves after two young children saw their mother gunned down while leaving a market this afternoon. These are the latest in a far too long list of victims of "gang violence".
Well intentioned members (and even leaders) of the community call for yet more police action to end the violence. By now some of us have begun to wonder if maybe we should treat the cause instead of the symptom.
What is the cause of gang violence? Don't try to take the easy way out and just blame it on gangs. We had gangs for decades without the level of carnage we have experienced in the last ten to fifteen years. History teaches us that the mere existence of gangs does not cause violence of this type.
Indeed, history teaches us that the only two periods when we have had driveby shootings of innocent bystanders to any noticeable extent were during prohibition -- alcohol the first time, and drugs now.
To solve the problem of innocent people caught in the crossfire, let us start by defining the situation correctly. Why do we use the phrase "gang violence" when we really mean the war between dealers for market share? Why do we even call it a "War on Drugs"? When did you see any drugs die in this war? How many innocent children has it claimed?
But then, how many people in this country would support the "War on the Innocent Children to Enrich the CIA and Their Friends"?
Has our country gone to hell in a handbasket since the end of prohibition? Maybe, but can you really blame all of our problems today on alcohol? We have, for the most part survived the repeal of prohibition of alcohol.
Given the increasingly dear cost of the current prohibition of drugs (excluding of course alcohol, nicotine, and anything the AMA can make money off of by prescribing), shouldn't we take another look at the policies behind the "War on..."? How many more children have to die before we say, "Enough!"?
NOTE:This was written in 2001. How many more innocent children have been caught in the crossfire since then. If we do nothing to change this madness their blood is on our hands.