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Listen to this Kid

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To change this child's life, environment and future (and others similarly situated), and to change the culture into which he was born -- a culture of violence, dropout-ism, gangs, guns, drug-dealing, turfs, signs, shootings, commonplace loss-of-life to gun violence among friends and relatives, incarcerated parents, kids without parents, returning neighborhood convicts unemployable as convicted felons, pervasive poverty, unemployment, sex and hustling to survive -- we must: (1) end the drug war, and (2) start making goods in America, again, for domestic consumption and export -- a strategy essential for the creation of jobs and revival of long-term American economic health.

In the 1950s, 60's and 70's, America made everything and exported it everywhere. Today, Americans consume like a horse, but produce like a mule on strike. Prison industries and the herding of prison captives have become America's national specialty with the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Nothing could be more unproductive -- hiring people to watch other people do nothing.

We have far too few jobs for the masses and without changes in trade agreements, reevaluation of an acceptable standard of living, reformed government tax, spend, war, energy, population and stimulus policies, not enough people will choose honorable work over drug-dealing and crime.

Over the past 20 years, my predominate focus has been on drug policy, that focus driven foremost by the endless unnecessary violence, but that concentration does not diminish the imperative of returning America to duty as a producing and exporting giant. We need factories, workers and goods -- cheaper, better, faster.

Life is choices. We must make the "straight and narrow" choice more attractive and possible, and the "easy road" choice less desirable and practical.

Crippling the tempting choice of drug-war employment and life-style is the other critical part of the equation that also absolutely needs major overhaul. But under existing rules, the prohibition of mind-altering substances hugely advances and enhances the rank of the "easy road" choice.

It is the drug war with its inherent and hugely inflated and sustainable drug profits, its glamour, its "members only" club/gang mentality, its product distribution and marketing systems, the rituals, rules, symbols, bonding... that enables, recruits, replenishes, sustains... the gangs, the drug business and the "wrong" choice. Greed, addiction and the unintended facilitation of the drug business by law-enforcement involvement in the equation, and Partnership-For-a-Drug-Free America advertising of product by prohibition broadcast saturation --all these elements create a synergy and unstoppable flow of harm and destruction.

Hopefully, Chicagoans will appreciate the observations made here. By changing both sides of the equation discussed above the choices facing the Larry Davis’s can be weighted heavier for the straight and narrow, producing more favorable outcomes.

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This page contains a single entry by Carol Marin published on June 2, 2010 4:32 PM.

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