James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When War Hits Home

John Markley of the new Superfluous Man blog has a post on what happened to a childhood friend:
I recently discovered that E has been arrested for heroin possession. You see E suffered a serious shoulder injury from an athletic mishap that left him in continuous pain. Thanks to our hard-working men in law enforcement, doctors are often unwilling to prescribe adequate painkillers for victims of chronic pain because they fear, with good reason based on past precedent, that doing so leaves them in danger of being charged with drug trafficking.

So, with his lawful options cut off and no other source of relief in sight, E eventually resorted to heroin, until he got caught not long ago. I suppose going after a scrawny accident victim with a chronic injury is safer and easier than catching people who might actually be dangerous.
I've been opposed to drug laws for some nine years now. (Thanks to National Review, surprisingly enough. I've been following politics long enough to remember the days when that magazine actually had some worthwhile material.) I opposed them on purely utilitarian grounds at first, then on more principled grounds as I began to shift from conservative to libertarian. I have abhorred the drug war ever since, and mourned the innocents who have suffered because of it, but in a dry and abstract sort of way. E's fate is far less harsh than many drug war victims; he will not spend years of his life in prison or die like Peter McWilliams because he couldn't get the medicine he needs. Still, the petty cruelty on display in his case struck me in a deep way. Though I had no doubt that prohibition was cruel and unjust, it took a personal experience to really hammer home just how damn vile the drug war really is.

One could probably say the same thing about all war. I, too, am indebted to National Review for enlightening me on the futility of the Drug War, and my progression from conservative to libertarian seems to mirror Markley's. Forunately, I am not aware of friends or former friends who are victims of the Drug War. I do, however, know some people with physical conditions for whom some illegal drugs might do some real good.

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