Larry Bumgardner: Drug-war realities

December 24, 2012 

Drug-war realities

Drug use is evenly spread among all strata of our society, but black and brown folks are being arrested and imprisoned at a rate that cannot be justified.

Drug-sniffing dogs can legally be used along public streets and parking lots to indiscriminately target drugs, but they instead are used in subsidized housing areas and in car searches following minor traffic violations.

Recently, while traveling with a black friend who was driving, we were stopped for speeding just as we entered a 55-mph work zone. We were in the flow of traffic but were singled out. Both IDs were taken for a criminal check, and we were told that if everything checked out, we would get a warning ticket.

When the officer returned, we were queried extensively about where we came from and where we were going before he returned our licenses and failed to write a ticket of any sort. It was a fishing expedition, and mostly black and brown folks see this kind of police harassment.

The drug war is an abject failure. Legalization is under way now in several states. Let’s either abandon it or start sniffing and jailing everybody. Either approach will work.

Larry Bumgardner

Durham

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