Saturday, May 5, 2012

our drug war

I'm flipping through channels and I happen upon the show Cops at exactly the wrong time. A guy has just been caught with heroin. They're loading him into a cop car. He's weeping, saying "I'm going back to prison" again and again. He's weeping, of course, because when he returns to prison he'll be beaten and likely raped and subject to daily psychological and physical torture, from his conditions and from his fellow inmates and from the guards. And chances are very good that he was out scoring heroin because he was addicted to it the first time he went to jail and he stayed addicted while he was there and he was addicted when he came out. The cops keep insisting that he had more than was for his personal use, because they always say that; to listen to the police and prosecutors you'd think that no one has ever just been a drug user. They're all also drug dealers, always.

The more you look around in America the more you find people whose suffering is simply assumed as a part of the social fabric; it's compromises all the way around. I think about Omelas a lot.

3 comments:

Charles said...

Yes. But there is no "away" to walk to.

Freddie said...

I know.

Paul Sherrard said...

Thank you for this column. The state of prison today should be a national scandal in a country that bars "cruel and unusual punishment." Instead, no one talks about it (or, to be precise, no one treats it as an outrageous abomination).