Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: People Take Drugs

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Police Association president Greg O’Connor insists that letting minor offenders off with a warning would encourage drug use.

    I wish someone would have the stones to ask Greg O'Connor why he's so keen on a status quo that arguably only encourages organised crime and all the social toxic waste that follows. One might also like to ask the members of the Police union whether the war on drugs places them needlessly in harm's way and chews through enormous amounts of public money (courts and prisons don't come for free) when they're being told modest pay increases are unaffordable.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11989 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    chews through enormous amounts of public money (courts and prisons don’t come for free)

    No one seemed willing to say on Drug Bust how much that helicopter operation cost. It was very excitingly portrayed though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18877 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    While the Bay of Plenty times demands that drugs be stamped out, and the law made, if anything, harsher

    Wow, that editorial is a cracker. Writing this:

    But decriminalising cannabis for minor personal use will not stop the problems it causes.

    and then this:

    But alcohol has been such an ingrained part of our social fabric for years it would be next to impossible for any government to ban it and stay in power.

    Thousands use it responsibly and tightening its use for young people and those who use it irresponsibly is a more sensible tactic.

    is the most heroic tolerance for cognitive dissonance I have ever seen. Also:

    The Law Commission [...] would be better to spend its time working out how to cut crime rather than trying to relax the country's laws.

    Gosh, I hope they're grateful to the BOPT for reminding them what their real job is.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    No one seemed willing to say on Drug Bust how much that helicopter operation cost.

    Maybe the Police could piggy-back on the Air Force's helicopter training runs?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    (By the way, TV3 -- your refusal to help us out with a copy of last week's programme won't stop us talking about it. It's just annoying.)

    Don't ask TV3; ask someone at TV3.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    No one seemed willing to say on Drug Bust how much that helicopter operation cost. It was very excitingly portrayed though...

    I think a lot of people who watched this show drew conclusions that were not necessarily the intended ones.

    I thought it is a funny country where we think nothing of cost-no-object funding for extensive use of the air force helicopters (on internal policing, surely using the military in such a way is a bad idea in principle), two pilots, a winchman, and dozens of cops to pull out a few hundred dope plants, yet we can't find $700,000 to maintain current funding of women's refuges.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to James Butler,

    Police could piggy-back ...

    (i) Heh.

    ... on the Air Force's helicopter

    (ii) I'd so like to see that.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 899 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    yet we can’t find $700,000 to maintain current funding of women’s refuges.

    Nicely observed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18877 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Like you, I'm frustrated by the ongoing legal inconsistency between booze and weed. William Randolph Hearst and DuPont Chemical have a lot to answer for.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4300 posts Report Reply

  • vangam,

    Doesn't the editor of the BoP Times realize that drug use can never be stamped out?The war on drugs is one alimghty gravy train (what the hell is the DEA doing in Afghanistan???). It is going to take a seismic shift in public opinion before politicians have the the balls to tackle this issue rationally. A man walking through an airport with a pocketful of cannabis is not nearly as dangerous as a man with a pocketful of dynamite, and yet they seem to treated with the same amount of disapprobation by the authorities and society in general. What gives?

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I thought it is a funny country where we think nothing of cost-no-object funding for extensive use of the air force helicopters (on internal policing, surely using the military in such a way is a bad idea in principle), two pilots, a winchman, and dozens of cops to pull out a few hundred dope plants, yet we can't find $700,000 to maintain current funding of women's refuges.

    If the American experience is anything to go by, it's not a waste of dosh if it "puts the proles in their place". And given that Wall St professional gamblers can get away with snorting cocaine and claiming it back as a business expense on the American taxpayer, it starts adding up.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4300 posts Report Reply

  • vangam, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I think a lot of people who watched this show drew conclusions that were not necessarily the intended ones.

    I refuse to watch it because it breaks my heart to see the people on the bottom of the heap being kept there.

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I refuse to watch it because it breaks my heart to see the people on the bottom of the heap being kept there.

    I actually felt sorry for the guy who got stoned and turned himself in to the cops just so he could get a trip out of his house.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The Law Commission […] would be better to spend its time working out how to cut crime rather than trying to relax the country’s laws.

    Which would probably lead to a frothy BOPT editorial about unelected (and unelectable) pointy-headed academic wankers who need to come down from their ivory towers now and then…

    is the most heroic tolerance for cognitive dissonance I have ever seen.

    Don’t be silly, James. Self-inflicted ethyl alcohol poisoning isn’t drug abuse. Nice “responsible” white, middle-class professionals can stop any time they like. Reefer is used by nig-nogs, poor people and beatnik commies who have to be saved from their degenerate selves. Or something.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11989 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I actually felt sorry for the guy who got stoned and turned himself in to the cops just so he could get a trip out of his house.

    It was actually worse than that. He'd called the cops to ask them to deal with a troublesome female companion who wouldn't leave. It was only because he'd left his jacket inside that they came in and saw evidence of a spotting session on the stove. The young cop kept at him to show them the pot -- there actually didn't seem to be any in left the house -- and the guy was in tears.

    I suspect that some people will have taken the message that it's better to deal with your troublesome girlfriend yourself rather than ask the cops to intervene.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18877 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile, this awesome display of political courage and intellectual enterprise from Phil Goff:

    Law needs to discourage drug taking - Goff
    4/05/2011 17:12:01

    Any moves to soften up penalties for personal drug use will be watched closely by Labour.

    The Law Commission's review of the Misuse of Drugs Act makes a number of recommendations about changes to drug laws.

    Those include relaxing penalties for minor drug use and piloting specific drug courts.

    Labour leader Phil Goff says there are some good ideas in the report but the moves have to be looked at closely and the law always needs to discourage people from taking harmful drugs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18877 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And, of course, John Pagani’s awesomely, staggeringly dumb blog post Why the Law Commission is basically a bunch of potheads.

    He really has not grasp of the issues, the evidence or the experience of other countries that have reformed. And he doesn't seem to care. Some strategist that guy is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18877 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Labour leader Phil Goff says there are some good ideas in the report but the moves have to be looked at closely and the law always needs to discourage people from taking harmful drugs.

    Sorry, but WTF does “the law always needs to discourage people from taking harmful drugs” actually mean? Serious question. It sounds nice – after all, what sane person would encourage someone to become a raging meth-head. Or an alcoholic, for that matter. But the more I think about it, the more fatuous that statement becomes.

    As you all know, I'm a recovering alcoholic and have very personal reasons for hating drunk drivers with a passion. It would make my reptile hind-brain very happy if drunk drivers were "discouraged" by a sliding scale of public stocks, flogging and televised executions. How useful it would be for people who often have severe multiple addictions, little impulse control and roughly no ability to reason out the probable consequences of their actions? Not so much.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11989 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But the more I think about it, the more fatuous that statement becomes.

    The statement doesn't really mean anything. Which was doubtless pretty much the aim in making it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18877 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom,

    The Law Commission review does not propose legalisation or decriminalisation of presently banned substances … emphasis on the balance shifting towards the Ministry of Health and away from the criminal justice system

    One way of achieving this with minimal fright to timid politicians, while also neutralising a lot of macho police blather and generally keeping the horses calm is to introduce “drug courts”.

    Their position in the criminal justice system means they gain widespread acceptance in a way that public health programs (as substitiutes for “puniutive” responses) wouldn’t, but when you look behind what they do they are public health programs, with the “sentence” usually amounting to “go away and get well”, and then the various agencies (who are sitting at the back of the court) swoop in and provide the means to do so.

    Do, please, take the time to read Gerald Waters’ comprehensive overview of how it might work in NZ and offer some comment (pdf file). I was going to blog on it but haven’t had time and since Russell has opportunely raised the issue, I’ll blithely hijack his thread :-D

    Disclaimer: Gerald interviewed me (WA has remarkably effective drug courts – the only problem is getting people there while the police fight tooth and nail to keep them in the “real” courts) but, aside from that, his report is filled with good sense and much research.

    P.S. Might I recommend him as a Media 7 participant, RB? His email is on his website so I assume he won’t mind me mentioning it here: drinkdrivenz@gmail.com

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 156 posts Report Reply

  • Leopold, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ol' "Me too!!" again...

    Since Jan 2007 • 146 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The statement doesn’t really mean anything. Which was doubtless pretty much the aim in making it.

    Damn. I was really hoping I'd missed something. Retract benefit of the doubt, put it back in its box and try again later...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11989 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rex Widerstrom,

    Do, please, take the time to read Gerald Waters’ comprehensive overview of how it might work in NZ and offer some comment (pdf file). I was going to blog on it but haven’t had time and since Russell has opportunely raised the issue, I’ll blithely hijack his thread :-D

    Au contraire. I am grateful for the knowledge you have shared :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18877 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Something else I couldn't fit in the post: Britain's Channel 4 will be getting people to take drugs live on TV so everyone can look at them.

    It looks like being a non-useful exercise in stunt broadcasting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18877 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    I always wondered about the legal situation was in using Air force assets in Law Enforcement operations. I always thought there was a legal principle (I know there was in the states for a while with the Posse Comitatus Act) where the military couldn't be used for domestic policing.

    Kingsland • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

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