Oh, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, why do you say such things? Are you willfully ignorant or were you born in the wrong century?
Even with so much happening in and around the White House these days, there are a few things in your background that might shed light on your out of touch, fact-challenged, bigoted screed and they include: your white supremacist ties, racist and homophobic legislative voting record and a history of opposing voting rights, to highlights just a few.
And wasn’t there something about the KKK? One of the four lawyers who worked with our illustrious attorney general and former senator from Alabama said Sessions told him he thought the KKK was, “OK until I found out they smoked pot.” Surely you were joking, sir. No?
After reading your letter last week in the Washington Post entitled, “Being soft on sentencing means more violent crime. It’s time to get tough again,” one has to wonder where you got your information—because it was so far from the truth.
Whatever it was that moved you to write a letter calling for yet more incarceration of Americans, we can only say: Please stop.
When you consider that we already have the highest incarceration rate in the world, with nearly nearly half of the inmates in federal prisons serving time for drug offenses—and many serving mandatory minimum sentences—it seems downright mean and hateful that you are hungry for even for more drug-related convictions and more prisons.
Perhaps your “evangelism for private prisons” and directions to prosecutors to seek the harshest possible penalties for drug-related offenses, will make you even more friends in the private prison industry than you already have… and we all like having friends.
When you stated that, “minority communities are disproportionately impacted by violent drug trafficking,” didn’t you mean that minority communities and the poor are stopped, searched, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated for drug law violations disproportionately more so than whites? Yes, sir, that is a fact. Feel free to use it widely.
And when you wrote: “Drug trafficking is an inherently violent business. If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t, and don’t, file a lawsuit in court. You collect it by the barrel of a gun.”
Remind you of anything?
One commenter of the Post article wrote: “Drug dealers don’t kill each other because they are high any more than Al Capone killed rival bootleggers because he was drunk. It’s the money.”
Indeed, when alcohol prohibition was repealed, rival booze companies settled their disputes in court. As long as we have a black market for drugs, violence and corruption will persist.
And furthermore, how inappropriate of you, Mr. Sessions, to apply your bizarre analogy of drugs and violent crime to cannabis, a harmless plant unconnected to violence but rather to medicine, health and progress.
You went so far as to state that “less than three percent of federal offenders sentenced to imprisonment in 2016 were convicted of simple possession.”
That is another untrue statement because it does not include the tens of thousands of those who sit in state and county jails for possession of marijuana, nor the millions who have had their lives upended in so many other ways thanks to your obsession with criminalizing and harshly punishing marijuana consumption.
The United States managed just fine without drug laws from its inception until the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Tax Act.
The criminalization of marijuana wasn’t until years later, with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which also came about as the result of bigotry and hate—the demonization of cannabis and the demonization of Mexican immigrants.
Some things never change.