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Sticking up for drug pushers

In Massachusetts, two candidates are running for Attorney General. The Republican, Lawrence Frisoli, is already on the air with an aggressive ad. The main point he's pushing right now is to require convicted drug dealers to register with the state, much like sex offenders. He's hitting all the big points, too -- it'll be cheap, as the mechanism already exists, and parents have a right to this information to better help them protect their children. (Frisoli's page has a downloadable MP3 of the ad.)

And if that is his big idea, if that is what he intends to make the focus of his administration, I find myself hoping he'll lose.

When the subject of registries for sex offenders came up, especially for those who were pedophiles, the civil libertarian in me was troubled. But after some careful consideration of the matter, I accepted them. The unique nature of the crime, the astronomical recidivism rate, and the affect on the victims all combined to convince me that sex offenders were, as a class, far more likely to present a "clear and present danger" to society and such an extreme measure was not only warranted, but necessary to reduce the chances of future victims.

But none of those factors apply to drug dealers.

Drug dealers have no deep-seated psychological compunction to commit their crimes; they're done out of greed -- the desire to make money relatively easily. They do not seek to harm or kill their victims; they know that a dead junkie is not only not going to buy any more drugs, but not going to bring the dealer any new customers. And while they do tend to victimize the more vulnerable members of society, they rarely seek out and victimize people by force. I've never read an account of someone being knocked down, their money taken, and later discovering a bag of crack has been left in their pocket.

I don't know much about Frisoli's opponent, Democrat Martha Coakley, except she's currently a county DA and has had some successes and some failures in office. But Frisoli's desire to expand the sex offender registry has me deeply bothered, and I hope that if he's elected, that becomes a campaign promise that is quietly forgotten.



Comments (6)

Soon there after a registry... (Below threshold)
Imhotep:

Soon there after a registry for gun owners will be legislated, you know, to protect the children. we need to know which houses have guns, so the children will stay away.

Effect, not affect. Compul... (Below threshold)
Malibu Stacy:

Effect, not affect. Compulsion, not compunction.

I don't know much about ... (Below threshold)
jdubious:

I don't know much about Frisoli's opponent, Democrat Martha Coakley, except she's currently a county DA and has had some successes and some failures in office. But Frisoli's desire to expand the sex offender registry has me deeply bothered, and I hope that if he's elected, that becomes a campaign promise that is quietly forgotten.

So, you've got a mixed-bag democrat running against a republican who wants to expand the surveillance powers of the state radically.

i'm not sure, but that kind of thing might drive me enough up the wall that i would vote for the democrat.

the man is obviously running on this issue as a way to appear tough, etc. as you (JT) point out, there is really nothing more extraordinary about a drug dealer than there is about a car thief, burglar, etc.

i try to avoid ever voting for politicans who make promises I hope they "forget." I'm much more likely to vote for their opponents.

What a great idea! Once im... (Below threshold)
Headzero:

What a great idea! Once implemented you would have a ready made list of places to go to purchase illegal drugs.

Do the people that propose these things ever look at the flipside of what they are foisting upon us in the name of protecting ourselves from ourselves?

I see a whole variety of pa... (Below threshold)
epador:

I see a whole variety of patients in clinic. Last week in one morning I saw three folks in a row ravaged by meth, one who was actually trying desperately to put life back together and then two who appeared beyond redemption The fourth was a just past retirement age fellow, upper-middle class in all respects. He had just gotten out of jail after under two year's incarceration. He was upset about having been prevented from returning to his $350,000 home in a far away county and having to live downtown on a close leash to his PO (parole officer). After all, he stated, he'd done his time. He didn't sound repentent. For selling meth, to supplement his retirement income which had not been adequate to support him in the comfort to which he was accustomed.

Adding his name to a public list of pushers would have been a lot less dramatic than the punishment my gut would have imposed.

Profession ethics required me to treat him with the same level of respect and compassion as the others. But it still made my gut rumble.

And my gut's approach would... (Below threshold)
epador:

And my gut's approach would not have had the same effect as Headzero noted the public list alone would have.




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