The War on Drugs: My Take
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on April 5th, 2013
Rarely do I personally engage in promotion of myself or my enterprises. Those of you who know me personally know that I am somewhat private and am uncomfortable in the spotlight I often find myself in. Despite all of that I must urge each of you to rise early this Sunday morning and perhaps for your first time listen in to the Court Radio broadcast that I host every Sunday with my suave co-host David Rapoport on Philadelphia’s WRNB 100.3 FM.
I’m personally inviting you to listen in to this special broadcast this Sunday, April 7, for an important reason. I have been hosting Court Radio for over three years and this Sunday may be the most poignant show I’ve done to date. I recently watched an amazing documentary entitled, “The House I Live In,” which was produced by a talented director named Eugene Jarecki. In essence, Eugene lays bare the notion that the “War on Drugs” is not really even about drugs at all, but about the “war on people.” This alleged war should be more accurately entitled the war of the powerful on the powerless.
Here’s an amazing fact about America: As a society, we have incarcerated more of our own people, than any society in the world. Period. It’s true. More people are behind bars in America than any country on the planet. How’s that for a fine distinction?
What has caused this crisis is that without so much as any empirical data or assistance from the intellectuals who actually study crime and punishment, our enlightened Congress has enacted federal sentencing guidelines that are completely ridiculous, just so they can look like they are “tough on crime.” Those outrageous guidelines originally sentenced drug defendants who are caught with crack cocaine to sentences that are 100 times longer than sentences meted out to drug defendants who are caught with the exact same amount of powder cocaine. That means the people caught for using small amounts of drugs were sentenced to exponentially longer prison sentences than the bad guys who are distributing and selling large amounts of drugs. Only recently, that particular sentencing guideline has been reduced to give crack cocaine defendants sentences that are “only” 18 times longer than those for powder cocaine defendants. As a result, with only 5 percent of the world’s population, America now houses 25 percent of the world’s prison population.
It’s time to stop the dodos in Washington from destroying the very fabric of America. We may be an imperfect people but should the solution to imperfection be the incarceration of generation after generation? This issue is what Jarecki’s moving film, “The House We Live In,” is all about. The film won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 and his film should be seen by all. It’s currently available via cable television networks On Demand and I urge you to view it before Sunday’s show.
This is important enough to me that I am writing this personal invitation to each of you to ask you to listen to Sunday’s Court Radio presentation and learn more about this staggering issue for yourself. And please take a moment and pass the word to those of your friends and loved ones to listen as well.
Court Radio airs Sunday at 7am on WRNB 100.3 FM. In the event that you either do not have a radio, or live in an area that does not receive the signal, then you can tune into our show by going to the website www.rnbphilly.com and clicking on the link in the upper right hand corner to listen live to the show.
Thank you, and best wishes,
Dean I. Weitzman
MyPhillyLawyer managing partner
Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C.