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posted by azrael on Friday July 11 2014, @02:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the time-to-rethink dept.

A report at Alternet gives some context to the amount spent by the U.S. on its drug policy.

  • 1,100 - The number of Americans that die each year due to violent crime caused by the drug war
  • $51 billion - The amount that the U.S. government spends each year on the war on drugs
  • 61 percent - The percentage of individuals targeted by drug-related SWAT raids who are people of color
  • 82 percent - The number of Americans who believe that the government is losing the War on Drugs
  • 18 months - The age of Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh, a recent American casualty of the drug war

The article goes into further details on the number, including:

On May 28, a team of police officers raided the Phonesavanh's home, with the mistaken belief that the residents were involved with drugs. As they entered, they tossed a flashbang grenade that landed directly in the crib of baby Bou Bou, which exploded within point-blank range - critically injuring him.

In a harrowing article, his mother, Alecia, described seeing "a singed crib" and "a pool of blood", and later being informed by medics: "There's still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs". Alecia said that the sole silver lining to this story is that it may "make us angry enough that we stop accepting brutal SWAT raids as a normal way to fight the war on drugs".

Fortunately, Bou Bou has been making a gradual recovery, but his family is relying on donations to support their living and medical costs.

 
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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Friday July 11 2014, @02:52PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Friday July 11 2014, @02:52PM (#67602)

    The US population is over 300 million. 1,100 people dying per year in drug-related violence sounds like a lot until you realize that is .00037% of the population, and less than the number of people who die of choking or drowning [listosaur.com]. Somehow I don't see us spending $51 billion a year on SWAT teams to keep us safe from swimming pools.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Thexalon on Friday July 11 2014, @03:18PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday July 11 2014, @03:18PM (#67620)

    That's a significant percentage of murders committed in the US. It's not a trivial number.

    But you're right to keep it in perspective: The most common kind of murder by a wide margin in the US is women killed by abusive current/former boyfriends/husbands. If you want to know why women have all sorts of support networks for abuse victims who are trying to get away from their abuser, that's why (this does happen to men too, but it's much less common).

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    • (Score: 2, Informative) by VortexCortex on Friday July 11 2014, @05:12PM

      by VortexCortex (4067) on Friday July 11 2014, @05:12PM (#67704)

      I call bullshit.

      The primary victims of violent crimes, including murder, are men. [wikipedia.org]

      Victimization rates for both males and females have been relatively stable since 2000.[8]
      Males were more likely to be murder victims (76.8%).[9]

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @05:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @05:30PM (#67717)

        More total men are murdered, but they're murdered for many different reasons: robbery, drug dealing, sports rivalries... Thexalon is pointing out that when you break murders down by motives, the most common motive is "make me a sandwich, bitch!"

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12 2014, @09:37AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12 2014, @09:37AM (#68034)

          Women are significantly more likely [nih.gov] to engage in non-reciprocal violence than men (approximately 70%). Women are significantly more likely (approximately 84%) to use a weapon and as a result, around 74% of those men are likely to be seriously injured requiring medical attention, in domestic violence.

          Men are significantly more likely to be the victim of domestic violence than women. Men are significantly more likely to be arrested for domestic violence than women, particularly in cases where the woman was the aggressor.

          On top of all of this, women are twice as likely to be raped by same-sex partners. This means that, once strength is removed as a factor, women are bigger rapists than men. Source: The Gender of Sexuality, Rutter and Schwartz.

  • (Score: 2) by AsteroidMining on Friday July 11 2014, @04:24PM

    by AsteroidMining (3556) on Friday July 11 2014, @04:24PM (#67672)

    Does that number include any of the ~ 1500 people killed per year by Police in the United States?

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by bziman on Friday July 11 2014, @04:38PM

    by bziman (3577) on Friday July 11 2014, @04:38PM (#67678)

    That's not 1,100 drug violence related deaths... that's 1,100 people killed by the militarized police. See http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/2012/01/police-involved-shootings-2011-annual.html [blogspot.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @05:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @05:43PM (#67724)

      > That's not 1,100 drug violence related deaths... that's 1,100 people killed by the militarized police.

      Bingo.

      For what it's worth, this AC's understanding is that the majority of gun-murders are drug related. Either directly as in turf wars and transactions gone bad or indirectly as in robberies to get drug money being escalated or just people getting all tweaked up and shooting someone for a minor slight.

    • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Friday July 11 2014, @07:59PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Friday July 11 2014, @07:59PM (#67790)

      Actually, TFA does say those 1,100 deaths were due to drug violence. Your link says 607 people were killed by police. Whoever modded you informative must not have read either TFA or the first sentence of the link you posted.

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      • (Score: 1) by bziman on Friday July 11 2014, @08:57PM

        by bziman (3577) on Friday July 11 2014, @08:57PM (#67835)

        Sorry... mistyped... I was thinking "casualties" which includes wounded, but inexplicably typed "killed". My bad.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Kromagv0 on Friday July 11 2014, @05:59PM

    by Kromagv0 (1825) on Friday July 11 2014, @05:59PM (#67737) Homepage

    This is the same logic used to justify the war on terror. A while back there was the claim that the NSA's efforts had stopped something like 50 terrorist attacks. I don't remember if the article pointed out if that was over a year or ~10 years but the math I used was 50 attacks in a single year. It turns out that assuming that each attack was as deadly as the 9/11 attacks the body count would still be lower than other preventable causes of death like smoking and obesity. If it was over 10 years and as each attack was as successful as the Boston bombers were (both of these are much more realistic numbers) then the deaths from terrorist attacks would be very minor statistical noise.
     
    Both are used as methods to extend the reach and power of the state. Too bad none of my elected representatives care or are willing to take any bold stances.

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    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @07:32PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @07:32PM (#67774)

      > A while back there was the claim that the NSA's efforts had stopped something like 50 terrorist attacks.

      It was a bullshit claim anyway.

      During testimony to the overisght committee Keith Alexander walked it back to "only one or perhaps two." [washingtontimes.com]

  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Saturday July 12 2014, @03:53PM

    by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Saturday July 12 2014, @03:53PM (#68132) Homepage
    It may not be a huge number, but you have to weigh up the cost of decreasing it. To decrease it costs nothing. Less than nothing - you just have to stop doing the expensive thing that nobody apart from a minority want. Preventing 1000 other deaths would have some nett cost. This is a low-hanging fruit.
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