Thursday, April 30, 2009

Simon on Moyers

Great interview (h/t to Michele Sabatier), as always, with David Simon:

BILL MOYERS: And yet, the drug war keeps getting crazier and crazier. From selling guns to Mexico's drug cartel, to cramming more people into prison, even though they haven't committed violent crimes. Why don't the policies change?

DAVID SIMON: Because there's no political capital in it. There really isn't. The fear of being called soft on crime, soft on drugs. The paranoia that's been induced.

Listen, if you could be Draconian and reduce drug use by locking people up, you might have an argument. But we are the jailing-est country on the planet right now. Two million people in prison. When I started as a police reporter, 33, 34 percent of the federal inmate population was violent offenders. Now it's like, seven to eight percent. So, we're locking up less violent people. More of them. The drugs are purer. They've not-- they haven't closed down a single drug corner that I know of in Baltimore for any length of time. It's not working. And by the way this is not a Republican/Democrat thing. Because a lot of the most Draconian stuff came out of the Clinton Administration. This guy trying to maneuver to the center, in order not to be perceived as Leftist by a Republican Congress.


The people most affected by this are black and brown and poor. It's the abandoned inner cores of our urban areas. And we don't, as we said before, economically, we don't need those people. The American economy doesn't need them. So, as long as they stay in their ghettos, and they only kill each other, we're willing to pay a police presence to keep them out of our America. And to let them fight over scraps, which is what the drug war, effectively, is. I don't think-- since we basically have become a market-based culture and it's what we know, and it's what's led us to this sad denouement, I think we're going to follow market-based logic, right to the bitter end.

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