Prohibition: Cincinnati Blames Drug Shortages For Rising Violence
It has been a long, hot summer in Cincinnati, with the Ohio River city on a pace to equal or top the record-setting 86 murders committed in 2006. Local officials there are blaming drugs -- or the lack of them -- for the violence -- which is just a step away from acknowledging the role of drug prohibition in violent crime, but don't expect them to take that last step.
In the last week of September, there were five murders, increasing this year's toll to 58, three more than at the same time last year. It's because of a shortage of cocaine, said Cincinnati police.
"Our intelligence says there is quite a shortage of crack cocaine right now, and that has the buyers frantic to buy based on their addiction and the sellers know their livelihood is threatened based on supply and demand," said Lt. Col. James Whalen, Cincinnati's patrol bureau commander. "When you get involved with buying and selling drugs, unfortunately you run into violence," he told the Cincinati Enquirer.
Hamilton County Municipal Judge Melissa Powers said drugs are playing a part in the violence, but it has to do with competition rather than supply. "It's very difficult. Once you arrest one drug dealer, another one takes his place," she said. "I think that's what we're seeing now, the rooting out among drug dealers."
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney last week issued a joint statement calling for an end to prohibition-related violence, although they called it drug-related violence. "None of the shootings were random, which underscores the importance of staying out of illegal activities," the statement from Mallory and Dohoney said. "If you are involved in drug activity, whether as a buyer or a seller, you put yourself at a very high risk of becoming a victim of violence."
While Cincinnati's law enforcement and political establishment has clearly focused on a problem -- prohibition-related violence -- it has yet to properly identify it. By displacing that cause onto "drugs," the city will not solve its violence problem, but only exacerbate
Comment posted by Anonymous on Fri, 10/10/2008 - 4:41pm
I seem to remember something like this during alcohol prohibition. When is the last time anyone was murdered because they wanted to eliminate an alcohol distributor to take over their business?