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Creator of “The Wire” says war on drugs is a “holocaust in slow motion”; jurors should refuse to convict

Th Show "The Wire" knows the War on Drugs

Th Show “The Wire” knows the War on Drugs

Creator of “The Wire” says war on drugs is a “holocaust in slow motion”; jurors should refuse to convict

David Simon, creator of the hit TV show, “The Wire,” knows the War on Drugs very well. He studied crime, government and police work extensively in the creation of his show, which was one of the most popular in history.

Simon recently discussed the drug war, which is described as a global crusade started by President Richard Nixon in 1971. The war consists of a variety of ugly racial undertones, leading to the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of people, most of them Black.

Surprisingly when Simon came to London, stating that he was not in favor of the decisions by Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana.

“I’m against it,” Simon said at the Royal Institution on Thursday night. “The last thing I want to do is rationalize the easiest, the most benign end of this. The whole concept needs to be changed, the debate reframed.

“I want the thing to fall as one complete edifice. If they manage to let a few white middle-class people off the hook, that’s very dangerous. If they can find a way for white kids in middle-class suburbia to get high without them going to jail,” he continued, “and getting them to think that what they do is a million miles away from Black kids taking crack, that is what politicians would do.”

If marijuana were exempted from the war on drugs, he insisted, “it’d be another 10 or 40 years of assigning people of color to this dystopia.”

Simon was on stage with two other film directors, Eugene Jarecki, who made The House I Live In, which highlights the toll of America’s War on Drugs, and Rachel Seifert, who made Cocaine Unwrapped.

Simon links the War on Drugs to the de-industrialization of America. He says that the war was about dealing with “excess Americans,” or those individuals who are no longer of any use in a capitalist society. He even referred to it as a “holocaust in slow motion.”

Simon said that he always “begins with the assumption that drugs are bad”, but also that the war on drugs has “always proceeded along racial lines.” He even goes back to the banning of Opium.

It is waged “not against dangerous substances but against the poor, the excess Americans,” he said.  “We do not need 10-12% of our population; they’ve been abandoned. They don’t have barbed wire around them, but they might as well.”

Simon also says that “drugs are the only industry left in places such as Baltimore and east St Louis” – an industry that employs “children, old people, people who’ve been shooting drugs for 20 years, it doesn’t matter. It’s the only factory that’s still open. The doors are open.”

“Capitalism,” Simon said, “has tried to jail its way out of the problem……the prison industry has been given over to capitalism. If we need to get rid of these people, we might as well make some money out of getting rid of them.”

Jarecki described the prison industrial complex in this way: “We have ravaged our poor communities.”

He also said that for African Americans, you have “4,000 per 100,000 in jail, as compared with an average dose of around 300″.

Simon also says that, in many cities, police aren’t even prosecuting non drug-related crimes, mainly because arresting people for drugs is like “shooting fish in a barrel.”  It’s easier to bump up arrest statistics and revenue with these arrests, and even the prosecutions make money for those who are invested in the system.

Simon said he had “no faith in our political leadership to ever address the problem. There is no incentive to walk away from law and order as a political currency.”

Simon suggests that the way for the system to be overcome is for jurors to refuse to “send husbands, sons and fathers from their communities to jail … That is how prohibition [of alcohol] ended. They couldn’t find 12 Americans who would send a 13th to jail for selling bathtub gin.”


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