by Jacob G. Hornberger
Every Sunday at church, Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer, which includes the following exhortation: “Lead us not into temptation.”
During the other six days of the week, many Christians continue to support the war on drugs, a federal program that continues to lead untold numbers of people, especially young people, into temptation and down the road to destruction.
Over the weekend, I happened to catch a segment of a television series entitled “Locked Up Abroad,” which detailed the story of an 18-year-old American girl whose life was partially destroyed by the financial temptation offered by the drug war.
The girl hoped to go to college but was unable to do so because of the high expense, which totaled around $8,000 per year. Her roommate was offered the opportunity to transport a load of drugs from a foreign country and came back with a wad of cash for successfully delivering the load.
The roommate introduced the girl to the guy who set up the deal, who offered the girl the same sort of arrangement. All the girl had to do was fly into Bangladesh and smuggle a few packs of heroin to Switzerland.
The amount to be paid to the girl? $20,000, enough to cover some 2 1/2 years of college.
Now, we can all sit here and say that it would be stupid for anyone to take that deal. But we all know that many young people do stupid things and that they think they’re never going to get caught. And even if they’re caught, they don’t think that anything really bad is going to happen to them.
Where else but the drug war can a young person make a big financial killing so quickly and easily? Imagine: $20,000 for doing a few hours worth of work. And it’s just a one-time deal.
Well, the girl took the deal. She flew into Bangladesh and met up with her contact, who proceeded to strap the packages of heroin around her thighs. At the airport, however, government officials were conducting complete body searches, which enabled them to easily find the drugs.
The complete ramifications still didn’t hit the 18-year-old girl. She explained to the government agent that she needed to go out and catch her flight because her visa was expiring on that day. The agent explained to the girl that she didn’t need a visa for where she was going, which was to jail.
The full impact of she had done hit the girl when she was informed that she was facing the death penalty. When she was awaiting trial, another woman in jail was executed.
At her trial, the girl was spared the death penalty but given life in prison. After 4 ½ years in a Bangladesh prison, Sen. Bill Richardson persuaded the president of Bangladesh to pardon her, and she was released to return to the United States.
Did the girl’s imprisonment help bring about the end of the drug war? After all, clearly this was another in the endless string of drug-war victories that have been claimed for the past several decades.
Of course not. As everyone knows by now, the drug war is endless. No matter how many busts are made, year after years, decade after decade, the drug war just keeps going and going and going.
What good has it all done? No good at all, except for drug dealers, drug agents, and government officials, the three groups who benefit from the never-ending war on drugs. The drug dealers make money off the sales, the drug agents have jobs, and government officials receive payoffs.
In meantime, think about all the people whose lives have been damaged or destroyed by the drug war, such as that 18-year-old girl, who was led into temptation by the exorbitant black-market price of drugs. The more they bust people, the higher the price goes up, owing to a decrease in supply. The higher prices mean bigger potential payoffs, which causes more temptation for people, especially the young.
That 18-year-old girl was lucky. Think about all the young people who are tempted to go into the drug business who end up dead. Indeed, think about the 30,000 Mexican people who have been killed by the drug war in the last three years alone.
The next time you hear a Christian expressing support for the drug war, ask him why he would support any program that leads people into temptation and destroys their lives, without any positive benefit to anyone but drug dealers, drug agents, and public officials.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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