Sunday, 30 January 2011

Justice is a Joke

The insatiable hunger to punish drug users is reaching an exploding point. Each week, we are seeing more and more drug users being ceremoniously hunted down by police to appease the public for any drug related death. The growing trend involves a fanatical quest to place the blame on someone or anyone if there is no clear culprit.  It usually involves an overdose where police are left with only a body and not someone they can prosecute. Driven by a media frenzy, drug hysteria and a section of the community who demand justice, you are left with law makers and politicians who must find an offender to charge. There seems to be no room for an accidental death anymore when drugs are concerned.

Acquaintance Gets 10 Years For Supplying Fatal Heroin To College Student
By Bruce Nolan, 
January 2011   

A federal judge sentenced a 22-year-old New Orleans man to 10 years in jail for supplying the heroin that killed college student Pierce Sharai at a Carnival party in 2008.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle sentenced Gary Toca to 10 years in prison for his role in Sharai's death.

He is the third person to go to jail for his role in Sharai's death. And he's the eighth person to go to jail in connection with overdoses that killed three young people within weeks of each other in early 2008.

Sharai, 19, was a biochemistry major in enrolled in LSU's Honors College when he died.

Earlier reports disclosed that Sharai and friends spent the night of Jan. 19, the night of the Krewe du Vieux parade, doing drugs at a downtown hotel.

Federal prosecutors said Toca, Sharai and an unidentified third person pooled their money to buy heroin that night.

They said Toca made the heroin purchase, returned to the hotel and provided the heroin to Sharai.
Sharai overdosed and died early the next morning.

He was one of seven young people who died of heroin-related overdoses in the first five weeks of that year. Sharai and two others, including 16-year-old Madeleine Prevost, a senior at Lusher High School, were loosely linked by common acquaintances.

Their deaths launched a federal investigation that so far has sent four men to prison for participating in the drug chain that supplied Prevost.

Toca becomes the third man to go to prison for supplying Sharai.

Still another man, Matthew Olvany, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and drug distribution in connection with a third overdose death early that year, that of 21-year-old Zac Moser.

The case above has exposed how dangerous anti-drug rhetoric has become. This sick, new trend to dish out ultra severe penalties when there’s a drug related death has hit new extremes and we, as a society need to demand for it to stop. Three friends chip in to buy drugs and when one of them fatally overdoses, the police charge the person who made the purchase. It doesn’t matter that all three of them pooled their money and he was simply nominated to buy the drugs. The police want someone’s head to roll and those still standing are fair game. 

You would be safe to assume that the police would write this off as a terrible accident. They have, after all, already arrested and imprisoned several people involved in a series of overdoses linked to this death. They have a family mourning the death of their son and a bunch of young friends who are coming to terms with their loss. What drives the police to create even more carnage by sending a young university student to prison for 10 years? Especially when his crime was simply being chosen to make the purchase.

It seems that Gary Toca was a Jesuit Alumni, in the prestigious honors program at the LSU (Louisiana State University)and has no criminal background. Although he once was an addict, he had been clean for over two years and helped with high school students around the city in an attempt to keep them from making the same mistake. He even cooperated with agents in attempts to take down the ring of heroin dealers. What purpose is served by incarcerating Gary Toca? This young man has so much to offer and once, a fantastic future. The only thing stopping him was a history of addiction which he seemed to be managing. Now his future has been ripped out from under him all in the name of justice. What sort of sick fuckers would go to such extremes to ruin this man’s life?

This is so insane yet typical of how a brainwashed nation will act. Day after day we see the authorities, the media and the anti-drug brigade massively exaggerating the harms from drug use. We are bombarded with distorted statistics and cherry picked data that’s positioned to create the maximum hysteria. Yes, drugs can be dangerous,  just like alcohol, mountain climbing and horse riding but demonising addicts and users as ruthless, evil outcasts just leads to mob mentality in some parts of the community. 

When someone dies or overdoses, we should be saddened that someone’s wife, father or sister has come to a tragic end. But the reality is morbid and disturbing. There are many self righteous twats who will cruelly say they got what they deserve for using drugs. There are others who understand the complexities of drug use and simply feel sadness for someone else’s loss. They don’t feel the need to judge others for what is a tragic situation. Then there’s those who want revenge but dress it up as demanding justice. 

The latest political football is crime and sentencing. Although we have learnt that extended jail terms, mandatory sentencing or a ‘throw-away-the-key’ policy do not make us any safer, the public demand to be ‘tough on crime’ still dominates the political scene. And those politicians looking to be elected are more than willing to promise a crackdown on lenient sentences and to toughen criminal laws. Their ticket to success is a fearful public and there’s no better panic button than the mention of drugs.

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Gledwood said...

It's funny I found myself pondering some of the well publicized ecstasy deaths we've had here. Of course police put pressure on young naive people, they crack and tell.

With heroin Addicts the situation is different as most know the little tricks Old Bill are likely to play and generally keep shtoom.

But here we're back to groups of naive young people playing about with a genuine (potential) killer drug.

I'd love to be able to say using street heroin wasn't dangerous but my collection of Dead Friends says otherwise.

With Ecstasy: I never knew even a freind of a friend... apart from one girl who said she was on the outside of the social circle of Leah Betts, the most famous ecstasy casualty in this country. Her Dad was a policeman.

Apart from that one exception I never even heard of anyone I knew going to hospital, let alone dying on E!

Heroin is different, which is WHY THEY WANT TO PRESCRIBE PURE, SAFE STUFF TO LONG TERM ADDICTS. I've never heard of anyone on a heroin script dying!

Anonymous said...

Heroin prohibition is a joke.

A randomised controlled trial published in the British Medical Journal concluded that heroin (diamorphine) is a safe and effective form of pain relieft for children as young as 3.

If it's safe enought for 3 year olds then it's safe enough for consenting adults.