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By Dries Van Thielen
Over the weekend, The Libertarian Republic reported on Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturning the Holder Doctrine, thusly favoring stricter penalties for low-level drug offenders. These penalties include the unjustifiable mandatory minimums. Sessions memos were criticized by many individuals – most prominently by Rand Paul who called the re-introduction of mandatory minimums “unfair for they disproportionately incarcerate too many minorities for too long”.
Jeff Sessions is a Racist!
Democracy Now went further on the topic of the “War on Drugs” and mandatory minimums with guests Carl Hart, professor of psychology at Columbia and Anthony Papa, a two-time convicted low-level, non-violent drug offender. When host Amy Goodman turned to Hart on the topic of mandatory minimums, he started out similar to Sen. Paul’s answer: “Everybody knows that the war on drugs, as has been fought since the 1980s, has had a disproportionate negative impact on specific community: black communities, Latino communities. Everyone knows that”.
But soon after, Hart went down a – uncalled for – darker pathway: “So let’s call Jeff Sessions what he is. Jeff Sessions is a racist if he takes on this action. It’s clear. We know it. So let’s stop playing around with it”.
Mandatory Minimums Do Not Work
Anthony Papa – convicted for transporting an envelope of cocaine – was harsh on Sessions but did not felt the need to pull the race-card: “Sessions wants the prosecutors to use to sentence even low-level, nonviolent drug offenders or even people who are addicted to drugs to many, many years in prison. It’s a proven fact that this policy wasted billions of dollars, and, more importantly, many human lives were wasted in this action in the past”.
Why Don’t We Ban Cars?
By the end of the interview, Hart finally started making some sense when he stated: “About 13,000 people die every year from heroin-related overdoses, whereas 35,000 people die from automobile accidents. We don’t ban automobiles. Instead, we have regulations, and we try to make sure that people stay safe. We have speed limits. We have seat belts. We have all of these sorts of things. But with the opioids, we’re talking about arresting people”.