The Drug War Makes Us Stupid

A few days ago, SSDP’s ED Micah Daigle received this email:

Dear Micah,

I think personally it is absolutely disgusting that you would have a story on Rachel Hoffman that comes to her defense. She was everything that was wrong with this situation. She was helping the war on drugs. I don’t care how the police twisted her mind and told her things. The simple fact was she was an under cover informant. To support someone who helps ruin peoples lives is something that is supported by SSPD? Things like this are the sole fact I believe there are huge holes in your organization and truly no firm stance on any one subject. These reasons are the reasons are dismembered the chapter I started at Northern Illinois University. Please try to think about what you are supporting and who. YOU GUYS ARE SUPPORTING AN UNDERCOVER AGENT.

A concerned citizen

Micah shared the email with me and needless to say, it infuriated me at first. But then I realized that this is the mentality our drug policies produce. Here is someone who supports the reform of marijuana laws writing to us that SSDP is wrong because we supported Rachel Hoffman’s family in what I consider to be one of the worst drug war tragedies to ever occur.

So what if she became an informant? She should have never been put in that position in the first place. Rachel Hoffman didn’t have some cooked up plan to start putting people behind bars and the 2 murderers that she did agree to help arrest weren’t her friends. She was scared and confused and being threatened with a jail sentence.

Rachel was not “everything that was wrong with this situation.” Maybe the author of that email hasn’t heard the story so I’ll remind him of everything that went wrong with Rachel’s situation:

  1. Marijuana is illegal.
  2. Non-violent drug offenders face jail time.
  3. Police waste resources, tax dollars, and man hours on people like Rachel Hoffman
  4. The police department asked Rachel to purchase 1,500 ecstasy pills, 2 ounces of cocaine, and a handgun (which was contrary to department policy as it opened the opportunity for the suspected criminals to explain the presence of the gun), using $13,000 cash in a buy-bust operation.
  5. The police knew the criminal history of the men she was supposed to meet.
  6. The police lost track of Rachel during the sting.
  7. She was murdered with the handgun the police sent her to purchase.

So go ahead and talk the talk. Maybe you’ve even walked the walk. But to truly comprehend both effective drug policy and personal liberty, you’ll need to realize that the drug war has turned you into the same type of monster that it has turned the police department that blamed Rachel for her own death. You’re the same as gang members and drug cartels that kill each other for snitching. You’re mentality is the same as the 2 men that murdered her.

This is a human being. A human life. And yes, she did turn informant and that would have put 2 men behind bars. Two murderers behind bars that quite frankly belong right where they are.

Furthermore, Rachel’s death spawned the creation of the Rachel’s Law in Florida which “requires law enforcement agencies to (a) provide special training for officers who recruit confidential informants, (b) instruct informants that reduced sentences may not be provided in exchange for their work, and (c) permit informants to request a lawyer if they want one.”