Crack v. Opioids and Violence v. Racism
Here’s is a PBS commentary by law professor Ekow Yankah:
That Kroger, the Midwestern grocery chain, has decided to make the heroin overdose drug naloxone available without a prescription is a sign of how ominous the current epidemic has grown.
Faced with a rising wave of addiction, misery, crime and death, our nation has linked arms to save souls. Senators and CEOs, Midwestern pharmacies and even tough-on-crime Republican presidential candidates now speak with moving compassion about the real people crippled by addiction.
It wasn’t always this way. Thirty years ago, America was facing a similar wave of addiction, death and crime, and the response could not have been more different. Television brought us endless images of thin, black, ravaged bodies, always with desperate, dried lips. We learned the words crack baby.
Back then, when addiction was a black problem, there was no wave of national compassion. Instead, we were warned of super predators, young, faceless black men wearing bandannas and sagging jeans.
Yankah goes on:
Today, police chiefs facing heroin addiction are responding not by invoking war, but by trying to save lives and get people into rehab. Suddenly, crime is understood as a sign of underlying addiction, rather than a scourge to be eradicated.
One former narcotics officers said: “These are people. They have a purpose in life, and we can’t look at it any other way.”
But he couldn’t quite put his finger on just what had changed. His words reflect our collective self-denial. It is hard to describe how bittersweet many African-Americans feel witnessing this. Glad to be rid of a failed war on drugs? Yes, but also weary and embittered. When the faces of addiction had dark skin, the police didn’t see sons and daughters, sister and brothers. They saw brothas, young thugs to be locked up, not people with a purpose in life.
No one laments the violence the crack bomb set off more than African-Americans. But how we respond to the crimes accompanying addiction depends on how much we care about those affected. White heroin addicts get overdose treatment, rehabilitation and reincorporation. Black drug users got jail cells and just say no.
This view that differences in how the crack and opioid epidemics are treated is due to racism is popular. It is also wrong. Here’s an article in aptly named Vice:
Past epidemics were also often presaged or accompanied by a major rise in arrestees testing positive for the drug of the moment. But that hasn’t been true this go around either, according to Eric Wish, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, who has run the longest study monitoring this data in Washington, DC. In America’s peak crack years, as many as two thirds of people who got arrested in DC—regardless of the charge—tested positive for that drug. These days, only six percent are positive for opioids, Wish told me.
So nobody is complaining about a new wave of opioid superpredators because… there is no wave of opioid superpredators. How very racist. To help someone overcome their addiction, treatment like an Online suboxone from recovery delivered can be recommended.
Here’s a graph from a report prepared by the DoJ looking at drug related crime in Michigan High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) region:
(Click to embiggenize.)
Here’s some verbage to make that pie chart clear:
Crack cocaine is the drug that contributes to most crime in the HIDTA region. According to the NDTS 2010, 29 of the 51 state and local law enforcement respondents in the Michigan HIDTA region identify crack as the drug most associated with violent crime; 26 respondents report the same for property crime. (See Figures 4 and 5.) The distribution and abuse of cocaine, heroin, and other drugs are also associated with a large amount of the crime in the Michigan HIDTA region. Violent crime, much of which is drug-related, is a serious problem in the HIDTA region, especially in Detroit and Flint. Approximately 75 percent of property crime that occurs in the HIDTA region is drug-related.
In other words, crack users are responsible for a heck of a lot more violent crime than opioid users. To summarize everything in a form that even Professor Yankah might understand: ask a guy to help to help an inoffensive addict dying in squalor and he might kick in a few bucks. Ask him to help the addict who broke into his house and pistol-whipped his wife… that ain’t happening. Calling the guy a racist for being pissed off at the predator isn’t smart. But it is par for the course for someone missing either the ability or the intellectual curiosity to fire up a search engine before spouting off.
As an aside, I wrote about Professor Yankah’s inane opinions on race and violence in my last post. Since he is a prominent law school professor who seems to be afforded a big soapbox by prestigious elements of the press, I was wondering what other bad opinions he might hold. I went looking, and the result was this post.
You might save your efforts here. The guy is a race hustler and does not care at all what the evidence actually is. He doesn’t give a hoot about honest inquiry. His livelihood doesn’t depend on such honest inquiry and quite possibly it depends on the opposite.
What can I say? I guess you’re not very “hip.”
Just watched (i)Al Pacino’s The Panic in Needle Park(/i). “Needle park” is about 72nd Broadway in Manhattan — about a long (1/3 mile east-west) block from Central Park West (Eighth Avenue). I went for a blood test at a door right off 74th and CPW around that time. Before I went in I saw a tall, 35 year old may running 3/4 speed all the way down the block. When you are 17 you run 3/4 speed for nothing — when you’re 35 you have to have a reason. I watched as he climbed over the park wall and disappeared over a hill a quarter mile away.
Came out and saw two dopies looking into the back of a van. Remember
the scene where Al cops a color TV out of the back of a repair van (not very likely scenario for any van owner not from North Dakota). I can tell you authoritatively that that TV went for $400 new — $2000 in today’s money — electronics were a gold mine for dope fiends back then — one TV could keep you high for days.
Anyway one dopie says “He’s coming” — it was a vacuum repairman with hoses around his neck. So I watch them cross the street and head south until they go into park entrance at 72nd — at which point two more dopies came bobbing along with that funny walk they have, looking in cars for stereos (Al didn’t have a partner — street junkies always have partners).
1970 I stayed for a few months in a “pre-detention center” right down the block from Washington Square Park — formally known as the Village Plaza Hotel at 79 Washington Place — reportedly had so many armed robberies because of the heroin epidemic that they didn’t even call the cops if they didn’t get any money — reportedly. An ex-junkie kid told me a couple of years later how a friend of his in the Hotel Waverly on the next block was shooting up and one junkie came in the window to rob him and one came in the door and they scared each other off. :-O
Methadone keeps dopies out of your fire escape window today. No legal equivalent for crack I guess — like opioids for super fly.
So, shall we discuss where the CIA marketed its crack cocaine to fund the contras?
There is no end.
This site is doomed.
Yankah is offered a soap box. He reminds me of Larry Kudlow in some ways. He has a preconceived idea, a party line, and he repeats it come what may. But digging into Kudlow’s nonsense can be helpful. For one, some people learn something from the refutation. For another, the “always wrong” aspect can point you in the right direction. As an example, I was able to realize that the economy was in trouble and wrote posts about it in early 2007 specifically because I noticed that so much of the support Kudlow was using for his notion that the US was enjoying what he termed a “Goldilocks economy” was wrong or misleading.
I’m a middle aged, white collar guy whose hobby is playing with data. Obviously I am the epitome of cool.
Opioids are particularly cheap these days because a group of clowns decided to invade Afghanistan because of the actions of a group of mostly Saudi citizens on 9/11. But regardless of how a drug ends up in the US, it doesn’t change the optics. Sure, the statistics show that crack addiction is associated with a lot more crime, including violent crime, than opioid addiction. But that is actually pretty obvious (albeit apparently not to Yankah) even to most people who don’t look up any numbers. From there, it is a simple matter of people having more sympathy for those who aren’t out engaging in mayhem.
As I noted in the post – someone dying quietly at home from his/her addiction generates sympathy in a lot of people. Someone assaulting passers by, or shooting it out over turf with a fellow addict does not.
I am old enough to remember the theory that heroin addicts had to steal because they stayed so high that they could not possibly hold down a job.
That they were either so high as to be barely aware of their surroundings or beginning to suffer from withdrawal. There were no hours of normal.
This was never about race, it was about joblessness, hopelessness, desperation. Those were more commonly found in the black community in the late 1960s and 1970s. Today they are in all communities.
This equal opportunity decay was brought to America by Global Free Trade!
Mr Kimel doesn’t like influential blacks who have a soap-box
Mr. Kimel uses yet another of is indefensible relationships of A to B.
Mr Kimel uses twisted illogic combined with a heavy dose of white supremacy aka racist belief systems.
I will say this though about AB’s persistence in hosting Mr. Kimel’s posts: Mr Kimel offers readers with what all racist xenophobic white nationalists use to incite and defend their racism and xenophobia.
I have 2 long time (30 years) racist xenophobe neighbors with whom I’m well acquainted. We visit often for dinners, parties, beer bouts by the pool, as well as help one another out with projects,borrowing tools, onions & such.
One of these neighbors and I discovered witin two brief converstaions that we were on completely opposite sides of social, economic, and religious belief systems. We agreed however that neither of us could ever persuade the other to change those beliefs, so we never have argued. We do defend our positions though on things as they arise in the news or media or TV movies etc. As a result I have heard every one of Mr. Kimel’s racisms for 30 years defended just as he defends his… without ever admitting their racism in direct words.
The other neighbor on the other hand didn’t discover that I was on the opposing side of racism and religious “doctrine” for the first 10 years though we spoke and visited often enough for it to have been relatively obvious to them if they’d had a clue that I wasn’t of their persuasions. As a result I was able to hear many of their unabashed racisms and xenophobia’s spoken in my preens as if I was “one of them.” I admit to my slight subterfuge in not jumping in to show my full colors … it took me awhile in their case … but when I did finally dispute an obvious direct racist statement they had nothing to say in their defense. We changed the subject. However that hasn’t stopped them from clearly stating their racist views in my presence — perhaps more as a friendly jibe (since I’m a minority liberal in my neighborhood) than anything meant is resentment.
Mind you though, neither of these neighbors will directly state that their racists in simple words.
On the other hand, the father of one of these neighbors (an good ol’boy from the mid-west) is as openly unabashed and direct as any southern anti-bellum planter, using the n-word as a pejorative in every other sentence or multiple times in a single sentence. Interestingly though we became pretty close friends of the years he visited… despite his unabashed racisms .. he uses them more to see if he can “bait” me into arguing with him — I never do — old dogs and new tricks kind of thing — He thinks his son-in-law (my neighbor) is a “sissy” for not just saying straight out he thinks blacks and Mexicans and Vietnamese are scum and beneath contempt. .. and his father-in-law knows it well. I told his father-in-law that he can’t because he lives Northern California and it would be too far off the wall in this environment.
So Mr. Kimel uses the same illogic and belief systems as my two racist neighbors have for 30 years. They and he are typical so perhaps RB is doing readers a service by letting these types expose themselves with their methods of arguing their racist beliefs without admitting they’re racists.
Full disclosure: I’m an atheist, cosmopolitan, socially and economically liberal realist.
Therefore, to cite my realism for example, Bernie and the Bernie-bros use over-the-top simplicities in proposing their visions of a single payer system in health care in the U.S. without addressing the systemic institutionalisms and issues that need to be resolved to make it work even remotely in the U.S. anytime in the foreseeable future with the advantage of low cost/high quality health care for every tom, dick, and harry resident in the U.S.
On racism, for another example of my realisms, the U.S. can’t rid itself or even mitigate it’s institutionalized racisms in the population until it relinquishes it’s love affair with individualism — of which “states rights”, and “right to bear arms” are perfect examples of it, not to mention those “individual rights” along with it’s libertarianism.
How this is done I can only conjecture and perhaps only just hope things can change in the long run (in which we are all dead anyway so does the “long run” even matter?), but “free speech” must have some enforceable limits for one thing.
But what I can do is 1) vote, and 2) voice my opinions in public… if for no other reason than to let those I’m congregating and conversing with know there is a different view of things then those they harbor and may believe “most people” they know and converse with also believe.
Changing most peoples’ beliefs and perceptions isn’t done very often after they reach 25 even if it’s possible before then to some limited extent. But exposing them to others who don’t have these strong individualism views or immersing them in environments that expose them to a large number other views (public universities? perhaps).
My only influence is by voting and making my positions known to others, preferably to others not of the same views as my own… speaking to the choir is like talking to yourself in the mirror. I have a vote and voice and to change anything requires using both as often as possible — voting is 1x per 2 years at best… not nearly as frequently as I can use my voice (speech, etc).
Mr Kimel uses AB to voice his views to those who are mostly unlikely to share then (AB’s readers tend to be of the more liberal persuasions) which is precisely what I do to have some if any influence as I stated in my prior comment.
Unfortunately for Mr.Kimel AB readers are also pretty much well in excess of age 25. so his influence is ‘nil in this environment.
The only advantage of Mr. Kimel’s posts on AB is for readers to learn how people use illogic, implied relationships between points A & B where there is no relationship, and hide their unsupportable prejudices behind selective “independent” news and “expert” articles written by people with Mr. Kimel’s same views. I’m surprised he hasn’t cited Breitbart sources yet.
At least the law professor tries to make an argument instead of just launching into tirades about racist xenophobe white nationalists.
Do you like Germany; do you like how they run their country. Difference with us: Germany and German politics is run for and owned by labor unions: meaning owned and run for the needs of the average person.
I know nobody ever thinks about unions here: gone so therefore culturally forgotten. Time to re-awake awareness.
Most exciting (as in “cool”) way to get there:
Why Not Hold Union Representation Elections on a Regular Schedule?
Published November 1st, 2017 – Andrew Strom
Best idea yet — play perfectly into Repub tactic forcing government unions to recertify yearly.
I would start out suckering conservatives in: pushing for a law to re-certify all unions (gov or private economy) yearly. How could Repubs refuse? Unions would know what was really up of course: if Repubs take bait on unions that already exist, how can they explain away not supporting elections where unions don’t exist? Be a lot of fun for the right playful politician. Once most workplaces have unions we can move the certification/re-certification up to three or five years (good to keep out of sync with election cycles.
As Dennis Drew noted, I am not the hippest guy around. I do get the impression that heroine addicts of yore tended to be low energy. They might sustain their addiction through crime for a brief period, but that industriousness faded fast and was followed by a long slow descent.
I am not sure how functional the current batch of opioid users is but my guess is that after a bit of time, most of them aren’t productive citizens.
Read the law professor’s argument. It is not so much devoid of data, but rather, as I pointed out, contrary to the known facts. But it quickly moves to an assumption that anyone who doesn’t worry about a wave of opioid super predators like they worried about crack super predators is a racist, despite the fact that there is no wave of opioid predators remotely comparable to the crack predators.
The Economist noted a little while ago that 7 million people voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2012. Did they all become racists all of a sudden? What’s the mechanism for that? But read the previous post I wrote about Yankah and he reaches that conclusion. Vote for Trump = racist.
Also, I treat the law professor no more and no less respectfully than I treated the above mentioned Larry Kudlow’s whose arguments at least made an effort to conform with the available data.
I can’t tell stories about racist neighbors like you can. That’s because I chose to live in a neighborhood very different from the one you chose to live in and continue to live in. In a recently released ranking of the most diverse elementary schools in CA, three of the top five lie within a few miles of my house, and my son attends one of them. Based on what you’ve written in comments in the past, it seems you made very different choices for your kids. You are happy to criticize your neighbors for voicing the opinions that you have obviously acted on. And you criticize me for not acting the same way you do. So I read what you write as hypocritical pap.
And what are you railing against? Me criticizing some law professor who wants to hold people to different standards depending on whether they are from one group or another? By the way – what is the definition of racism, if not wanting to judge people by different standards depending on which racial or ethnic group from which they hail?
I’ve been pretty consistent. I have had post after post after post indicating I want all people held to the same standard as much as possible. That is what you keep calling that racist or xenophobic or whatever. I don’t think much of GW, but he did call out this attitude correctly when he referred to the soft bigotry of low expectations. You are full of that soft bigotry, which you combine with your hard bigotry of trying to live as far as possible for whom you have that soft bigotry.
As an example, in this post I am noting that this law professor is exercised that nobody is as aggravated about the non-existent wave of opioid superpredators as they were about the very real and still in existence wave of crack superpredators. What possible justification or benefit is there in creating this nonsensical narrative that he is putting together? And what is the benefit you get from defending it?
“I can’t tell stories about racist neighbors like you can. That’s because I chose to live in a neighborhood very different from the one you chose to live in and continue to live in.”
Little work with direct objects would be appropriate here.
Revealed preference reveals preference. Its been a theme of mine for a while. And it applies to Longtooth, and me, and you, and Yankah, and everyone else.
I’m talking about walking in other people’s shoes for awhile and you’re talking about economic theory.
Again, revealed preference. You aren’t walking in someone ekse’s Shoes if you are horrified by the thought of living in the same neighborhood. Now pl see, tell me about theory again.
“Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”
Sorry Mike I wan’t very clear. I’m sympathetic to many of your arguments but it seems like your opponents in the comments section aren’t arguing with facts but rather emotions.
And if you do get just as exercised about the non-existent wave of opioid superpredators as you do about the real world wave of crack super predators, you are the sucker who was taken in by the grift.
kimel i’m talking about racist ahs. You should look around the table more carefully, I’m sure your neighbors have.
fwiw, when I bought property here, and saved to build a modest small house on it, those that moved In at the same time were all-most al liberals … teachers, professors, plumbers, engineers with young families moving well beyond the urban area’s we worked in because it was affordable tor young families without wealth.
As more people realized that affordable lots and home building was available in our neighborhood development, and property values rose in the urban area’s to the north more and more higher income people sold their urban high priced homes and built in our neighborhood or bought homes when people sold…. so within 10 years or our moving in the neighborhood had already begun to change to more and more wealthy people building lager and larger more expensive and expansive “villas” ‘. The black families that lived here from the time I moved in, began to leave.. .(15% – 20% of the homes were owned and occupied by black families initially) .. I knew several of those black families either because we worked at the same location or by chance meeting at the neighborhood pool. Those I knew that moved out did so because their home’s value increased and because the neighborhood had changed to become much more elitist and conservative.. as illustrated by my neighbors mentioned in my prior comment..
As for public schools in the district .. they were ~ 25% poor white small famers kids, 40% Chicano laborer’s kids, a small number of black kids and the rest middle and lower middle income whites when we moved here (before our kids were of school age).
My kids attended these public schools from 1st through 12th.. one high-school until very recently. When they attended the racial mix had changed slightly 30% Chicano’s 15% poor white small farmer’s kids a few more blacks and the rest were solid middle class having moved here as the town became more and more part of the outskirts of urbana… and a freeway was built cutting commute times in half.
Both my children exceeded .. both attended and graduated with professional degrees from UC system schools. Both went through some “hard-knocks ” times after graduating — finding out how the real world worked, but soon figured it out and both become high income high upper middle income earners — my daughter without the benefits (or lack thereof… depending on how you look at it) of being married and working both in SoCal, NYC, and more recently in NorCal… not with national corporations but finding opportunities with small company’s she could help grow into big ones … and she did (national and international companies now)..
My point is only that the public schools here were perfectly well suited to educating our youth and allowing them to obtain entrance into the best schools in the nation … though most were not even close to affordable by me .. some offering nice scholarships and ths affordable but with strings attached my kids wouldn’t accept. They got through college on a shoe-string, getting odd jobs when they could afford the time an the bare minimum from my wife and I… though I’m sure my wife augmented it without my knowledge. WE provided them with no transportation, and whien they got loans to buy used cars (without our cosigning the loans), they paid their own insurance and maintenance costs.. which made them quite much more aware of the real costs vehicle ownership…. watching them grow up during their college years and shortly after was fun for me to watch.. how kids become responsible productive adults has a lot to do with learning by hard-knocks.
So I chose to live here because it was affordable and liberal at the time.. it grew unaffordable and conservative in short order however. It’s been a high end bedroom community (separated by zoning from the actual urban center by small farms) for the last 15 years now and becoming more and more unaffordable with larger and larger homes and wealthier and wealthier people every year. It’ basically now a high upper middle to middle upper income residential community with some reasonably sized profitable tech and non-tech company’s having moved down here…by far most commute to the heart of Silicon Valley every day… or work from home. That said however price per square foot here is ~ 50% to 2/3’s that of points north…. far more residential ownership bang for the buck with more than just sufficient and even superior services and amenities. within 4 miles (most within 2 miles) of where anybody lives…without local traffic congestion and lots of stoplights, though ample free public parking is now not nearly as ample as it was……a new public parking garage (the first one) now under construction.
So I chose to live here because it was low priced, highly diverse racially, lower to middle income liberal small community within a reasonable commute to work (22 minutes door to door with no freeway… but now, during non-commute times its 16 minutes (a 6-8 lane freeway now) or 35 – 40 minutes during commute times). Interesting as well.. it used to take me 4 minutes from my driveway to parking downtown for shopping, dentist, restaurants.. it now take 8 minutes because of all the stop lights installed enroute as the town grew. Population growth and expansion never ceases.
Mr. KImel you lied again in your reponse to me:
“You are happy to criticize your neighbors for voicing the opinions…”
I have never criticized anybody or my neighbors for voicing their opinions at all, not even remotely, nor did I say I criticize them at all for voicing their opinions to me.
I criticize them for their racism and xenophobia.
So quit lying about what I state in my posts
So your neighbors believe that people of different groups should be held to different standards than others? Because otherwise you are either lying about racism is, or what your neighbors’ views are.
And your whole story about having moved and then…. there goes the neighborhood. You know you aren’t required to stay somewhere if you find your neighbors’ views offensive. As you note, your home has appreciated a lot in value. My bet is you can purchase a home seventeen or eighteen times as large in East St. Louis, to provide one example, for what you’d get if you sold your house. You are making a choice about who you want as neighbors, and then complaining about who those neighbors are but studiously avoiding getting a new batch of neighbors.