A Failed War

Radley Balko despises the war on drugs:

If you look at a graph of the U.S. murder rate going back to about 1915, you’ll notice a few interesting patterns. There’s a spike at around 1919, just at the onset of alcohol prohibition. The graph then takes a dramatic dip in 1933, just after the repeal of prohibition. There’s then another spike in the late 1960s, just as Richard Nixon took office and fired the first shots of his war on drugs. That spike falls in the 1970s as President Carter took a less militant approach to drug prohibition, but then with Reagan’s reinvigorated war in the 1980s, it begins another upward ascent.

This shouldn’t be surprising. Prohibitions create black markets, and black markets spawn crime. Drug prohibition, then, spawns violent crime. There’s a reason we don’t often hear about a Michelob deal gone bad. Because alcohol is legal, there are no turf wars, no sour deals, no smuggling operations to defend.