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America’s Number One Problem

If every American were to make a list of the greatest problems that we, together, are facing as a country, I wonder what they would be? Sometimes we think on more personal levels, rather than the country as a whole, and don’t see how the big picture affects us all.

I suppose that some folks would put climate change high on their list, or the so-called “climate crisis.” Some might say gun control or gun violence. On their drive to work they might notice a man or woman on the street corner holding a sign and asking for help, and think homelessness is a big problem.

Maybe a family member has a drug addiction and it’s ruining their family. Maybe a single mother has to work three jobs to make ends meet, and blames the economy for the situation she is in.

Of course there are those focused on the political dramas of the day, hating Trump, or hating the leftist platforms of the Democrats (yes, I said “hate”). Someone might put on their list that Trump is our number one problem, where others would say that Trump winning in 2020 is essential to saving our country.

As a Conservative, and a Libertarian, it’s easier for me and those like me to look more objectively at the problems our country faces because we are the largest and least represented political group in the country.

In those forever agitated debates on Twitter, people ask me, in various details, how I can support Trump? As a Conservative, it’s not easy, because Trump is very moderate in his thinking, but when it comes to looking at his opposition, which is increasingly far left, then we have no choice but to support the rude, Tweeting President.

If I were to make a list of the key problems that “I think” America is facing, I would only list two. As I look at individual issues I find that most of them are inner related in some way, leading to one or two central problems, which are equally dangerous.

One of the two would be drug trafficking. When you look at gun violence, homelessness, addiction (and all related subcategories), over-crowded court dockets and prisons, nearly all have some relationship to drug addiction or drug trafficking.

Ask any local prosecutor who has had over 30 years’ experience (the recently retired will tell you this also) and they will tell you that the number of prosecutors on a team in any city has grown exponentially over the last five decades, and that the largest percentage of crimes they are prosecuting are drug related.

Ask any police officer with the same amount of experience and they will tell you that the largest percentage of calls they make are drug related.

To find solutions to any problem, you first have to find the root of the problem. There is a big debate, kind of a chicken and egg scenario, of whether the drug trafficking problem is the traffickers or the buyers—in other words the “demand” created for those illegal drugs.

I stand by the fact that the demand wouldn’t exist if users weren’t somehow introduced to the product. Once the product is introduced, and the desire, or addiction, is created, then it’s like trying to stop a runaway train.

The role of the “drug pusher” is no new thing. Only the dynamics of what they are pushing, and where they are pushing it, evolve differently.

A problem as large as this is very complex and has no easy solution. I shake my head when I hear politicians or activists say they want to “end gun violence” or “eliminate homelessness” in their communities. These problems will never end. They can be reduced, but never ended.

President Trump campaigned about building a wall on the Mexican border, which united his supporters who saw illegal immigration as a huge threat to American security. Yeah, Trump said some stupid, generalized things about Hispanic immigrants, but border security was and still is important to going after drug trafficking, and human trafficking as well.

A border wall, however, is just one component of attacking the problem, and it was used so politically that the big picture was rarely talked about. It’s common knowledge that our ports of entry, where people do enter legally, are MAJOR centers for drugs coming across the border. And it’s not just the southern border. We have ports of entry in every international airport, sea ports, and the Canadian border.

Fentanyl, a narcotic, is a serious problem, and it’s smuggled into this country from crime organizations all over the world. Along with methamphetamine, the most dangerous and sought after drug today is heroin mixed with fentanyl. The risks of addiction and death are higher than ever, and it’s blamed for the rapid growth of our homeless populations.

A few weeks back several Americans in Mexico, driving in a convoy of SUVs, were killed in an attack by a Mexican drug cartel. President Trump sent a message to the Mexican President, that if he wanted US assistance in going after the cartels, we were ready and willing to help.

So why don’t we help? This brought to the forefront of our minds just how difficult the situation is. It’s like any real problem, quite often the solution is going so far that people won’t do it.

An all-out assault on drug traffickers, in their own country, would be a foreign relations nightmare. But if it is our number one problem, is it worth it? We did so with terrorists, who kill way fewer Americans than drug trafficking, so why don’t we start a REAL drug war?

Before discussing this idea, let’s go back to the other part of the problem, and that is demand from our own citizens.

One thing about our freedoms, which are afforded to us by our Constitution, is that we not only have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” but we also have the freedom to screw up. If we want to sit in our own home and waste away, that is our right, and our personal business.

Drug use, often recreational, is typically done in the privacy of their own homes. Our Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful search and seizures, therefore, unless there is a “lawful” warrant to enter a home. Sometimes that happens, but the only other way to catch drug users is by somehow catching them on the streets. Even then, probable cause for search and seizure is still a slippery slope.

Looking at this from both ends, foreign relations versus rights of our citizens, is, and always will be, a very complex situation.

When I think of the problems of drug trafficking and attacking it aggressively, I am reminded of the movie “Tombstone” which stars Kurt Russell as the legendary Wyatt Earp. In this story he takes on a group of criminals, referred to as “The Cowboys” and identified by wearing a red sash around their waist.

Wyatt Earp professes his solution to this problem by saying, “I see a red sash, I kill the man wearing it!” He and his deputized men go about doing just that, ridding the area of these ruthless criminals.

I wish it were that easy, because honestly, if these people are truly destroying the world, then they need to be destroyed. However, that only works well in fiction. In reality, all they would have to do is stop wearing the red sash.

The most logical solution would be to hold all countries, not just Mexico, accountable for the flow of illegal products out of their country, and punishing them with sanctions, or offering some sort of aid by doing so. This is an age old tactic. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it backfires.

But what about the problem of the users? If a drug war erupted and suddenly the supply went on a rapid decline, what would happen with those horribly addicted? Remember, most of our crimes today are drug related. They commit these crimes—such as breaking and entering to steal something to sell and buy more drugs—when they are desperate for more.

Who, with any sound mind, would dwindle all their assets, ultimately living on the street, just to get high on drugs? Someone with a controlling, powerful addiction, that’s who. They aren't in their right mind, and the result would be chaos.

Ask any director of an addiction program or rehabilitation center what the success rate is of people leaving their programs, and they would tell you that, first of all, 90 percent of people who need drug rehabilitation don’t even get it. Of the ones who do get it, statistics vary, but in general more than 70 percent don’t stay drug free. One center here in Missouri claimed less than a 10 percent success rate.

According to American Addiction Centers, drug overdoses are the number one cause of “injury-related” death in the US, over 40,000 a year. If we care about people, and we want to attack the most deadly and avoidable problems in our country, this is it.

So why don’t we? Why are we more focused on school shootings, which are way fewer in number than any drug related violent crime, and ultimately on gun control legislation? Politics, baby. Corruption, my friend. Greed! On both sides of the border.

Drug trafficking, addiction, and related deaths in this country aren’t talked about on a daily basis, unless you work for the DEA, DHS, Border Patrol, or local law enforcement. The media, in other words, would rather focus on a different topic, something more dramatic and sensational.

Which brings up the equal, if not bigger problem in our country: the corrupt media and the rise of the political Alt-Left.

More on that next week.

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