Maybe one day
Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011
* One of my greatest disappointments in life is that the citizenry and our civic and political leaders repeatedly refuse to understand the extremely valuable lessons from Prohibition.
If you outlaw something that the people really want, they’re gonna get it anyway and it’ll be the outlaws who’ll supply them. For instance, here’s a story from today’s Tribune…
The recent legalization of video poker machines has been blasted by opponents as immoral and, weirdly enough, a boost to organized crime. The plain fact that just about every tavern in the state currently has the machines, and that the vast majority pay out illegally, and that many of those machines are controlled by the Outfit doesn’t seem to penetrate.
If you want to really hurt the mob, then cut it off from video poker. The best way to do that is by legalizing and regulating video poker. As far as the morality, I’m a big proponent of leaving individual morality up to the individual. Regulate it, sure, but banning it creates more problems than legalization. A legalized system won’t lead to bombs being planted by gangsters.
This is really not all that difficult to comprehend, and there is an even more direct historical connection than Prohibition. The state lottery destroyed the numbers rackets here.
* So, it was a pleasant surprise to watch Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s speech the other day marking the 40th anniversary of the nation’s “War on Drugs.” From her address…
She didn’t explicitly call for legalization, but we cannot correct the problem until we first recognize that what we’ve done so far has been an abject failure. She most certainly sees that.
* Chicago’s new Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy also seems to have a grasp of the real problem here…
You want to stop violent drug-related crime? Well, it’s a pretty darned safe bet that Walgreen’s and CVS employees aren’t going to be shooting at each other if their employers are the ones selling pot.