Commentary Magazine


Contentions

My Crack-Cocaine Problem

Was it great news when the United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously earlier this month to lighten punishments retroactively for crimes involving crack cocaine?

The shift will eliminate a disparity in the legal treatment of this drug as opposed to the powdered form of cocaine, which was erroneously assumed to be less dangerous when the sentences were written into law. The result of this softening of the glove is that some 19,500 inmates may win freedom within months.

In Coney Island, my gritty neighborhood, which Mayor Bloomberg has talked grandiloquently about reviving even as he lets it further decay, we continue to have a drug problem. The well-meaning people who run The Salt And Sea Mission Church have set up a homeless shelter along the main street — Mermaid Avenue –which, whatever else it does, is a magnet for alcoholics and drug addicts who congregate aimlessly on the sidewalks and menace passersby.

How many of the 19,500 newly released crack-heads will migrate to this charming spot? I am so eager to greet multitudes of them on the sidewalks as I walk to and from the subway.

Which raises a question that arises out of a reversal of that favorite slogan of the Left: “think local and act global.” What is the best way to deal with homeless rogues menacing you on the street. Typically, I keep a wide berth. I do not engage them in dialogue or lecture them about following the rules of the road (or the sidewalk).

This in turn makes me wonder all the more why the United States government is now talking to rogue states all around the world–North Korea, Syria, and Iran–trying to engage them in dialogue and get them to follow the rules of the road. “Seven years of President Bush’s Don’t-Talk-to-Evil policy are over, even under the helm of the administration that crafted it,” the New York Times is gloating.

This is the foreign-policy equivalent of talking with crack-addicts in one’s neighborhood with the idea of getting them to reform. Unsurprisingly, the Times is in favor of that, too. Its editorial page describes the prospective release of 19,500 crack-cocaine users as “a positive development, one with much potential for advancing justice.”

The editors of the Times evidently do not live in Coney Island, and it shows in their understanding of both local and international affairs.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.