Wednesday, September 30, 2015

LEAP Nomination

I recommend Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) because they work on the root cause of the most pressing health, security, and civil rights subject in the United States: the war on drugs.

Recent CDC data shows that heroin use now qualifies as an epidemic. The Center attributes the heroin boom to the prescription opioid boom of the last 20 years. The drug war approach disables the most vulnerable from finding help.

Prohibition's emphasis on arrest yields an exceptional imbalance: the US has 5% of the world's people, but 25% of its prisoners. Incarceration does not rehabilitate offenders. Quite the opposite. Data clearly shows that the incarcerated are at higher risk for re-admission - and that their families, especially their children, experience higher risk for incarceration.

That dynamic is a clear and present national security risk, including to California. Just this last weekend, in Chicago, more than 50 people were shot. For the second straight weekend. That city appears in eBay merchandise as "Chi-raq" and in the lyrics of popular music, "I feel the pain in my city wherever I go/314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago".

Lastly, law enforcement suffers in militarized and combative "war footing" relationship to the communities that they police. In our politics, we experience a trade-off between prison guards - who mostly guard drug offenders - and, eg, public school educators.

Lastly, I want to recognize LEAP's core values as consistent with eBay's: people are basically good. Trust, transparency, and connected commerce matter. They have a unique capability to reach an influential constituency - police. And they enjoy professional respect as exemplified by appearance in the recent VicexHBO production "Fixing the System" alongside the President of the United States.

The prohibition against certain drugs enforced by war is not working. I nominate Law Enforcement Against Prohibition for their brave leap to improve public health and public safety.

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