Sunday, April 5, 2009

"We've turned into an American city.”

Recent article from Assoc. Press. When are we going to learn the Drug War does nothing but enrich cartels, destabilizes importing countries, and wastes enormous sums that could be used for treatment and education of drug abusers. The US has the highest prison population of any "civilized" country, and a majority of this incarceration is for lower class, non-violent users of illegal drugs. White collar upper class or famous idiot drug abusers like Rush Limbaugh for example, do not go to prision. 


With its spectacular bay and stunning, snowcapped peaks, Vancouver easily ranks as one of the world's most beautiful cities. But in recent months, the people of Canada's Olympic city have been living in fear.


Even as
Vancouver prepares to host the 2010 Winter Games, its crime rate is going up. Since January alone, there have been 45 shootings in the region, 17 of them fatal. There were 58 murders last year in this region of 2.7 million people, up from 41 the year before, according to the regional Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

The root of the problem seems to be drugs, or rather a shortage of them.

The Mexican cocaine supply line extends through the
United States, especially Los Angeles, up to Vancouver, according to Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superintendent Pat Fogarty. But now the Mexican government of President Felipe Calderón has mobilized 45,000 soldiers and 5,000 federal police to curb cartel activity. That has driven up the price of cocaine in Vancouver from $23,300 per kilogram to almost $39,000, Fogarty says, and gangs are killing each other.

"People are nervous ... and so are the police," says Fogarty, head of the regional gang task force. "The public's outraged. The government's outraged."

Vancouver social activist Jamie Lee Hamilton, who lives in Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside, says she no longer has much faith in the justice system.


"I'm really apprehensive about going out in the evening,"
Hamilton says. "We've turned into an American city.

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