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To reduce crime, Baltimore needs to rescind the war on drugs | READER COMMENTARY

Money, firearms and illegal drugs are the items customarily confiscated when police crack down on criminal behavior like the above taken from a home on Edgevale Road in West Baltimore. Legalization would put an end to drug trafficking and, as a result, reduce gun violence, proponents claim. File.
Money, firearms and illegal drugs are the items customarily confiscated when police crack down on criminal behavior like the above taken from a home on Edgevale Road in West Baltimore. Legalization would put an end to drug trafficking and, as a result, reduce gun violence, proponents claim. File. (Anne Arundel County Police Depar /)

In a recent column, Dan Rodricks writes: “Most of us are still scratching our heads, wondering why all this killing continues” (“Did outburst of killing put crime top-of-mind again as Baltimoreans vote?” May 26).

Why? I’d like to offer my two cents. I know why at least the majority of “all this killing” continues, and most of you do also. It’s because of the drug trade and the “territorial disputes” that the trade creates and sustains, thanks chiefly to the violence-causing “war on drugs” started by Richard Nixon almost 50 years ago. The creepy gift that keeps on giving.

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And here we cower, half a century later, holding onto the notion that somehow this year, this generation will be different. It’s the classic doing the same stupid things repeatedly and expecting a different result paradigm. This town, with its sky-high murder rate, will never be a safe place to live, especially for the people ducking their heads in the worst neighborhoods, until we demand that the powers-that-be, as a first step on a long journey, rescind the Category I classification for cannabis (the same substance being legally sold all over town and this nation).

The next step would be to enact the models offered by the Portugals of this world, which result in a massive drop in murderous violence wherever drugs are treated as a health matter and not a criminal one. And finally? At its core, I’m proposing that we, the people, essentially grow up and act like the adults we should be and deal with drug addiction just like we deal with alcohol addiction.

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Is this too radical a notion for you? Then you’re most likely not touched by the quotidian carnage. And you persist in letting our fearful leaders off the hook. And, perhaps, you are insane.

David Kennedy, Baltimore

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