If There is Only One Thing You Watch Today, Make it This Al-Jazeera Report on the Drug War in Baltimore

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Eapen Thampy


The election of the first black US president offered hope to millions of African Americans across the country. But have four years of an Obama presidency seen positive change for black communities in the US’ inner cities? Fault Lines’ Sebastian Walker spends time with those on the front lines of the failed drug war to understand some fundamental dynamics of race, poverty, incarceration and economic truths in the US in an election year.

Hat Tip: Tom Angell, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

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11 Responses to “If There is Only One Thing You Watch Today, Make it This Al-Jazeera Report on the Drug War in Baltimore”

  1. #1 |  DoubleU | 

    I already watched my one thing today.

  2. #2 |  Eapen Thampy | 

    Oh come on

  3. #3 |  Adrian | 

    LOL, got yourself some sarcy commenters! :)

    It’s an interesting video, treading familiar grounds to long-time Agitator followers.

  4. #4 |  Felix | 

    He didn’t say it wasn’t this. Maybe he just doesn’t want to watch it twice :-)

  5. #5 |  TGGP | 

    Reading Mark Kleiman has left me more sympathetic to the mayor’s perspective that violence can be reduced, even if many of the city’s neighborhoods still seem terrible.

  6. #6 |  Frank Koza | 

    at 13:25 – “1 in every 100 US citizens is behind bars”?

    Really?!? It’s only about .73 in every 100, but we only need another 33% increase to get there.

    As Obama says, “Yes, we can!”

  7. #7 |  Chris C. | 

    I’ve lived in the Baltimore area for all of my 61 years, except for 4 years in the Army. Yes, the murder rate fluctuates, but the rates of drug use are always high (as are those for STDs). There is a pervasive feeling that nothing will really “work” to improve things, and the various mayors seem enamored of the usual splashy programs to improve city life. Former mayor and now governor O’Malley (who is head of the Democratic Governors Assn) was big on statistical analysis, which is turning out to be another name for fudging the numbers. The mayor between O’Malley and Rawlings-Blake, who was forced from office for petty corruption, began a Formula One race last year, and as is usually the case, the organizers went out of business owing everyone money, and the downtown merchants and hotels basically broke even. Rawlings-Blake, not deterred by this, has found a new race organizer, so we’ll get to play this out again. (Although this group seems to be more professional and, dare I say it, honest.) But in the end it’s just an ego-boost for a politician, because the Labor Day race merely moves the tourist money around from one set of vendors to another, while screwing up traffic for a month. It also destroyed scores of trees that had lined the downtown streets on which the race was run to provide better sight lines. The only winners are the politicians and those people that value a street race more than a sightseeing Labor Day experience at the Inner Harbor. Rearranging the deck chairs . . .

  8. #8 |  Other Sean | 

    What’s Arabic for “I have mixed feelings”?

    One the one hand, I’m glad someone in the world is paying attention to a problem that nearly the entire American electorate is happy to ignore.

    On the other, any good this video might do is cancelled out by that inexcusable bullshit about how the drug war is “another form of slavery” that “started out as a war against blacks”.

    Way to take a winning hand, in the form of an overwhelming case against the drug war, and overplay it until the result is a lazy narrative written to the level of early 1970s Soviet propaganda.

    We have reason and evidence on our side. We don’t need to make shit up!

  9. #9 |  LoFlyer | 

    Four decades of the “war on drugs” has stopped nothing, and made a lot of smart drug dealers rich.
    Another thing that needs to be recognized. There are cultural differences in violence, some cultures are more violent than others.
    I know the liberals and politically correct journalists have big problems with the issue. The fact is they will not enter a violent area due to cultural awareness.
    Fracken’ hypocites.
    I challange them to explain or justify one citizen they have helped, and the hundreds that have died believing the liberal media’s mantra that all culture are equal.

  10. #10 |  Marty | 

    I love the irony of Russian reporters reporting the obvious failure of our government’s policies.

  11. #11 |  markm | 

    Other Sean: ‘the drug war is “another form of slavery” that “started out as a war against blacks”’ is oversimplified, but that’s mainly because far more than just blacks were the targets of the racist campaigns leading to the first drug laws. In 1937, the claim was that marihuana would inflame Mexicans, jazz musicians, and blacks to commit horrible crimes. Earlier, Italians and eastern European immigrants were also among the bogeymen. For Prohibition, add the Irish and other “Papists” to the demonized groups.