Monday, February 13, 2012

Politicians chase their tails as bullets pepper suburbs

Where the shootings are happening in Sydney.
An interesting distribution, don't you think?
"There is a very real risk that someone spraying bullets at a house will kill an innocent person," federal Justice Minister Jason Clare told reporters in Sydney. He will get the Australian Crime Commission to investigate the illegal firearms market.

And NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell wants to tighten gun laws and increase penalties, locking away offenders for up to 16 years.

There have been 20 shootings in Sydney alone this year, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

But, as explained in simple terms previously in this blog, and in the SMH letters pages, such band-aid solutions will do nothing to address the root cause of most of it - the prohibition of illicit drugs. Trade in these artificially expensive substances provides the lion's share of income to the gangs doing the shooting, and provides ample cash to buy guns. 

There is no legal redress in an illegal trade, so if someone is ripped off, fails to deliver, loses their contraband or supplies dud product, the only recourse left to the gangs is either a noble and amicable remedy or - violence.

The pollies are typically ignoring the root cause of the problem and, in classic vertical thinking, are increasing penalties to solve a problem that is caused largely by similar penalties.

Truly the law is an ass and so are politicians with their heads in the sand.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

World's most inaccurate news report is about - guess what?

Yes, the 2011 "Orwellian Prize for Journalistic Misrepresentation" has been awarded to a Daily Mail piece by Tamara Cohen on cannabis. The British tabloid touched all bases with its headline:
Just ONE cannabis joint ‘can bring on schizophrenia’ as well as damaging memory.
The prize, for the most mangled report of a scientific paper, is awarded by University of Oxford professor Dorothy Bishop, who blogged:
Suffice it to say, the academic paper is not about cannabis, smoking or schizophrenia. Rather it is about an artificial compound that is not present in cannabis, which was injected into rats, and which led to changes in their brain waves.
Prof Bishop identified four errors in the headline and others in all paragraphs of the story but one. Four paragraphs out of eight were wholly erroneous.

The one accurate paragraph reveals that the rats had electrodes implanted in their brains and found that the drug impaired the rats' performance for around two hours.

Prof Bishop awarded the prize to the paper's editor, Paul Dacre, recognising it was likely the journalist had been pressured into writing this tripe. So much for fair and balanced reporting.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Drugs, guns and the Middle Eastern Crime Squad

In another perfect illustration of how prohibition brings drugs and violence together, 20kg of precursor chemicals have been located within a Sydney syndicate also dealing in guns, reports the Sydney Morning Herald:
Since June Strike Force Centre, made up of detectives from the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, has seized the guns, including three machine pistols, the precursors, cash and drugs.
As usual prohibition is not mentioned in the article, which leaves uninformed people with the impression that these 11 arrests validate prohibition even though they will make no difference to the availability or price of unregulated illicit drugs. Meanwhile the earnings from drugs finance the purchase of arsenals of deadly weapons like machine pistols and public shootings proliferate. Terrific.

It's OK to strip-search a 12-year-old girl: Police

Tasmanian Police have reviewed the strip-searching of a 12-year-old girl by Tasmanian Police and concluded that their action was OK. Now isn't that a surprise. Despite searching her twice during a drug raid on her parent's home, police found no drugs on the girl.

The police version of the event differs considerably from the mother's. She says the girl was in tears while the police say she appeared unconcerned about policewomen looking inside her knickers. The police point out that they did not do a "cavity search". Phew!

The searches would have been illegal in other states, requiring other permissions such as consent from a magistrate. Amid calls for Tasmania's search laws to be tightened, still no-one in the media is questioning the basic cause of such needless travesties - prohibition itself.

The police say "drugs and cash" were found at the house. But the lack of any detail about the drugs probably means they found only a small quantity of pot. If a major stash was found, or even a 'trafficable quantity', presumably the police would have been trumpeting that in their defence. Because, you know, if your parent is a publican selling 'trafficable quantities' of beer, that's fine, but if they sell the less harmful cannabis they are the incarnation of evil.

The harms of prohibition are greater than the harms of the drugs it fails to control, yet Australian media seem unable to recognise this elephant in the room. Are these journalists wilful or just stupid?

Ah, justice!