Monday, December 12, 2005

The immorality of executing drug dealers

BZP has commented on the execution of Nguyen Tuong Van in Singapore, for the crime of trading in a banned substance. Yes I know that doing this through Singapore is a risk, and you take the risk when you do it - but I agree with BZP that what is particularly vile is Marc Alexander - former United Future MP, and one of the more sensible ones - agreeing with the view that drug dealing is like mass murder.
It isn't. Most people who take drugs are not addicts, they are people choosing to ingest a substance for their own pleasure. Most drug users do so occasionally for a certain period of their lives, and then drift away from it. Some are addicts, as there are alcoholics, addicts to gambling, porn and food. Those people need to help themselves, but just because they exist is not a reason to criminalise all of the others. Criminalisation also means that the quality and price go down and up respectively - many drug related health problems are related to the impurity of the drug.
However, for people like Marc Alexander a drug dealer - someone selling to a willing buyer - is no different to an executioner, someone applying force against another individual.
The Economist magazine some years ago stated, in essence, that drug use may not be smart or even safe, but that it is no reason to ban it.

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