GUEST BLOG: Can everyone just calm down?
Introducing special guest blogger, Martyn Bradbury.
Poor Marc Ellis, the guy has been hunted down by the media like a child molester who has just been given a job at a kindergarten. The demonising of Ellis for the very mundane crime of buying a couple of ecstasy pills has shown a new low for rational debate on adult recreational drug use in this country.
Here's how I see it: comparatively E is NOT a dangerous drug. In the past 15 years of its widespread availability in this country, no more than 4 people have died on ecstasy. 4 people in 15 years when compared to the tens of thousands of people killed in that time through tobacco or alcohol suggests that the war on drugs only starts at those narcotics that
make you happy and are relatively low on mortality rates.
This societal hypocrisy is matched only by those recreational users in the media who but for the grace of having slightly less obvious dealers would be getting the same character assassination currently focused on Ellis. I find it ironic that many on the other side of the microphones who are well known to enjoy a line or two at any social gathering are also the ones so keen to put the boot into Ellis.
Human beings enjoy drugs, they do so because it alters our perceptions and can create deep emotional feelings that our somewhat shallow, meaningless consumer culture void never seems to fill. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating drug use, I'm being realistic about the reasons people use them, and I see rationally that prohibition and the puritanical desire to punish only serves to make the criminal organisations richer and more powerful. Add to this the cult of incarceration for drug
users and we only end up exasperating the problem as normally law abiding citizens are put into violent prisons where compliance with criminal organisations are the only guarantee of an assault free term.
The craziest thing is that I honestly believe that there would be LESS media fuss if Marc Ellis had been caught drink driving - a crime that in my mind is far more heinous than that of buying a couple of E pills.
Baby Boomers were the original drug experience generation, they knew what they got up to behind their parents back, and the paranoia at what their kids might be doing behind their backs has led to a moral conservatism view fanned by a media
keen to sell ratings that demands revenge on those it deems 'immoral' for the very human desire to experiment. For those who would claim that it's illegal, and that's that, may I remind you that it was only a couple of decades ago that being queer was a criminal activity and could see you imprisoned, it took great social courage to force change to those out dated laws, and we urgently need to do the same with prohibition.
Finally, if this was really about saving people from themselves because of long term health effects, we should start then by shutting down every KFC, MacDonald’s and Burger King in the country as obesity and heart disease kill many times more than all illegal drugs combined. But this isn't about health concerns, it's about a mechanism of control over society, the sooner we stop being irrational on the issue of drugs, the sooner we can really treat those addicts who have a problem, minimise the harm to other recreational users and break the stranglehold of power organised crime has on this country.
Marc Ellis is a good guy, he didn't deserve the feeding frenzy he was put through.