The debate continues over randomly-sprayed bullets in public places that slaughter innocent children at the hands of deranged individuals who are easily able to acquire weapons of war.
“Why do you think prohibition of guns would work better than prohibition of weed?”
The false equivalency, for one thing. Guns ain’t weed. Nobody can grow guns and ammo in a dorm room closet. Weed doesn’t blow teenagers away in a high school hallway.
Maybe blow their minds after school behind the gym, but that’s of their own free will.
The other thing would be the false premise. Because who says that prohibition of weed doesn’t work?
When we talk about the failed prohibition of marijuana, it’s in the context of a trade-off. People smoking weed causes negligible harm to society, like jazz fusion and white kids with dreadlocks.
Trying to stop people smoking weed causes greater harm, like mass incarceration and sick kids dying of epilepsy.
But as an avid fan of marijuana, I can tell you: marijuana prohibition works.
Oh, I don’t mean that it actually stops people who really want to smoke marijuana from doing so. I mean that it works in the sense of making it an expensive pain in the ass.
See, I’m from Idaho, a state with fierce prohibition of marijuana, where we had just two strains of pot: “Got Some?” and “Don’t.”
If I wanted to enjoy some marijuana, first I had to have contact with the criminal black market, or as I called it, “Bob the Sound Guy.”
Then I’d scrape together $300 at 3am to purchase an ounce of “Got Some?” because Bob traveled with the band.
Then I’d have to hang out with Bob and smoke him out from my stash, which was already a couple of grams light, and listen to his band’s shitty demo tape.
Finally, I’d carefully make my way back home, knowing that any encounter with law enforcement might be the end of my career, and I’d try to ration that 26 grams of pot to last the next six weeks until Bob returned.
Back in Idaho, yes, I was quite able to smoke pot, if I was diligent about keeping up with Bob, if I was able to come up with $300 at a moment’s notice, and if I was hypervigilant in observing police-avoidance protocols, like being a white guy with a cop’s haircut.
But even then, there would come times of drought, where there was no weed to be found.
Today, here in Oregon with legalized marijuana, I’m struggling to recall the last time smokable weed wasn’t within eight feet of me.
And even if it weren’t, there is a pot shop within walking distance where I can buy a $6 joint up to a $79 ounce. Not of “Got Some?” but of every conceivable marijuana flower of a far superior quality than Bob ever dreamed of.
So, yeah, prohibition of guns isn’t going to work in the sense of stopping a truly dedicated psycho with ambition and determination from getting a gun.
The question is whether we want the lazy, half-assed psychos to be able to easily get a gun.
In Australia, if you want to get your hands on an AR-15, you can.
First, you have to find the arms dealer equivalent of Bob the Sound Guy. I’m betting he’ll lack the same goofy, pleasant demeanor of Bob. Let’s call him Vlad the Kidney Puncher.
Then you have to scrape together $15,000 in untraceable cash funds. Even in Australian dollars, that’s a lot of money.
Then you’ve got to arrange a clandestine location for the purchase, someplace nobody would ever notice the transfer of dirty money for nefarious activities.
But since they have cameras in legislatures and banks, you’re probably better off meeting at some abandoned junkyard or something.
Finally, once you got your weapon, you’d have to keep it hidden out of sight, because any sight of it could lead to a visit from police.
While here in America, you head on down to the gun show and get an AR-15 with no background check for about $1,200.
Now, I’m not naive enough to think we’re going to go full-Australia on the gun issue. At this point I’d be happy for solutions that simply took the comma out of our gun death numbers.
Because back in Idaho, and in many places in America, it’s far easier to buy a gun than weed, and only one of those things kill people.