Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Trump Wants the Death Penalty for "Drug Dealers" and That's Terrifying

I have a worry. I'm worried that Trump is looking for the group of people he can effectively scapegoat to distract people from how terrible he is without much opposition. And I'm worried he'll find it in people addicted to drugs.

Do you remember when we started hearing about the horrors going on in The Philippines, where their "War on Drugs" has resulted in police executing over 12,000 people since mid-2016 - all without trial. These are people who are suspected of using or selling drugs. This human rights travesty has put its citizens in a state of perpetual terror, as being falsely accused of selling drugs can set you up to be murdered by police.

In the U.S., mix that with a racism that is already resulting in hundreds of people of color being murdered by police for whatever the fuck each year, and I have to wonder why the fuck people aren't freaking out more.

This is going to be bad. Trump added the goal of death penalty for "drug dealers" out of direct inspiration from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his giant murder campaign. Trump had nothing but praise and friendliness for Duterte when they met last November. Last month he all but said he wanted to copy Duterte's bloodbath "drug war."

Late Sunday, Axios reported that Trump “loves” the notion of imposing capital punishment on drug dealers—an approach taken by the Philippines, Singapore, and China. Trump reportedly references the approach frequently, saying, “When I ask the prime minister of Singapore do they have a drug problem, the prime minister replies, ‘No. Death penalty.’” The report suggests that Trump thinks drug dealers are “as bad as serial killers,” and believes that more lenient drug policies “will never work.”

The Boogeyman image of the "drug dealer," which in many people's minds probably conjures an image of a black or Latino man, is a great scapegoat for a proto-fascist despot like Trump. I'm hoping there's no way that this country will implement the death penalty for "drug dealing," but I've been dead wrong about how low this country could sink before. If it does happen, we'll just have to wait and see whether it comes down harder on people of color who "fit the profile" of a "drug dealer" or on people who are addicted to drugs, who are also stigmatized and rejected by society instead of getting the help they need for their chronic brain disease. Unless they're rich white people.

Either way, racism is going to play into this hard, and more people will be gunned down by police. It's going to be fucked. Please start demanding that it stop.

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