USC speech

November 20, 2007

Former drug enforcement officer’s speech

Filed under: Uncategorized — minimax @ 5:11 pm

Have you heard the news about the singer and actress Tsai Pei-lin  (蔡裴琳) being arrested for possession of marijuana? How do you feel about this news? What do you think of Tsai in general? What do you think of her work? Does her arrest change your opinion of her in any way?

addictive · An addictive drug is one which you cannot stop taking once you have started  • agonize · If you agonize over/about something, you spend time anxiously trying to make a decision about it  • cage · a space surrounded on all sides by bars or wire, in which animals or birds are kept  • crime · illegal activity  • deal · sell  • degenerate · having low standards of behavior  • destroy · to damage something so badly that it does not exist or cannot be used  • enforce · to make people obey a law  • entertainer · someone whose job is to entertain people by singing, telling jokes, etc  • evidence · one or more reasons for believing that something is or is not true  • evil · immoral, cruel, or very unpleasant  • ignorant · not having enough knowledge, understanding or information about something  • inmate · a person who is kept in a prison  • (il)legal · (not) allowed by the law  • marijuana (= “pot”) · a usually illegal drug made from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, which produces a feeling of pleasant relaxation if smoked or eaten  • offender · a person who is guilty of a crime  • outlaw · to make something illegal  • overdose · too much of a drug taken or given at one time, either intentionally or by accident   • pee · to excrete urine from the body  • plant · a living thing which grows in earth, in water or on other plants, and usually has a stem, leaves, roots and flowers and produces seeds  • possess · to have or own something  • primary · more important than anything else; main  • prison · a building where criminals are forced to live as a punishment  • proportion · the number or amount of a group or part of something when compared to the whole  • punish · to cause someone who has done something wrong or committed a crime to suffer, by hurting them, forcing them to pay money, sending them to prison, etc  • racist · someone who believes that other races are not as good as their own and therefore treats them unfairly  • ruin · to spoil or destroy severely or completely  • scream · to cry or say something loudly and usually on a high note, especially because of strong emotions such as fear or excitement or anger  • smuggle · to take things or people to or from a place secretly and often illegally  • soft on · overly tolerant of  • suicide · the act of killing yourself intentionally, or a person who has done this  • tragedy · a very sad event or situation, especially one involving death or suffering, or a play or literature about death or suffering  • unjustified · wrong and/or not deserved  • violent · using force to hurt or attack 

0 Do you think possession of marijuana should be illegal?

Do you agree with alcohol being legal? Do you consider to alcohol to also be a drug? Do you think laws should treat the possession of alcohol and marijuana differently? Why or why not?

On a day I prepared this speech, 338,000 non-violent American prisoners of the war on drugs are locked in a cage designed for the violent. On a day I drove to Dallas to be interviewed on national television, these same prisoners agonized over the separation from their mothers, fathers, children, siblings and friends. On a day I traveled to the University of North Texas for this conference, these same prisoners were on constant alert to avoid being attacked by the violent inmates in or near their prison cells. On a day I stand before you to deliver this speech, I become the voice of those 330,000 inmates and their millions of family members affected by the tragedy of having a loved one snatched from their home and imprisoned.

I am their voice and I will only say to you what they would scream across this land if given the chance that I’ve got. And I will only say to you the truth as formed by facts and evidence, not beliefs and opinions. We must end this war on our people and stop allowing Americans to lock each other in cages that were created for child molesters, rapists and murderers. 

I’m not soft on crime. I’m just hard on unjustified punishments handed out daily to non-violent drug offenders.

Have you ever known anyone who has gone to prison?

1 Do you think drug offenders should be imprisoned?

What do you think is a suitable punishment for someone who smokes marijuana?

2 Would you try marijuana if it were legal?

What currently illegal drugs would you try if they were legal? If alcohol were illegal, would you still drink it? What do you think would happen in Taiwan if marijuana became legal?

Marijuana was made illegal in 1937 after former assistant alcohol prohibition commissioner Harry Anslinger–often labeled the father of the war on drugs–took over the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics, later known as the DEA. 

Anslinger said, “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others. The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.” He continued, “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

What type of people in Taiwan do you think are most often marijuana smokers? Do you think a higher proportion of entertainers are marijuana smokers than among other people? If you think so, why do you think this is true?

3 Do you think the primary reason that marijuana is illegal is to protect people from harming themselves?

If you don’t agree, what do you think is the primary reason? Do you think other things people do that harm themselves should be illegal–for example, suicide?

What do you think of the things that Anslinger said? Do you think anything he said was correct?

These racist and ignorant statements were made by the government of yesterday and the unjust laws created from these words are being enforced by the government of today. This is not 1957; this is 2007.

The evidence is clear: marijuana is much safer than alcohol. In fact, I’ll go as far to say marijuana is safe, and when my kids get to the age they start experimenting with substances, I would rather them smoke pot instead of drink because at least I know they’ll live through the pot-smoking experience. It is impossible to overdose to the point of death on marijuana, in case you didn’t know that. 5000 years of recorded use of marijuana, not one single death from overdose.

4 Do you think Taiwan’s government has the right approach to marijuana use?

What, if anything, do you think the government should do differently? 

5 Do you agree that marijuana is probably safer than alcohol?

6 Do you think that alcohol is safe?

Have you, or anyone you know, gotten very sick from drinking too much alcohol? Have you ever been involved in an accident that was caused by someone drinking too much alcohol?

7 Would you rather your children smoke pot than drink alcohol?

Why or why not? What would you do if you found out your child were smoking pot? 

Yet our government trained me that it was an evil drug and the people smoking it, and dealing it, and smuggling it were evil people. And trust me, I was very intimidating when I crashed in your door with a .45. I destroyed families.

It’s not just a college student catching a pot case. It’s not just the banker losing his job because he peed dirty for marijuana. That’s not what this is about. 750,000 people per year have their lives ruined because they’re in possession of a plant. 

8 Do you think people who smoke marijuana are evil?

Do you personally know anyone who smokes marijuana? Why do they smoke it? What do they say about it? Do you know anyone who uses other illegal drugs?

9 Do you think people who sell marijuana are evil?

What about people who sell drugs that are more dangerous than marijuana?



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