Oh do shut up!

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POSTED: February 10, 2022

According to an article I read on the web, “a court in Rotterdam started on Wednesday with the substantive treatment of the large drug case in which Roger P. (50), alias Piet Costa, is the main suspect. He invokes his right to remain silent in the trial.

Piet Costa, who failed to show up for several introductory hearings, came to the hearing in a wheelchair and hid under a hood. After lunch, he decided to stay in the cell of the extra-secure court in Rotterdam. According to his lawyer Jan-Hein Kuijpers, he suffered too much from his torn ankle ligaments”.

He apparently has a very violent side and the police found a torture chamber in his house.

I then read this in The Guardian today:

The discovery of a soundproofed torture chamber believed to have been used by a narcotics gang should remind recreational cocaine users of the consequences of their habits, a Dutch public prosecutor has said.

Koos Plooij told a court in Amsterdam that the violence of the drug trade was a “repulsive, but apparently unavoidable” result of the widespread use of illegal drugs in the Netherlands and its neighbouring countries.

“The question is how many people are willing to admit that there is indeed a connection between their cocaine use – whether it is to party, deal with work stress or suppress psychological problems – and the underworld that is happy to answer demand but according to its own rules: corrupting, undermining, tough, sparing nothing and nobody,” Plooij said.

I regard this line of argument as beyond idiotic. If I became a conspiracy theorist I would assume that the prosecutor had a leading role in an official conspiracy to keep people stupid.

The “connection between their cocaine use – whether it is to party, deal with work stress or suppress psychological problems – and the underworld” exists solely because governments have made some psychotropic substances illegal in such a way that supplying them to meet the inevitable demand becomes highly profitable. This attracts criminals who will take the risks necessary to make the huge profits. Because this area of trade operates outside any rules this allows criminals to make their own rules, and in those situations psychopaths will often win.

This has nothing to do with drug use. If governments made all vegetables illegal and all drugs legal then the same risk-happy psychopaths would switch their attention to starting illegal allotments immediately. People would get tortured over the right to smuggle and distribute parsnips and turnips. Then we would find ourselves admonished to remember the close link between winter stews and “the underworld”.

Everywhere, from drug policy to ecological damage, the easy answer revolves around encouraging consumers to blame themselves and each other, rather than tackling systemic problems. Keeping people stupid never fails, and beats adult discussion about public policy every time.