Drug abuse is a serious problem, but the "War on Drugs" shows no sign of being won and has come with a heavy price tag. Critics say that its side effects- increased taxes, increased crime and corruption here and abroad, loss of civil liberties, decreased health, prison overcrowding, discrimination against African Americans and other groups, and the diversion of resources away from other problems- are even worse for society than the drugs themselves. Many public officials share this sentiment but fear political reprisals if they speak out. However, Judges James Gray and Vaughn Walker, having witnessed the Drug War up close, believe that the time has come to testify publicly about its ill effects- and to outline bold, new approaches to the drug problem.
With the recent school massacre in Littleton, Colorado; the shootings of Jewish children in Los Angeles; and rampant drive-by shootings and other atrocities, what can and should be done to protect the innocent against violence in American society? Can government protect the citizenry against gun-related violence? What is the record of individual self-defense against violence in Britain and the U.S.? In this very timely Independent Policy Forum, acclaimed historian Joyce Lee Malcolm and civil rights attorney Don Kates will examine gun laws, violence, and rights.