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Drug Dealers, Prey or Predator?

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Heather Mac Donald exposes the myth that drug enforcement creates criminals out of otherwise productive, peaceable young men who never had a chance.  In her article in The City Journal, she aptly sums up the reigning academic wisdom painting The System as a monstrosity and the drug dealer as the would-be Jean Val Jean: 

[Leftist author Alice] Goffman contends that it is the legal system itself that is creating crime and dysfunction in poor black communities. Young men get saddled with a host of allegedly petty warrants for having missed court dates, violated their parole and probation conditions, and ducked the administrative fees levied on their criminal cases. Fearful of being rounded up under these senseless procedural warrants, they adopt a lifestyle of subterfuge and evasion, constantly in flight from an increasingly efficient and technology-enhanced police force. "Once a man fears that he will be taken by the police, it is precisely a stable and public daily routine of work and family life . . . that allows the police to locate him," Goffman writes. "A man in legal jeopardy finds that his efforts to stay out of prison are aligned not with upstanding, respectable action but with being a shady and distrustful character."

But that's not the reality of it:

Goffman's own material demolishes this thesis. On the Run documents a world of predation and law-of-the-jungle mores, riven with violence and betrayal. Far from being the hapless victims of random "legal entanglements"--Goffman's euphemism for the foreseeable consequences of lawless behavior--her subjects create their own predicaments through deliberate involvement in crime. 

You need to read the whole piece in order to understand how utterly fictitious is the tale of Mr.-Nicey-driven-to-crime by a callous (and of course racist) system. Clue:  He wasn't Mr. Nicey to start with.

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