Friday, March 06, 2009

Young Republican Speaks Out Against 'Rockefeller Drug" Laws

My name is Chris Licea, 22 years old, Cuban Puerto Rican American, born and raised in Spanish Harlem NYC, graduating from college right now in Phoenixville PA, then moving back down to VA with family. I just wanted to express that I really am excited that I have found this website and can join educated and conservative minded Urban individuals that can help to truly bring to light many issues that are hurting Urban America. These type of discussions are where the foundation of something special can occur!

As to the subject of the Rockefeller Drug Law in NY is concerned....

I think this law should be banned..... but alternative solutions need to be set in place. It seems fitting that we employ measures that reach out and rehabilitate, to counsel our young brothers and sisters to give them another shot at life. If you do the crime you pay the time yes, but everything should be examined and scrutinized in moderation to the crime.

If you look at the context of the times in which this bill was originally enacted into law, our urban communities were hurting in a manner far worse than they are today, and the drug game was the quickest way out. (I'm not making excuses for anyone), only stating it because we should be honest to the fact that opportunities for success in our communities some 30-40 years ago were slim to none.... if you came from the block, chances are you would never leave the block.

Furthermore, if you bring drugs into a disenfranchised community of Urban folk compromised of Blacks and Latinos, there is a higher propensity for there to be a demand.... so a vicious cycle commences where the drug reaches the community, the people start buying and selling, some get hooked and addicted, others get paid, in the end, some die, most get locked up, they get taken away, the drugs are taken away...... but its funny how the same drugs get cycled into the same streets again..... I have cops in my family and I was born and raised in Spanish Harlem NYC, so I'm not reading from a book, I'm writing from life experience and for what I've seen with my own eyes. I'm no conspiracy theorist, I'm only saying that in some ways, these laws back then provided a mostly white government the power for "population control".

In NYC alone, hundreds upon hundreds of Blacks and Latinos throughout the years have been locked away and their lives ruined forever for making stupid choices... perhaps the only choice they had a particular time. Yes I believe they should do some time, how much it all depends, but there should be a stronger conserted effort into rehabilitating our young people and not just throwing them back onto the same streets aftet they get parole so that they can repeat the cycle, but we desperately need to prepare our youth with skills and opportunities to begin a new life! It begins with personal responsibility YES... but how can a young person learn that responsibility if there was never a model to emulate. We as compassionate and engaging citizens should not only seek for serious discipline that gives major prison sentences, but should help provide the leadership to care for our brothers and sisters.

I'm not talking about a hand out or a pat on the back, I'm talking about creating real opportunities for our youth to not only leave the hood and explore life outside their own world, but to come back to the block as advocates for progess in their own communities. So many times, we get a good education and leave the hood and abandon the same communities we grew up in.... how about going back and serving the least of these so that they too can have the opportunity to rise with us.... on the other hand, you can bring a horse to the water, but you can't make'em drink.... so sad that no matter what you do some choose to live and indulge in a victimized mentality and believe its the government's job to "bail them out," which I don't agree with.

The kind of altnerative that I'm suggesting would not only keep perpetrators off the street, but help to turn that perpetrator into a respectable member of society, a participator of all that a community SHOULD have to offer, but unfortunately in Urban America not always available. Its a work in progress, the fight to rejuvenate Urban America is a daily process, but when more and more civic minded Urban folk with a conservative heart begin to stand up and unite, soon enough WE will be the "true force for change" not just change as a nice campaign slogan... but true empowerment for the least of these.


Chris is a member of our online social networking group


Anonymous said...

I saw a documentary about how our prison population exploded after a period of politicians all needing to appear to be "tough on crime" and that the prisons are basically full of drug criminals. Of course, people who physically harm others need to be prosecuted for those acts. But to put people away for decades for drug use or sale alone really seems like overkill. I wish it weren't the desire of so many Republicans to "punish" criminals. I'd rather that our courts and prisons be tough with people with the aim being to change and redeem people rather than simply to punish them. That doesn't mean that sentences should be light or that truly violent people should go free. But my fellow Republicans are so often out for punishment that they lose me on that. I think a person in prison should be educated and given therapy and the length of the sentence should match the physical danger that the criminal poses for the public. Who would I rather have released back into my town, an uneducated man full of anger and frustration, or a man who has reason to think life might offer another route for him? And back to the question of sentencing, do I really want to pay to house non-violent offenders for decades, which in itself damages them and makes them more dangerous when they do come out, or can I give them a reasonable sentence and endeavor to change their behavior before releasing them? I vote for a streamlined sentencing and prison system that gets tough on people and requires them to improve themselves.

Anonymous said...

Nice article