At 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, a security guard in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's office commenced a press conference by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who smokes crack. Ford told the assembled reporters that he would not step down after admitting to smoking crack. The reporters laughed at him.
During his Sunday afternoon radio show that he shares with his brother, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford promised to stop getting "hammered" in public, and offered a general apology for his behavior, but made no specific mention of his drug use or any of the actions allegedly captured on the video that is now in the hands of the Toronto Police Department.
Five months ago, I flew to Toronto to meet a crack dealer. We hung out together briefly in a car, he showed me a video on his iPhone of the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine, and then he split. Subsequent events unfolded, and for reasons that escape me and make me fundamentally question my settled views on Canada and Canadian-ness, Rob Ford is still the mayor of Toronto. Anyway, it turns out the cops were watching us the whole time.
One of the reasons America's idiotic war on drugs has existed as a punitive project rather than a therapeutic one is because it's easier to write off drug addicts as losers with no self-control instead of damaged people deserving of sympathy. The nation is a rat race for money, and the fewer people competing for that money the better, so who cares if some sad guy addicted to crack gets thrown in jail for years on end? More for me.
TMZ has quite the report on professional basketball player Lamar Odom, who is the husband to Khloe Kardashian and the uncle to North West. According to the report, Odom recently relapsed and began smoking crack cocaine again after nearly a year of sobriety, causing Kardashian to kick him out of their home after he rejected an intervention. Odom has been not been seen since, and family members are worried he may be on a 72-hour drug binge.
Decades ago, when a new drug called crack was tearing apart communities across the U.S., much of the concern about the epidemic revolved around so-called "crack babies." To speak frankly, the fear seemed to be that poor black women who were smoking crack while pregnant would give birth to a legion of black children with all kinds of physical and mental abnormalities. Comedians had whole standup routines devoted to the scourge of crack babies, while some cities went so far as to prosecute women who gave birth to babies who'd been exposed to cocaine. Today, research out of Pennsylvania confirms that some people whose mothers smoked crack while pregnant do indeed struggle at times, but not for the reasons one might think.
Early this morning, Toronto cops undertook a huge sweep of the neighborhood the Toronto Star calls "ground zero for the Rob Ford crack video scandal," taking several people into custody at the infamous Dixon Road apartments and visiting the home of one of the men photographed standing with Ford in the infamous "crack house" picture.
One of the most blatant injustices in our nation's drug laws (which are themselves an injustice) has always been the disparity in sentencing between those who were caught selling crack and those who were caught selling powder cocaine. Crack sentences have always been much, much harsher. (Racism, by scaremongering "tough on crime" politicians? Yes, it's racism by scaremongering "tough on crime" politicians.) A 2010 law finally brought crack sentences down to earth, very relatively speaking. And now: a bit of good news, for crack stragglers.