Instead of deliberation, we get a sound bite that could have been written by Karl Rove.
"I'm not sure that I can sign a bill that would do away with the penalties we have in Maryland -- or lessen the penalties -- for second-time drug dealers," the governor said on the Bill Press Show on Sirius satellite radio. "I think drug dealing is a violent crime."
Drug dealing a violent crime eh? As I have said before, the Governor DOES NOT GET IT. Well, then perhaps the Governor should re-consider sending DRUG DEALERS to JAIL, where ILLEGAL DRUG USE AND SALE IS RAMPANT.
The 1990 Census revealed that 7 out of 8 institutions conduct urine tests on inmates to detect drug use. Of the tests conducted between July 1, 1989, and June 30, 1990, evidence of drug use among State prison inmates was detected in about--
* 1 in 16 tests for marijuana
* 1 in 28 tests for cocaine
* 1 in 50 tests for methamphetamines
* 1 in 75 tests for heroin.
Among tests conducted among Federal prison inmates, positive test results were found in approximately--
* 1 in 100 tests for marijuana
* 1 in 250 tests for cocaine
* 1 in 250 tests for heroin
* 1 in 1,000 tests for methamphetamines.
Yet O'Malley thinks we should send small time drug dealers, often addicts as well, to prison as a punishment. Sounds like we are sending them to the party (not really, but acting as if prison will "clean these folks up" is a JOKE).
The fact of the matter is, O'Malley is not a judge, neither is the legislature. Judges should not be constrained by mandatory minimum sentences, particularly when dealing with such an important population, criminals with the possibility to be reformed. These addicts could receive treatment, therefore, slightly negating their reason for selling drugs in the first place. The profit motive remains, but at least treatment would give these men and women a chance for redemption, as well as open space for the more violent members of the massive drug market in Maryland.
All of this said, I find O'Malley's position disgusting and out of character. I also find his waffling insulting. Its almost as if O'MALLEY WANTS TO MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF THIS VETO, hence his apparent publicity tour discussing it. He made his comments on Sirius satellite radio, but was sure to let the Washington post know.
I hope the Governor comes to his senses and signs this modest, but important reform into law. If he vetoes it, we will know it has everything to do with O'Malley's desire to look "tough on crime", and nothing to do with actually preventing it.