Looking the other way
I would like to congratulate Aspen law enforcement for having the courage to boldly look the other way as a declared noncombatant in the war on drugs. In fact, I think the taxpayers of Pitkin County would support extending the intractable logic of their position on drug enforcement to other areas of the law. Say, for instance, if a local bank is robbed I am sure local law enforcement would pull out all the stops and canvas the bank for clues, actively pursue the perpetrators and even scour the county and beyond in search of clues, participants, aiders and abettors. But why?
Banks have been robbed as long as they have existed (thousands of years) and they will continue to be robbed for thousands of years to come, so why continue this senseless war on bank robbery. Further, if a bank is robbed, it has no effect on the money I have in that bank; my money is in my account (actually electronic blips floating in cyberspace – but don’t dwell on that too long) not in the teller’s till, so no citizen is harmed, just the bank, a bloodless heartless corporation – not a living thing. Yes, a victimless crime. If the banks want protection, they can hire their own security, not consume scarce county resources and put our noble officers’ lives at risk. I say, let the banks take care of themselves or let the federal government deal with the problem, banks are federal institutions after all.
While we are on the subject of intractable logic as applied to solve society’s ills, let’s consider the war on hunger. There have always been hungry people and we continue to have hungry people despite our best (sort of) efforts, so obviously the war on hunger is not working and should be abandoned. In fact, the only way to “win” the war on hunger is to stop fighting it; if we just stop feeding all of those hungry people they will be gone soon enough and no longer a burden.
On the other hand, maybe the war on hunger will save one child from starvation. Maybe the war on drugs will save one child from a life of drug dependency. But wait, it can’t be logical to expend significant resources for such a trivial payoff. We should conserve our resources for more important things; I just can’t imagine what that might be.
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Max Weintraub has been senior curator at the Aspen Art Museum since January 2019.