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> What We Didn’t Know on 9/11. I was at the twin towers that day. It was obvious that the world would change—but I never imagined how. slate.com/news-and-politics/20

The week following 9/11 I was asked to write an essay about the event, which was then posted on the web. The site is no longer available and I can't find it on archive.org, but my essay, "The Day My World Changed" actually did predict many of the things come to pass since.

Including things the author of the above article did not imagine.

When an SF Worldcon is shuffling chairs YET AGAIN this year and they have lawsuits going with the venue and it is only a few months before the event and a pandemic is still raging and you can't imagine WTF they are thinking.

But you are REALLY glad you're not on the ConCom…

Your reminder that all package managers are evil, more or less, but the devil themself uses NPM.

Lots of outdoor chores yesterday and today. And, of course, it's been hotter the last couple of days than it's been for two weeks.

Great for a holiday weekend, I suppose. But not great for an old fat guy doing physical labor.

Hey all you Evangelical 'Christians' [scare quotes intended] who refuse to get vaccinated or wear a mask – I got a question for you…

Do you think Jesus would want you to accidentally infect someone else with a deadly virus?

Seriously. Do you actually think that?

Over the last few years I've planted six apple trees and four cherry trees of various fruit strains.

This year, for the first time, one of the apple trees produced fruit: three small Honeycrisp apples.

Today the largest apple, about three inches across, was ripe enough to eat. So I picked and ate it.

And? Well, it tasted like a Honeycrisp. Only, you know how Honyecrisps are actually sort of 'crisp'?

Turns out, fresh off the tree they are MEGA-crisp. (And quite yummy.)

But also? There's nothing wrong with feeling a little sympathy for those people dealing with pain (mental or physical) so bad they turn to an addictive drug to suppress it. Even when it hurts them in other ways.

Much less those who find a less harmful drug, used regularly, helps them deal with life. Or just because they enjoy it. Or because they want to experiment with their consciousness.

Remember, everyone is different. Think about that over your next alcoholic drink or cup of coffee.

[fin]

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And yet, as public policy, harm reduction and decriminalization don't actually require empathy for the addicted. They simply require acknowledging three simple facts:

1. Many (most) addicts eventually recover and stop using

2. Harm reduction extends addicts lives, perhaps long enough they will recover

3. Harm reduction and decriminalization reduce the social costs of drugs (medical, incarceration, policing, judicial) and result in less criminal activity overall

Your classic win/win…

[contd]

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Would those same people have been jerks if they never started using? Probably some of them.

Would those same people have been jerks without the drug war? Probably some of them.

Why? Because some people simply are jerks. For the rest, their addictions (and the drug war itself) drove them to be jerks and the drugs helped them deal with how they felt about being a jerk.

As a result the harm reduction approach described in the linked article never had much public support.

[contd]

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So the drug war resulted in a cycle of demonizing drug users. And, for the worst addictions, it wasn't very hard because their very addictions often resulted in bad conduct.

I was talking to an ex heroin addict once and he explained it to me this way, "The thing about heroin is, it takes all your worries and problems and rolls them up into a single ball called, 'Where do I get my next hit?'"

When your only problem is scoring another hit you don't worry about how you do it.

[contd]

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In the end, in order to make a draconian 'drug war' work, you need to destroy the empathy people might have for drug users. But only SOME drug users.

And that's what the drug war did. It's easy to get people to feel little empathy for strangers. Especially strangers who steal or turn to sex work to feed their addiction because the drug war made their addiction (a) more costly and (b) required them to associate with criminals to service it.

[contd]

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* Some people have no control over their use of drugs with no known physically addictive properties

I could go on, but the point is you can't create a 'one-size-fits-all' public policy around drugs. Much less one that acknowledges certain drugs (alcohol, caffeine, nicotine) are going to continue to be used anyway, so they get a pass.

Because, the thing is, all the other drugs are going to continue to be used anyway as well. So by criminalizing them all you do is make criminals rich.

[contd]

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No, I'm talking about the fact drugs of various kinds have been with us for as long as there have been us.

About the fact what drugs DO is modify how our body works.

About the fact everyone is different and are affected by drugs differently. (Including over time, as our bodies change.)

* Drugs are embedded in our culture

* For some of us drugs are required to operate at all

* For some of us even highly addictive drugs pose no challenges, while others have no control over their use

[contd]

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> The Drug War’s Deepest Failure: Making Users the Enemy. motherjones.com/media/2021/09/

I'm convinced the last fifty years of drug policy in the USA (and worldwide, mostly) was not only a horrible failure, but doomed to be a horrible failure because it failed to acknowledge WHAT DRUGS ACTUALLY ARE.

I'm not just talking about the hypocrisy of cigar-smoking, hard-drinking legislators criminalizing SOME DRUGS. Or lumping in low-harm drugs like marijuana in with opiates.

[cont]

Related: I suddenly realized you have to be nearly as old as I am before it's possible you first learned of Conan the Barbarian from the novels and not the terrible Schwarzenegger movie.

I loved those books as a kid, including the sequels by Lin Carter and others. (Most of which, frankly, were better than the Howard originals.)

But they didn't age well. I'd throw them across the room now.

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(To the tune of 'Barbra Ann')

Co-o-na-a-an, the barbari-a-a-an

Co-o-na-a-an, the barbari-a-a-an

He's stabbin' and stealin'

Wenchin' and a reelin'

Conan, the barbarian

When all the forty-somethings are starting to feel their age and want everyone to know it and you are all, "Just wait another twenty years dude. Then you'll understand why old people talk about their operations."

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