Reader Charlie Cooper - Violence between police and community members has many causes, including racism, but one of the most insidious is the futile and counter-productive War on Drugs. It was racist in conception back in the 1970s when the term was coined by the Nixon administration. It continues to cause many tens of thousands of tension-filled police-community encounters — including the one that led to Freddie Gray's death — every day in our nation with little discernible benefit.
Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke warned us of this many years ago, but we continue to spend precious dollars — more than $1.5 trillion cumulatively — and waste precious lives with this failed strategy.
... Many things need to be changed, but some combination of legalizing and medicalizing the drug problem is one of the most important. There are better ways to treat substance abuse.