Kiwi Polemicist

August 1, 2009

• Woman kills son whilst stoned but drugs are a victimless crime

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

The NZ Herald and Stuff have both reported the case of Wendy-May Connon who, according to the crown prosecutor, drove after smoking cannabis. She travelled at excessive speed*, crashed and killed her son Konrad Truger.

Then on Kiwiblog Bok said in reference to this case

Yep Libertarians.. it is a victimless crime….

And Angus added

Bok, true. Much of the libertarian doctrine only applies in a Robinson Crusoe type situation. (before companion Friday shows up at least]

Do they also think that alcohol should be illegal because people drive whilst drunk and kill children? If not they are exercising a double standard.

Back to the Connon case: with all due respect to Bok and Angus, they are mistaken and have conflated (joined together) two separate things.

Wendy-May Connon did not harm anyone when she smoked marijuana. She did harm someone when she drove whilst under the influence of that marijuana. Her smoking was victimless, her driving under the influence was not, and they are two separate actions because smoking marijuana does not inevitably lead to driving under the influence of that marijuana.

To put it another way, taking drugs only harms the person who takes the drugs. If a person does something stupid whilst under the influence of drugs that is something else entirely, and if a person commits a crime in order to obtain drugs that is something else entirely.

If you are going to take alcohol and/or marijuana you know that you are likely to do stupid, dangerous things whilst under the influence, so please, please, please ensure that a sober person is around to stop you from doing those stupid, dangerous things. That person must be willing and able to use physical force to restrain you if necessary; if Connon had had a sober protector her son would still be alive. Also, if you drink yourself to the point of sleep or unconsciousness you are very likely to vomit and inhale that vomit so that you drown: it happens all the time. This can be avoided if you have a sober person around who knows how to put every sleeping and unconscious drunk into the recovery position, so that your mates don’t wake up and find you dead on the sofa with a pool of vomit around your head.

Drugs are a victimless crime: Wendy-May Connon did not harm anyone when she smoked marijuana. She did harm someone when she drove whilst under the influence of that marijuana. They are two separate actions.

What are your thoughts regarding this case and the legalisation of drugs?

~~~~~

Related posts:

The pointless death of an undercover policeman (my arguments for drug legalisation)

Was Pablo Escobar a danger to the public?

Drink-driving should be legalised

* Marijuana is a sedative, so I was surprised that someone would drive at excessive speed after taking it. However, according to an abstract on Medscape “Marijuana use also directly increases risk-taking behavior in some settings”.

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5 Comments »

  1. Legalise drugs and she would have only faced the lesser charge of dangerous driving under the influence causing death, as was the original charge in Masterton Court, before the ILLICIT drug use stirred prejudice of a kind not seen with booze – rising it to manslaughter. The chance though of any of this tragedy happening would have been only 30% if drugs were legal as then we would also have cops out doing random drug tests and people would be less shy to say “don’t you drive – you’re stoned huh”. Apparently they’re squeamish about testing drivers for drugs on roadsides Oz checkpoint style (a program just doubled in size) as that seems like condoning use. Well it seems a darn site better for Konrads sake had they got over these little prudish Victorian handwringing dilemnas over hippocracy. Tui – and testing drink drivers below limit could also look like condoning as safe such drivers are let go.

    Comment by Sandy — August 1, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

  2. Incidentally this family may almost have killed kids while stoned before. They burny their house down from candles (or was it spotting knives) on a going oven at 4am per stuff news.

    Comment by Sandy — August 1, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

  3. She did harm someone when she drove whilst under the influence of that marijuana.

    And she may well have been impaired for other reason other than cannabis. The evidence that cannabis us ‘causative’ is slim indeed.

    There is evidence that cannabis prevalence in society is very high, as much as 16% and thought even then to be under reported.

    A proportion of all drivers would test positive in any circumstance independent of any material culpability for an accident.

    That one (may) test positive after an accident doesnt equate to cannabis being causative (it may have been silly, it may have even been stupid, but all the evidence suggests txting is causative and thus significantly more dangerous, but so is tiredness, stress, noisy and distracting children, and weather conditions)

    A significant and statistically relevant study was done in South Australia that showed that when cannabis and culpability was measured, cannabis consumers were statistically less likely to have caused (and thus culpable) an accident than someone who never used cannabis.

    By this ‘evidence based’ analysis cannabis use should be compulsory… and straight people fined for contributing unnecessarily to ‘avoidable’ road carnage.

    Damned if you do, damned of you don’t!

    Comment by Blair Anderson — February 9, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

  4. on the 16th of jan 2008 ..i crashed….My Son Konnie Died. it has been said that i was speeding,stoned AND 3children unrestrained…..
    well. I know that i do not speed(police did not even verify my speed,and wat kar (1993)does 200 kms???????
    Also. ALL 3 children where restrained, i will refuse to even leave if the seatbelts are not *Clicked*

    AND…..Ihave been smoking THC since my early teens.I Didnt drink or do any other type of drugs,. this means when i was tested 5 hours after the crash, i had a life times worth of thc in my system…..NOT….. that i was stoned(which My Then Close neighbour and friend said we hadnt smoked any thing.)
    Under the influence??
    I WASNOT !!!!
    I WILL LIVE 4EVER with the Death of My Son..Konrad Russell Connon truger…there is more to this story than has been told…………
    oh yeah>>>and Sandy..were you living in the house that had no power and needed candles for lite….I dont remember you there…….So what do you know

    Comment by wendymay connon — February 9, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

  5. As I said, “A proportion of all drivers would test positive in any circumstance independent of any material culpability for an accident.”

    The danger is we are punishing someone for something they didn’t do… ‘because it explains everything’.

    We may as well punish people (to satiate the vengeance of others) for being tall while driving for all the sense it makes. “Well, your still tall after five hours, that makes it worse!”.

    The insanity of drug drive testing for cannabinoids is that it will produce a litany of evidence that proves nothing.

    “It is the logical equivalent of licking someones exhaust pipe to see if they were speeding yesterday.” – Chief Superintendent Eddie Ellison, London Metropilitian Police/Scotland Yard Narcotics (retired)

    Comment by Blair Anderson — February 18, 2010 @ 10:49 am


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