Changing drug laws would help end violence

Last week, four people, including a 2-year-old, were shot and killed in Mattapan. A fifth victim remained hospitalized and on life support, as of this writing. We will never understand why a person would kill an innocent toddler—but we should ask ourselves how it was that this child came into harm’s way.

If these killings were drug-related, we should demand an open and honest discussion about our city’s drug prevention policies, in addition to justice for the victims and their families. While city officials vent about the cowardly nature of the acts and warn about the danger of guns on our streets, the simplest lesson is being ignored.

If we want to get marijuana off of our streets—and away from schools, homes and children—we should put it in stores, as we already do with alcohol and nicotine. Governments cannot save us from every danger; and sometimes, in attempting to do so, they cause more harm than good.

The people of Boston are ready for sensible solutions to drug and violence problems. We can’t afford to wait for the federal government to learn what the people already know. Drug laws have failed to lower addiction rates, have filled our courts and jails with nonviolent offenders, and are destroying families and neighborhoods. We don’t need more bluster, and we don’t need more laws. We need local leaders who will speak the truth and work tirelessly for reform.

Sean Ryan
Jamaica Plain

The writer is a candidate for Boston City Council, District 6.

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