RIP Nguyen Tuong Van
The killing of Nguyen Tuong Van today by the government of Singapore has brought out all the usual suspects - including the odious Marc Alexander, former United Future MP and self-styled "victim's advocate". In a New Zealand Herald opinion piece, Alexander writes,
There is a universal view that drug dealing is a vile business, one that takes advantage of, and condemns many to, the antithesis of a life worth living.Well, no, actually this view isn't universal, or even a majority opinion. Take, for example, the case of wealthy drug dealer Douglas Myers who, earlier this week, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Auckland University. Or, consider the case of drug dealer, and New Zealand's ninth richest man, Michael Erceg who died last month in a helicopter crash. Allegedly, Erceg made his fortune by exploiting the youth market, yet we footed the bill for the biggest, most expensive aviation search in New Zealand history.
I have no quarrel with Erceg, Myers or Nguyen. The job of drug dealers is to make people happy. Those who succeed deserve to be richly rewarded. Those who fail do not deserve to be hung for their troubles. "Willing victim" is an oxymoron.
Alexander endorses the view he attributes to the Singaporean government, that "drug dealing is an act of terrorism indistinguishable from crimes of mass murder". For the sake of consistency, if Alexander is going to liken Nguyen Tuong Van to the likes of Osama bin Laden, he should likewise liken his party's leader and tobacco industry bulldog Peter Dunne to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his ilk. Says Marc Alexander,
It is understandable that Australians have been lobbying to reduce the sentence. Had the tactics worked, a selective choice of alternative punishment would have undermined the Singaporean criminal justice system and the principle of one law for all relegated to the dustbin.Marc, you are complicit in relegating the principle of one law for all to the dustbin. You see, the War on Drugs™ is, in actual fact, a war on some drugs and not others. To treat heroin wholesalers any differently from booze barons is just prejudice. Prejudice, fear, ignorance and puritanism - without them, the War on Drugs™ would end, and those who follow Nguyen's path would walk free. And be eligible for honorary doctorates.