All Articles Tagged "crack cocaine"
Marcy Borders was enshrined as an icon of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center when a news photographer snapped her debris-covered form. Having just fled one of the towers, she had been pulled into a nearby building for safety after being stunned by the suffering she encountered in the streets. She wanted to run back out after hearing the sound of one tower’s crash, but was restrained. This photograph captures that moment in which she was saved from fleeing into harm’s way.
Marcy’s death-defying escape preserved her body, but crushed her soul. After witnessing injured people impaled with rubble and covered in blood, she descended into drug addiction to cope with hellish memories.
Barely surviving murderous mayhem rendered Marcy unable to cope with life. She lost custody of her two children after abusing alcohol and pills to numb the pain. She lost her desire to take care of herself, or live. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Mail, Borders details the self-destructive path she followed for ten years — and her remarkable road to redemption. Marcy is clean and sober now:
But in the weeks and months following the event, Marcy’s life began to fall apart. ‘If you’d have talked to me in March, 2002, I’d have told you my life was over,’ she says.
‘My life spiraled out of control. I didn’t do a day’s work in nearly ten years, and by 2011, I was a complete mess.
‘I was convinced Osama Bin Laden was planning more attacks. Every time I saw an aircraft, I panicked.
‘If I saw a man on a building, I was convinced he was going to shoot me.
‘I started drinking heavily. Then I started drinking a lot more. I couldn’t handle life so I started taking drugs.
‘I started smoking crack cocaine, because I didn’t want to live.’
Marcy was unable to pay her bills or look after her children. Her daughter Noelle went away to live with her father, and Child Protection officers arrived at her home to assess the living conditions of her son Zay-den.
The stark effects of crack cocaine forced Marcy to realize that she had to enter rehab to save her life. “I knew I’d be dead in weeks, unless I did something,” she told The Daily Mail. That was on April 18 of this year. Miraculously, by the 23rd, she was in a treatment program.
Towards the end of rehab, news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed renewed her hope. “The death of Bin Laden helped focus my recovery, I used to lose sleep over him, have bad dreams about Bin Laden bombing my house, but now I have peace of mind,” Marcy explained to the British outlet.
Finishing the 28-day program in May was Marcy’s first step towards a new life. To millions around the world, Marcy might always be that emblem of terror — with clothes, hair and skin coated with dust. This photograph is so well-known, it was named one of Time Magazine’s ’25 most powerful images.’ But Marcy’s not that tortured woman anymore. That time of destruction is behind her.
She still keeps those clothes, though, as a relic of her trials and a reminder of all she is victorious over. She shares a new home with the children who have been returned to her care and her partner Donald Edwards. Marcy plans for much happier events like the graduation of her 18-year-old daughter from high school, as her three-year-old plays in the background.
After overcoming her addictions, deeply comforted by Bin Laden’s death, Marcy Borders is now free of old horrors, now becoming a new symbol. A symbol of the power of human beings to regenerate themselves through faith, hope and love.
(AP) — A year ago, a drug dealer caught with 50 grams of crack cocaine faced a mandatory 10 years in federal prison. Today, new rules cut that to as little as five years, and thousands of inmates not covered by the change are saying their sentences should be reduced, too. “Dear Judge Blake, I am forwarding this letter to you for your assistance that concerns the new crack cocaine law that was just passed,” Steven Harris wrote to a federal judge in Maryland, asking about his 10-year sentence for crack possession and possession of a firearm during the crime. “I would like to know if this law will help me.” The U.S. Sentencing Commission, which oversees federal sentencing guidelines, meets Wednesday in Washington to consider making the new crack sentencing guidelines retroactive, a step that could bring early release for as many as 1 in every 18 federal prisoners, or about 12,000 inmates. In the eastern district of Virginia, about 1,000 prisoners would be affected — the most of any area in the country.
(Wall Street Journal) — The Fair Sentencing Act passed this summer knocked down the requirement of long prison sentences for possession of crack cocaine, but a quirk in how the law was written has resulted in some defendants being sentenced under the old rules—and the situation could continue for years. Lawmakers who backed the change, with the support of the attorney general and federal sentencing officials, aren’t pleased with the outcome. They said the new guidelines rectified an injustice born during the drug wars of the 1980s. Instead, the snafu has created a parallel universe where defendants face different rules for the same crimes—sometimes in front of the same judge—because their offenses were committed at different times.
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Despite dwindling approval numbers, President Obama has done a very good job in keeping most of his campaign promises. Most political centrists who are independent of right-wing and left-wing talking points would agree. The historic passage of health care reform, credit card reform, equal and fair pay, tobacco reform and Wall Street reform legislation in a two-year period is extraordinary and unprecedented. But, if you listen to all of the cable chatter, especially from a right-wing perspective, you would not know about these magnificent accomplishments.
I found it extremely funny that neither the right-wing, left-wing nor African-American media outlets have mentioned anything about the historic passage of The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 to reverse the sentencing disparity relative to crack-cocaine. Finally, a public policy that Democrats and Republicans actually agreed was necessary and just and not one word has been mentioned. For those whose hearts are centered on the poor, downtrodden and the oppressed, one has to wonder whether a good narrative that directly affects the African-American community has been intentionally been left out of the news cycle because of racial dynamics or because it is too positive.
On Wednesday afternoon, the House voted to reduce racial inequity that has historically existed relative to the sentencing of people caught with crack cocaine versus powder cocaine. To be charged with a felony, crack users needed to possess only 5 grams of the drug to be sentenced with the same charge that powder cocaine users needed to be caught with (500 grams).
For years, this 100-1 ratio landed many young African-Americans across the country in prison industrial complexes at a much higher rate than Caucasians caught with cocaine in the suburbs. According to research by the Human Rights Watch, “Blacks comprise 62.7 percent and whites 36.7 percent of all drug offenders admitted to state prison, although there are five times more white users than black. Moreover, black men are admitted to state prison on drug charges at a rate that is 13.4 times greater than that of white men.” And, statistics continue to show that there are more Black men (between the ages of 20 and 29) under the control of the nation’s criminal justice system than the total number in college.
Although a 1-1 ratio of crack cocaine and powder cocaine would have been ideal, it brings joy to know that lawmakers put aside ideological differences and political posturing to pass a law that has been needed for a very long time. The 18-1 ratio, which means 28 grams of crack cocaine to 500 grams of powder cocaine, is the primary tenet of the Fair Sentencing Act and is a major step forward toward social justice- a virtue that appears to have dissipated away in recent years.
Some critics and legislators believe that the reduction in crack-cocaine sentencing will actually hurt minorities and will result in a growth of apathy toward the culture of drug consumption and distribution. Although I agree that there will logically be some growth of apathy, one cannot forfeit institutionalized racist practices based on the attitudes of individuals who will always find a way to make quick cash even if it harms their community.
By all means, this legislation is not the panacea for all injustices relative to drug trafficking and consumption. Additional steps such as mentoring and accountability, education-based incentives, spiritual restoration and rehabilitation and job programs for former inmates are sorely needed. But, this week, I am filled with a fair amount of jubilation. This country should begin focusing more on public policies that lead to equal opportunities, rights and access exclusive of wealth class, race or any other anthropogenic divisions. And, if President Obama continues to refocus on the “least of these” as represented with this legislation and as he repeatedly promised during his campaign, then he truly will have a transformational presidency that transcends time.
Anthony Jerrod is a bestselling author, speaker, and public policy expert.
(Wall Street Journal) — The House approved a bill Wednesday that lightens federal sentences for crack-cocaine defendants, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature. After years of false starts and dashed hopes for sentencing advocates, lawmakers approved the legislation on a voice vote. The Senate had passed the bill this spring, and Mr. Obama is expected to sign it soon. The bill would raise the minimum quantity of crack-cocaine required to trigger a five-year sentence to 28 grams from five grams, potentially shortening prison time for thousands of defendants sentenced each year.