Blogs > Liberty and Power > "Victims"?!

Mar 31, 2005 7:57 pm


So one part of my administrative job is working with my colleagues in Student Affairs to do programming, particularly for first-year students. Through a process I don't yet understand, we had the great good fortune to have 3 DEA agents visit campus to converse with us about how they could do educational programming for our students on a recent rise in cocaine use on campus. What's interesting about this is that the Student Gov't was all thrilled with this idea. Suffice it to say, I was not. Drug education is one thing, but bringing the DEA to do it? Nah. It's like getting tax advice from an IRS agent.

But what really pissed me off was something more subtle. In describing what sort of program they might do, they wanted to include a former/recovering drug user of college age to talk about his/her experience. Okay fine. But they kept referring to this person as"the victim!" Not"the addict," which has problems of its own, nor even the"former user" or"former abuser" but the"victim." It was all I could do not to leap out of my seat and yell at these people:

"They're only victims because of YOU bastards!!"

The rhetorical power of calling a former user a"victim" is just fascinating. Then, of course, the DEA is just saving victims all over the place. It would have been rude of me to ask"if they are victims, who has victimized them? Please point to the person or people who harmed them." Of course the answer will be those evil drug peddlers... as if"victims" are helpless robots in the face of illegal drugs.

Not a good day. Not a good day at all.

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Keith Halderman - 4/1/2005

If you want to get rid of those DEA agents just tell them that you want to put someone from a drug reform organization on the program too. They will instantly evaporate. I have been scheduled to debate various government employees on the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs three different times, All three times they were no shows.