Drug dealing not a non-violent crime

Whether President Donald Trump will agree with entertainer Kim Kardashian West that a pardon should be granted to imprisoned drug dealer Alice Marie Johnson is uncertain.

Johnson, 62, has served more than 20 years behind bars after being convicted of playing a key role in a drug ring in Memphis, Tenn. She was sentenced to life in prison. West, noting that Johnson is a great-grandmother, apparently has taken pity on her.

Perhaps — based on the facts of the case — Johnson deserves to be let out of prison. Perhaps not.

But one claim made by her supporters needs to be refuted. It is that Johnson was convicted of a non-violent crime.

Distribution of illegal drugs is not a non-violent act. Pushers are well aware of the toll their trade takes.

During 2016, the last full year for which statistics are available, drug overdoses killed 63,632 people in this country. Even during the mid-1990s, when Johnson was peddling death, overdoses claimed nearly 10,000 lives a year.

By the very nature of their crimes, then, those who profit from selling illicit drugs are not non-violent offenders.


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