This might seem bizarre -- unless you think about it. Many on the left, including some in the media, are peddling the sick scenario that selling hard drugs is not a violent crime and should not be harshly punished. In New York State, liberals have been screaming for years to end tough mandatory prison sentences for hard drug dealers. In their opinion, the punishment does not fit the crime.
Drug abuse, you see, is not a criminal act in their eyes. It's a disease, and the pushers are only serving a demand. They are not doing anything immoral or destructive to society.
That is so wrongheaded it's frightening.
According to the latest statistics available from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 40,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2010. Between 1999 and 2010, the drug-related death rate rose by an astounding 102 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Why? Because narcotics are more powerful than they used to be.
In 2011, about 2.5 million people were treated in the nation's emergency rooms for drug emergencies, including tens of thousands of children. That's not a disease; it's an epidemic.
Making all of this death and suffering possible is a small army of callous drug dealers who sell poison. They know that hard drugs can enslave and even kill human beings. They don't care. They also know that once they sell the drugs, they could be used by children. They don't care.
When I was a teenager, drug dealers were pariahs in my Levittown neighborhood. Yes, that was in the suburbs, but it was a fairly tough place. Pushers were on the bottom rung. Nobody respected them, and few outside of junkies associated with them. Karma being what it is, many of those pushers wound up dead or in prison, breaking the hearts of their working-class families.
Now, drug dealing is acceptable in some quarters, and a segment of our society actually feels sorry for pushers. Editorials describe these parasites as committing "nonviolent" crimes: the kind of crimes that should be overlooked, the kind of crimes that allow you to attend temple or church with no problem.
Let me be clear about this. Anyone who sells drugs is a degenerate criminal, a person who should be shunned by decent people. There is no excuse. If you're addicted, get help. If you need money, work for it. When liberals show sympathy for these devils, I ask them how they would feel if their young daughter or son was shooting up heroin. Are you OK with that?
Blank stares usually follow.
America is in decline, and one big reason is that we the people now often refuse to condemn destructive behavior. Many of us have lost perspective.
Drug dealing is a violent crime. It harms human beings. That's it.
(Daily Corinthian columnist and veteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of the book "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama.")