“Progress” in War on Drugs, 60,000 Dead??Posted by Jim Newman on October 16th, 2012 – Comments Off – Posted in politics, Uncategorized
Post by Jim Newman
The news (Reuters) says we are making progress in the war on drugs in Mexico:
“Mexico is making progress in its fight against powerful drug cartels and they are becoming weaker as the crime bosses are killed or jailed, the interior minister said on Monday.
“Since 2009, about two-thirds of those identified as Mexico’s 37 most- wanted criminals that year have either been killed or face legal action, Alejandro Poire said.
“I think that is an indication that the top level of these organisations is no longer capable of doing what (it was) capable of doing only three years ago,” he told reporters during a U.N. conference on cross-border crime.
What the news should be reporting is that the war on drugs is pointless and what they’ve done is opened up room at the top to new drug czars for control of the drug trade, wait, uhhh, by the way, 60,000 people have been killed in Mexico. Do we really believe drug use has gone down in proportion? Do we really believe smoking pot is worth 60,000 dead people (in the Mexican drug war it is about pot)? How is it we do not weep?
The esteemed Walter Cronkite, anchorman for CBS news, in 2006, said
“Amid the clichés of the drug war, our country has lost sight of the scientific facts. Amid the frantic rhetoric of our leaders, we’ve become blind to reality: The war on drugs, as it is currently fought, is too expensive, and too inhumane.
It hasn’t gotten better just some organizational challenges. The number of people dead just keeps rising. I remember when it was 23,000 then 28,000. Every time I read about this story it had some fantastic detail of thugs digging vast tunnels across the border, or drugs made into art items, or minisubmarines sent across the oceans. So much work. So many lives. It’s about money and not about moral turpitude in personal habits. Get rid of the out-of-control profiteering in this artificial market.
Once tobacco smuggling was a huge trade and revenue source. Moonshine (home brewed liquor) is illegal for tax reasons, not because it’s bad for you. Moonshine also was too easy to make with too long a history. Do you think when the tobacco companies thought to market cigarettes to younger smokers they were worried about health?
My mother thought all drugs should be legal. Yet, she never took them and freaked so much at being prescribed Valium she divided the pills into eighths. Her point was that education and social culture were responsible for appropriate use. Regulations, yes, absolutely, but not heinous disproportionate punishment or so restrictive a society personal morality is no longer necessary because civil law regulates every life action.
She also claimed the lack of clean water in historical Europe caused an excess of drinking alcohol and that Europe would have been run better if people had been more sober. Yet, when she got older she began to enjoy her red wine every day. Later when she was a year towards death they tried to relieve her anxiety with nonaddicting drugs—she preferred Xanex but they refused it. She responded to it best though and they finally returned her to it. She was 81 years old and they were worried she would become addicted for life.
When I moved to the farm I heard of a trainer that was quitting a horse farm close by because the owner smoked pot—didn’t see it, just knew it. It made the owner, who seemed otherwise successful and established, immoral—but it was phrased as uncomfortable. Funny how one can cheat on taxes, insurance claims, and other items with impunity as legitimate actions but if it’s something of which you personally disapprove then it is immoral. In other words, it is not a case of illegal or not, as in being a good law-abiding citizen. Rather it’s whether or not you personally approve of a given law and whether or not it is worth civil disobedience, conscientious or not.
When conservatives like a president, dissenters are told to respect the office; America, love it or leave it as the Vietnam era bumper sticker said. When they don’t like the president, they say take a gun to Washington as the Tea Party cries. We throw names and craziness at each like overripe bananas just to make a point.
The drug war is not rational except in this rationalizing of preference. It continues the racism and bigotry of our past. Pot was brought in by Mexicans. Opium was brought in by the Chinese. Alcohol was a potent tool to incapacitate Native Americans.
My mother, for example, was offered her first joint by a jazz musician. She refused but this shows how, then, blacks smoked pot, like Mexicans. Jazz was sexual, drugged, and promiscuous in the 40’s before jazz became acceptable, or at least jazz players. Jazz is still considered sleazy by fundamentalists.
They say the best drug dealer is the one who doesn’t consume the drug but considers it a business. I find this really scary. It’s like putting the pharmaceutical companies in control of medicine. If it is about profit then whether or not the product has any real utility is less important than how to sell more of it, regardless. It’s just business.
In Amish land, several men had their beards shaven off. I presumed it was by neighboring nonAmish who resented the Amish for some bigoted reason. As the news progressed it turned out to be a new Amish pastor instigating his flock against the flock; those who’s beards were cut were deemed not religiously pure enough and needed to be taught a lesson. Some of the children were lectured that their parents were evil. The children rebelled against their parents and thought unless they intervened their parents would die unsaved, without grace, go to hell.
I see people do similar with pot, alcohol, and cigarette use. So and so drinks so they are not reliable. I saw so and so smoking so I am never inviting them to a party. I had the irony once of hearing a woman say this is a drug-free house and then going into a back room and seeing it there with her husband.
Indeed, in these back waters of Mountaineer Hills where people live together for many years, I see husbands and wives lying to each other about their bad habits. I have sneaked in cigarettes and liquor to disenfranchised friends and been sworn to secrecy on several occasions. It makes me uncomfortable. In my own twisted value system the lying is more dangerous than the bad habit, like, by an order of magnitude.
Once you begin lying, there is no reason to stop; and it’s the gateway to bigger drugs, uhhh, lies… . It seems harmless. Safe white lies that spare feelings, ensure privacy, and avoid confrontation. It also destroys trust, intimacy, and safety. Once you cannot trust the closest person in your life, whom can you trust, and why would you want such a relation? Yet, I also know that when someone feels cornered they save themselves first. Especially on something that is harmless compared to so many other things. So, live for a friend, die for a friend, and lie for friend—a brave philosophy I got from the book Brave Cowboy by Ed Abbey. But I’m still chewing on that bone.
Once trust is gone… Sam Harris in the book Lying rightly notes the dangers of the erosion of trust. Did Ted Nugent really mean the remark about shooting the president—or was he just another redneck? Hell, we throw lies like around like peanut shells. If we don’t call them lies, they’re delusions.
You can see why church in America becomes a big base of trust. You know who goes to church has at least some common value system. In this country with islamaphobia, now that we’re over Baptists and Catholics, a church becomes a bigger tent called a religion. Even in the vice presidential debate they emphasized who was a more pure Catholic as if the stand on abortion were indicative of what is wrong in America, which if corrected would lead to prosperity and peace. Huh, there are so many elephants in the room you can’t hardly see and they are blasting away at mice with shotguns. One person says it’s not about abortion, it’s about following the laws of the text; it sets a principle. Wait, this person says it is about abortion, what text? They both have one vote, one side.
The trade in drugs should be dealt with like a legitimate product where we can apply regular food and drug regulations to make it safe and save lives. Allowing thugs to hijack drug trade has only led to 60,000 deaths in just Mexico. The police aren’t discussing why the drug trades exist, what they mean, and how to resolve drug use so the trade wasn’t so desperately sought. No, that was years ago, now, it’s just another story of us and them, blame and responsibility, and power and impotence. It’s just not worth it. The trade didn’t go away and all we did was leave room at the top for more killings.
Jim Newman, bright and well