Drug Violence on our Southern Border and Catcalls in New York City are Related – Societal Decay Responsible for Both

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 30th, 2010

The drug cartel violence crosses the U.S. border.  Beheaded body found in Phoenix, Arizona.

It’s getting a little violent on this side of the U.S. border.  The latest?  This from AP’s Amanda Lee Myers’ Arizona beheading raises fears of drug violence posted on apnews.myway.com:

The gruesome case of a man who was stabbed and beheaded in a suburban Phoenix apartment has police investigating whether the killing is potentially the most extreme example of Mexican drug cartel violence spilling over the border.

The police think the victim was stealing drugs from the cartel.  And this was a message to others who might be thinking about doing likewise. 

Decapitations are a regular part of the drug war in Mexico as cartels fight over territory. Headless bodies have been hanged from bridges by their feet, severed heads have been sent to victims’ family members and government officials, and bags of up to 12 heads have been dropped off in high-profile locations.

The crime appears confined to members of the drug trade.  It’s a little reassuring for the innocent bystanders close to the crime.  ‘Little’ being the key word.

“I’m terrified,” said [a neighbor], a 47-year-old housekeeper who lives two doors down from the apartment. “I’ve lived here for 20 years and I’ve never heard of that (decapitation) happening, and it was so close to us … Maybe they’re copying what’s happening in Mexico.”

But it hasn’t been exactly restricted to the drug trade.  There has been some collateral damage. 

While extreme violence has stayed south of the border for the most part, some of it has spilled over into the U.S.

In March, Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was gunned down while checking water lines on his property near the border. Authorities believe – but have never produced substantive proof – that an illegal immigrant, likely a scout for drug smugglers, was to blame for his killing.

In May 2009, a Mexican drug cartel lieutenant who became an informant for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was shot eight times outside his pricey home in El Paso. The lieutenant, Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana, was living in Texas on a visa that ICE gave him, and is believed to be the first ranking cartel member killed in the U.S.

Payan described the spillover as minimal, but said it could increase.

And what is the federal government doing to address border security?  Suing Arizona.  And putting up some signs that warn Americans about unsafe American territory.

Whistles, catcalls and lewd come-ons on the rise in New York City.  Young girls harassed near their schools.

In a serious news story about women being harassed on the streets of New York (see AP’s NYC Considers a No Catcall Zone posted on www.nbcnewyork.com on 10/29/2010), the article starts off with a most inappropriate photo.  It shows a woman’s feet in what appears to be 6-inch stiletto heels.  The kind of shoes you’d see a stripper wear on stage.  Or so I’ve heard.  One thing for certain, though, any man looking at the photo is going to imagine a smoking hot woman attached to those feet.  The kind of a woman that burly construction workers would whistle at.  And, to be fair, a woman dressed like THAT may be disappointed if they didn’t.  So it’s a rather poor choice of a photo to use with this article.  For although we know:

Whistles, catcalls and lewd come-ons from strangers are all too familiar to New York City women, who say they are harassed multiple times a day as they walk down the street.

Some men are clearly crossing the line. 

A City Council committee heard testimony Thursday from women who said men regularly follow them, yell at them and make them feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Advocates told stories of preteens and teenagers being hounded by adult men outside city schools and pleaded for government to address the problem.

And what is the city of New York doing about this issue?

Hollaback [an organization formed five years ago to stand up to street harassment] is pushing the city to commission a study, a public awareness campaign and perhaps even legislation, including “no-harassment zones” around schools to protect young women.

Madonna, Brittany Spears and Glee go too far in sexualizing young girls?

Now, what do these two stories have in common?  Although the victims aren’t responsible for the crime/harassment against them, the society that they are a part of is.

The Left wants to give condoms to our kids.  And make abortions available when a pregnancy happens.  We need to be progressive.  Kids are having sex.  We need to stop being so puritan and treat our kids as adults.  Like the television show Glee does.  In that show adults play high school kids.  And their audience is primarily high school kids and younger.  They’ve had some pretty questionable content on that show.  Madonna and Brittany Spears video parodies.  And they’ve appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, dressed as high school kids.  But you could look up one of the girls’ skirt and see her little white panties.  And the same ‘girl’ just did a GQ photo shoot, posing inside a high school.  Again, showing her little white panties.   Of course, these kids are really adults. But they play kids. 

The Left attacks the world of Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best & Ozzie and Harriet.  But you gotta admit this; they didn’t objectify women.  You didn’t see any of them sexualizing young girls.  And New York City didn’t have council meetings discussing possible legislation banning catcalls around schools.

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin and crystal meth supplied by Mexico to meet demand in the United States.

They’re trying to legalize marijuana again in California.  They say it’s no big deal.  It’s no worse than drinking.  And all that talk about it being a gateway drug to the stronger stuff?  That’s just ridiculous.  Then again, that stronger stuff is crossing the border along with the marijuana.  Which begs the question, why?  Who’s using the harder stuff?  People who’ve moved on from marijuana? 

The vast majority of drugs coming in from Mexico and causing all that trouble on the border is marijuana.  There’s big money in Mexican marijuana.  And it will get bigger and bloodier if California legalizes it.  More customers.  And lower prices (legal things tend to be cheaper than illegal things).  The drug gangs will fight to expand their territory.  And fight to not lose any of their territory.  So there’s marijuana.  Also coming in from Mexico is cocaine, black tar heroin and, of course, crystal meth.  Meth is a booming business since they restricted the sale of decongestants in the states.  They have factories in Mexico creating this stuff wholesale.  And shipping it to the United States.  Why?  Because we keep saying drugs are no big deal.

Sex and drugs responsible for societal decay?

Sex and drugs.  Everybody does it/them.  We need to accept it.  Treat kids as adults.  And when there are consequences to this behavior, we play the blame game.  It’s not school condoms and abortion on demand that is making people look at girls/women as sexual objects.  It’s men acting as animals.  For girls/women it’s empowering and liberating.  But it’s primitive animal behavior for men.  Of course, women can’t be empowering or liberating sexually without men.  So men are obliging.  And they’re apparently thinking about it all of the time.  Even when working on a construction site.

And when it comes down to pointing the finger of blame for the border violence, I don’t know if we can point it at just the drug gangs.  I mean, they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing if it wasn’t for all those Americans eagerly looking to buy what they are selling.

So, when men whistle at a girl/woman, or there is a drug-gang murder on the border, society’s to blame.  And it’s important to emphasize that the individual victims themselves are not responsible.  It is the societal decay that has preconditioned the predator.   They think it’s all right.  Because everyone is having sex.  And doing drugs.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #37: “The Decriminalization of Drugs. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 26th, 2010

Like Father like Daughter – Even after You’ve Quit Drugs and Gone Conservative

It was about the 7th grade when kids I knew were getting into drugs.  I can remember being at a McDonald’s once after a high school football game (I went to that game with my brother and his friends).  Some of my 7th grade classmates were there.  When one saw me he pulled a joint out of his jacket and waved it in front of me, saying, “Do you want a doobie?”  He was an old friend.  He became a burn out.  I didn’t.  So he made fun of me in front of his new stoner friends.  Incidentally, a couple of these stoner friends are now dead.

One of those guys was a pretty good friend of mine.  I turned him on to Monty Python.  He could do all the voices.  And the skits.  Had them all memorized.  Funny guy.  He became a stoner in high school.  He tried to get high off whatever he could.  He came to school with a busted lip once.  His father punched him.  When he caught him sniffing gasoline in the garage.  His father tried to help him.  Knock some sense into him.  Maybe he did.  For when he died in a car crash (he was doing something like 80 on a 35 mph street and tried to pass someone.  Clipped the guy’s rear bumper and flipped his car over and over again), he wasn’t driving stoned.  He was driving drunk.

I once worked with a guy who was a reformed burn out.  He was a hardcore stoner in middle school.  Skipped a lot of school to get high.  Then he had a kid when he was in the 11th grade.  He then quit school, quit drugs and pumped gas.  Changed his life.  He became super dad.  He was a conservative and father of 5 when I met him.  Sometimes when he was talking to you he’d stop in mid-sentence, lost.  He’d then laugh and say something about all those lost brain cells he’d like to have back.  He had dreams of sending his daughter (an honor student) to that conservative college in Michigan.  Hillsdale College.  He wasn’t happy that she wanted to go to a party school instead.  But, at least, she was going to college.  And she did.  Until she got pregnant.  And dropped out.  Like father like daughter.  Well, sort of.

Sex, Drugs and Hip Hop – ‘Cool’ Equity for the Responsible Drug User

Once upon a time it was sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Now it’s probably a little more hip hop than rock and roll.  But it’s still the same.  Young kids engage in risky behavior.  They don’t practice prudence in their choices.  For them, it’s all about the id.  The pursuit of pleasure.  And the avoidance of things unpleasant.  In other words, childlike behavior.  Even though we should know better.  Pleasure now.  Pain never.  We’re only here for a short time.  And it would be a shame that if you died young you didn’t have a lot of pleasure first.

A lot of kids get pleasure from getting high.  Drugs are a part of sex, drugs and hip hop, remember.  Not only is it fun, but it says cool all over it.  Rebellious.  You get some ‘cool’ equity with the ‘in crown’.  Until someone dies.  But after a suitable period of mourning, life goes on.  I mean, the kid who dies, why, they were just stupid.  Those who say that will say it can’t happen to them.  Because they get high responsibly. 

But there are addictions.  And there are fatal overdoses.  There’s AIDS passed via shared needles.  Heart attacks from cocaine rushes.  Neglected children as a parent gets high in the next room.  Violent crime by someone whacked out on PCP who can feel no pain.  Organ failure (we exclude drug addicts from transplant lists because their drug use will only kill their new transplants, too).  Broken marriages.  Lost families.  Dead children.  Ruined careers.  Stroke.  Diminished motor functions.  Etc.  Of course, these people all wanted these things to happen.  Because all drug users who haven’t yet had these things happen to them say these things never will for they are responsible drug users.  And as my daughter often says, “Yeah, whatever.”  The carnage of drug abuse begs to differ with the responsible users.  There is a social cost to drug use.  And it’s a pretty hefty price at that.

Sex and Drugs Make Happy Pimps

Not yet mentioned are the costs we incur because of the illegality of drugs.  Victim crimes.  And, of course, victimless crimes.  When something is illegal, it becomes expensive.  Very, very expensive.  And one of the downsides of being an addict compounds the problem of trying to pay for these expensive drugs.  Drug addicts have erratic lives.  They live from high to high.  Which doesn’t mesh well with an 8-hour work day.  Some can.  For awhile.  But eventually the addiction takes control and they lose their jobs.  So, to support their habits, some become thieves.  Do a little breaking and entering.  A little pock picking.  A little car jacking.  Eventually ending up in jail for the same reasons they can’t get regular work.  The addiction takes control.  And they make dumb mistakes.  And get caught.

And then there are those who are not stealing but selling.  Sexual favors.  Desperate for their next fix, they walk the streets looking for a john.  The pain of withdrawal will make them take great risks.  Some johns may beat them up.  Rob them (for what little they may have).  Kill them.  They may receive a sexually transmitted disease.  Or pass one on.  They may get pimped out buy someone who pays them in their drug fixes.  Until they’re no longer marketable.   In which case their pimp may throw them back onto the street.  Or worse.  And if she dies?  So what.  There are always more where she came from.  Sex and drugs.  What pimp could ask for anything more?

Addiction is a powerful thing.  People will do things they never thought they would for their next fix.  Combine that with the illegality of drugs and it’s a very profitable enterprise.  Not for the uses.  But for the dealers.  Who get a very high price for their product.  And an addicted customer that must keep buying. 

John Lennon and Nancy Reagan May Have Agreed to ‘Just Say No’

America’s southern border is bleeding.  The U.S. demand for illegal drugs is a coveted market.  And drug gangs are very protective of their territory.  Drug violence is appalling.  Much like it was in the days of Al Capone during Prohibition.  Even worse.  In Capone’s day, they may have sent a message to a cop by shooting him.  Today they behead a cop and send the severed head back to police headquarters to get their message across.  And the violence is spilling over into civilian life near the border.  Kidnapping.  Ransoms.  Murders.  It’s so bad that the federal government has posted signs on American soil advising Americans that they are not safe on that American soil.

So there are two sides of the decriminalization of drugs coin.  The one is the social costs of drug use.  They’re illegal now and the social costs are staggering.  Decriminalizing drugs is not likely to reduce addiction and all that comes with it.  On the other hand, illegal drugs are expensive which makes addiction that much more costly.  Which makes some users resort to crime to support their habits.  And it empowers drug gangs.  It would appear neither choice is very appealing.

Of course, there is one option that would get rid of both problems.  Like Nancy Reagan said.  Just say ‘no’.  And if people just said ‘no’, that lucrative U.S. market would disappear.  No addiction.  No drug wars.  Imagine that.  A world in which there were no drugs to kill or die for.  Even John Lennon, a recovered heroin addict and peacenik, could appreciate that.

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LESSONS LEARNED #29: “The problem with doing what is best for the common good is that few can agree on what the common good is.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 2nd, 2010

COYOTE UGLY

We’ve all heard the joke.  What’s coyote ugly?  That’s when you wake up with an extremely ugly person in bed lying on your arm.  After a night of heavy drinking.  You’re fairly certain you had sex.  You’re not 100% sure because you can’t remember anything.  But here the two of you are.  Naked.  The circumstantial evidence is pretty damning.  You want to get out.  Fast.  Instead of waking your lover, you chew your arm off so you can slip away quietly.  Like a coyote will do if caught in a steel-jaw trap.

The lesson here is, of course, to drink in moderation.  For when we drink to excess, we sometimes do things we wouldn’t normally do sober.  But we do.  Drink to excess.  And get drunk.  And, boy, when we do, some of us really do.  Make a real mess of their lives, too.  You see, drunken husbands do not make happy wives.  Or good fathers.  Especially when drunken husbands beat up their wives, spend their paychecks at the corner saloon, have sex with prostitutes and catch syphilis (which they then pass on to their wives and soon to be born children). 

For these reasons, wives have been behind various temperance movements throughout history.  And they have had modest success.  If you ever found yourself in a dry county thirsting for an adult beverage, you can thank these ladies.  But Prohibition?  That’s a different story.  That took Big Government.  The Progressives.  Who thought they knew best what was for the common good.

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO

Wives have suffered unfairly from the affects of alcohol.  But during the 19th century, their power was limited.  They had to rely on grass-roots movements.  And their churches.  Which had moral authority as we were much more religious back then.  Most drunken husbands knew they were behaving poorly.  When sober.  But things changed in the 20th century.  The powers of the government grew.  This power and new sciences (like eugenics) made some believe they could make a better society by passing enlightened laws.  (And make better people in the case of eugenics).

We call it social engineering.  Using the power of the state to change human behavior.  Well, change it for those who are not apparatchiks of the state.  The elite Progressives, including the ladies of high society, still drank.  For it wasn’t illegal to drink adult beverages.  Only to manufacture, sell, or transport them.  So it was the poorer elements of society who felt the impact of Prohibition.  And the immigrants.  Who the social elites blamed for all the drinking woes.  For people in their strata of society didn’t have drinking problems.  So there was no reason to punish them.  The elites.  They weren’t the problem.  It was the poor.  And the immigrants.  They’re the ones government needed to keep from drinking themselves to ruin.

So while the elites still enjoyed their intoxicating beverages in the safety of their mansions and clubs, Al Capone and other bootleggers fought for turf.  For control of the illegal liquor trade.  Shooting each other with Thompson Machine Guns in our public streets.  That’s a .45 caliber round.  It makes big holes.  And shatters bone.  A lot of these rounds were flying through our public streets.  And they hit more than just gangsters.

Prohibition modified some behavior.  But at great cost.  Congress repealed it in 1933.  In part to stem the liquor violence.  And part because the Great Depression was too depressing sober.

JUST SAY NO

I once worked at a small office in a bad part of town.  One day a woman knocked on the door.  She asked if that ‘short guy’ that opens the gates in the morning was around.  I said no.  Then she asked me if I wanted to have a little fun.  I said, “Thank you, but no.”  My secretary had come to the door while I was talking to her.  After I closed the door, she told me that woman just lost a lot of weight.  And that she probably had AIDS.

Women like her were common in the neighborhood.  They sold sex for drug money.  When they weren’t with a John they were getting high.  Men, too.  One time, this 6-foot-plus behemoth in a skirt was walking in the street shouting something incoherent.  Our driver discovered he was a guy.  When he lunged through his open window while turning at the corner.  I don’t know what scared him more.  The assault.  Or the fact that she was a he. 

By the way, that short guy that opens the gates?  He was married.  And had a couple of daughters.  God only knows what he gave his wife.

Drug addiction is not good.  No one’s life ever got better by being addicted to drugs.  None of these people ever planned on drug addiction.  It just happened.  Somehow.  One day you’re just partying with some friends.  Then the next thing you know you’re turning tricks or stealing to support your habit.  If you have money it’s a different story.  Then you can party until you kill yourself.  John Belushi overdosed from a heroin/cocaine cocktail called a speedball.  Chris Farley, too.  It’s unlikely that the speedball was their first high.  They probably started out with something less potent.  Like marijuana.  The entry drug of choice.  Only when that drug loses its charm do people step up to something a little more potent. 

Of course, if you don’t start, chances are you won’t move up to something more potent.  This was the idea behind Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug program.  Stop the kids from starting.  To resist peer pressure.  To just say no.  Her program did modify some behavior.  Kids did use fewer drugs.  But she was Ronald Reagan’s wife.  The Left didn’t like him.  Or her.  So they ridiculed her program as being simplistic.  Discontinued it.  And drug use by kids increased.

GANGSTA’S PARADISE

Like Capone and his fellow bootleggers, the illegal drug trade is controlled by gangs.  And they, too, fight over turf.  But those involved at the street level of the drug trade today are a lot younger.  During the days of Prohibition, kids played with toy guns.  Today, they’re playing with real guns.  Not so much playing but killing each other.  And innocent bystanders.  In drive-by shootings.  Why?  Because drugs get you money.  And money gets you power.  Put all that together and it’s very seductive to kids from broken homes in the hood.  Who have nothing.  And have nothing to lose.  It’s almost romantic.  Fighting.  And dying.  A regular gangster.  Living in a gangster paradise.

Once in, though, it’s hard to get out.  The song Gangsta’s Paradise (by Coolio featuring L.V. from the 1995 Movie Dangerous Minds) laments about that paradise.  “Tell me why are we so blind to see.  That the ones we hurt are you and me.”

You get higher up in the echelon and the violence gets worse.  You can see that on America’s southern border.  And further south.  Kidnappings.  Beheadings.  And other unspeakable things.  Because of the big money in illegal drugs.  Like there was in bootlegging.  Make something illegal that people still want and will buy, and that something becomes a very profitable commodity indeed.

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

So what’s the answer?  What is the best course of action for the common good?  We can keep drugs illegal.  And continue to fight the war on drugs.  And watch the violence escalate as people fight to control this illicit trade.  Or we can decriminalize drugs.  Make them easily accessible.  And cheap.  The drug gangs would go the way of the bootlegger gangs.  And the crack/meth whore in the street won’t have to perform as many sexual acts to support her habit.

Alcohol is legal today.  And there are a lot of social costs because of that.  But the majority of people who do drink are not driving under the influence or beating their wives.  Or getting syphilis from a prostitute hanging out at the corner saloon.  Wouldn’t it be the same for drugs?

Kids drink.  Even though they can’t legally buy alcohol.  But the worse thing they can do is kill someone while driving a car.  Or get killed in a car driven by another drunken kid.  Or kill themselves from binge drinking.  Or get pregnant because they got drunk at a party.  Or get infected with a venereal disease because they got drunk at a party and had sex.  These are very bad things.  But they’re not an addiction.  Sure, you can become an alcoholic, but a lot of kids don’t like the taste of the adult beverages they’re consuming.  They’re just doing it for the party buzz.  And vomiting after.  It takes awhile, for some, to get over that hump where those awful tasting beverages don’t taste so awful anymore.  But drugs?  They’re tasteless.  There isn’t a delivery system ‘hump’ to get over.  Which makes the addiction process that much easier.  And where there is only one kind of drunk, there are all sorts of highs.  New and different drugs to explore.  When you get bored with the drug du jour.  So, no.  It probably wouldn’t be the same with alcohol.  It would probably be worse.

THE LESSER OF EVILS

Often the choice comes down to a lesser of evils.  So, to do what is best for the common good, we just need to determine which is the lesser evil.  So which is worse?  The violence from trying to keep something illegal?  Or the social costs of decriminalizing something that is already causing a lot of harm while being illegal?  It comes down to what you, as an individual, think.  And that is, must be, a subjective decision.  And therein lays the problem of choosing what is best for the common good.  It’s an opinion.  Choices aren’t right or wrong.  There’re just different opinions.

And that’s why so few can agree on what is best for the common good.  Different people think different things are better.  And different things are worse.  And, at best, they can agree to disagree.

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