The Definition of Insanity

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It is axiomatic that whenever a government, Federal, state, or local, bans anything—Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Ulysses, alcohol, and drugs are all good twentieth century examples—the immediate and inevitable result is a brisk black-market trade in the banned item. And whenever the banned item is a source of significant revenue (you can forget Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Ulysses), immense black-market profits result in a proliferation of cunning and ruthless people elbowing their way to the trough.

The most obvious example of this would be Prohibition, which transformed a bunch of small-time petty gangs into fearsome and murderous organized crime families and the legendary names associated with them: Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Dutch Schultz, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel… The list goes on, and while the names have changed, those organized crime families are still thriving.

Peripherally, many purportedly respectable people benefited yesterday and benefit today. Yesterday, it is estimated that Al Capone alone paid out the equivalent in today’s money of six million dollars ($6,000,000!) every month to the Chicago police department to turn a blind eye to his bootlegging operations. Today… Who knows?

The profits made today in the drug trade make Prohibition’s profits look like chump change, and some of the players in the drug game—not the street dealers, but the men who make the real money—seem very respectable; some of them may be very famous public figures.

 

I have probably written about this incident before, but about twelve or thirteen years ago I was hunting Coues deer with some friends in the mountains of Sonora, Mexico. Coming home, we crossed the border in Agua Prieta (dark water—what a great name!), Douglas, Arizona’s Mexican sister. You have to cross there, at that particular Sonora/Arizona border crossing, because that’s where both the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service have officers on duty. The US government, for reasons of its own, is making it more and more difficult for American hunters to bring trophies into the country from abroad, and the rules and regulations, the forms required by both agencies, become more labyrinthine each year.

We were the only party returning from Mexico that day, but the dread might of the USFWS was in no particular hurry to do its job, so I passed the time by chatting with one of the over-worked and underpaid Border Patrol agents. He was a canine officer with a Belgian Malinois. It’s a dog I happen to know a little about, so we talked about the breed’s strengths and weaknesses, why it is replacing German shepherds on many police departments, and about various dogs we had been fortunate enough to share our lives with. Then he was called away and my friends and I stood by our Suburban, cooling our heels as we waited for our forms to be brought back to us.

About twenty minutes later the canine officer reappeared. He walked in from the inspection area with another guard holding a man in handcuffs, and three or four other guards carrying boxes, each about the size of a wine carton, wrapped in layer after layer of black plastic and duct tape. I hailed him.

“What happened?”

“Hashish.”

“In those boxes?”

“Yup.”

“Wow. What happens to the smuggler now?”

“He’s an American, so we’ll send him north.”

“You mean you hand him over to some other police jurisdiction?”

“No, we just turn him loose.”

“What! He had all that hashish and you’re going to turn the son of a bitch loose! Why?”

“We have to. It costs too much to prosecute, and it’s almost impossible to get a conviction, so we’ve been ordered, unless it’s 250-pounds or more, don’t bother. Under 250, we just turn them loose and send them home.”

That was twelve years ago. If my cursory research is accurate, that 250-pound weight limit has been dramatically increased since then, but that was the first time I realized the government’s war on drugs was, shall we say, somewhat less than serious.

Let’s take another anecdotal look at drugs in America.

In the early seventies, when I first moved to New York to pursue an acting career, I lived on the Lower East Side, well-known at that time as a violent, drug-infested, crime-ridden hell-hole. Bobby Driscoll’s body was found in the rubble of an abandoned tenement just down the street from where I lived. (He was the child star of, among many other movies, Treasure Island, and I used his death in the novel, Return to Laughter.) It happened before I moved there, but the tenement was still there and still abandoned and still used by what were then called junkies.

But when I traveled up to the tony Upper East Side, to rehearse scenes for acting class with some of the beautiful models who were successful enough to be able to afford to live there, drugs and their concomitant violence faded away as I rode north on the subway. On the rare occasions I was able to afford to travel up to Vermont to visit my mother, I traveled to a serene and drug-free rural paradise where small family dairies still dominated the landscape, and men prided themselves on their ability to be taciturn in their responses to city folk. “Yup.” “Ay, yah.” “Can’t get there from here.” That paradigm has changed.

Seven or eight years ago, I was sent to write about a hunting lodge in central Missouri. As I always do on such assignments, I did some homework in advance and read about a little village nearby that had most of its houses on the National Register of Historic Places. The first morning, I was sitting in a blind with my guide, who happened to the manager of the place. He was a nice man, knowledgeable, courteous, and accommodating, so I was a little stunned by what happened next. It was still dark out, well before sunrise, and I could see the lights of a small town in the distance, about ten miles away. I asked my host what I was looking at, and he named the village I had read about.

“Oh,” I said, “I’d like to go see that place. I’ve read about it.”

“You can go,” he replied, as if he were shutting a door, “but I won’t take you there.”

It turned out that it was the local methamphetamine production center, and he considered it so dangerous he wouldn’t even drive through.

I could give you a dozen other examples of similar scenarios I have encountered, but the bottom line is that drug addiction in America has transformed itself, in less than half a century, from a dirty and shameful thing in the poorest and most disreputable inner-city neighborhoods, to something found in historic villages in bucolic rural landscapes, on the streets of upscale shopping areas in certain especially drug-tolerant cities, and in affluent, well-educated suburban neighborhoods.

That’s the result of America’s war on drugs.

 

Politico, an online magazine that is considered to have a pronounced liberal bias, recently published a lengthy article detailing, in considerable depth, the extent to which the Obama administration delayed, hampered, stymied, and ultimately derailed an extensive, long-term, and very dangerous Drug Enforcement Agency operation that linked together the elements of an extraordinarily complex and labyrinthian merging of drugs, terrorism, money laundering, and weapons smuggling. It involved the Iranian government, their proxy terrorist organization Hezbollah, Mexican drug cartels, organized crime, the Russian government, various South American and Latin American governments (primarily Venezuela), an international consortium of arms dealers, and multiple murderous Mexican and Latin American gangs, all of whom have joined hands in an elaborate scheme to smuggle drugs into the United States, carefully launder their vast profits, and for Hezbollah to use said profits to buy a variety of arms, from assault rifles to missiles to weapons of mass destruction, all intended to be used against the United States and Israel. It’s actually very clever, if you look at it the right way. Use America’s weakness to make the money to buy the weapons to attack an already softened-up and weak America. Good thinking.

That the Obama administration did this primarily to protect their Iranian nuclear arms treaty is undeniable; even some former Obama administration officials do not deny it. What is unclear is the extent to which that administration was influenced by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Justice, Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Again, it is undeniable that all of those agencies colluded with the Obama administration to derail the DEA’s covert operation (code-named “Cassandra”), but where it gets a little murky is in the reasons those agencies give to excuse their allowing Hezbollah to smuggle drugs (primarily cocaine, in Hezbollah’s case) into America across the Mexican border, the same border that President Trump and deplorables like me only want to see closed because we’re racists.

 

One of the results of having many friends in many different law enforcement agencies is that I get told a lot of intriguing stories. Almost always, these are told simply in the vein of personal anecdotes intended to show the many and varied aspects of the law enforcement game: danger, stupidity of criminals, intelligence of officers, occasional stupidity of officers, intended comedic effect, unintentional comedic result, unbelievable courage, icy fear, bumbling idiocy, dumb luck, true heroism, comradery, venality, honor, the whole range of experiences and variations of behavior the human animal is prone to. But just as all intelligence agencies gather endless amounts of information over long periods in order to draw conclusions, so too, after forty years of anecdotes, I have been able to isolate certain recurring themes.

One recurring theme is that certain banks—I mean American banks, with household names—have long been involved in what is vulgarly called laundering (the banks have more refined names for it) drug money for cartels with impunity because said cartels are assisting the CIA, and the CIA shields both cartels and banks.

Another recurring theme is that certain highly placed American politicians have closed down specific drug operations in specific cities at specific times for unknown reasons. I would like you, Gentle Reader, to think of me as an imaginative genius writing books that flow solely out of the creative soil of my fertile brain, but in The Horseman at Midnight¸ the story Sheriff Esquivel tells Matt, about why he had to leave San Diego, that story is, almost verbatim, the story I was told by a small town police chief, now deceased, in a California county I prefer not to identify.

And that brings us to the theme that recurs most often, indeed consistently, from completely unrelated sources (DEA officers, both active duty and retired, in different parts of the country; Border Patrol, active and retired in different states; officers in major metropolitan police departments, active and retired, in different cities in different parts of the country; sheriffs and deputy-sheriffs in different rural parts of the country; even once a military intelligence officer) and that theme is that the CIA has, for a long time, been thwarting DEA operations both overseas and along the Mexican border in exchange for information and even occasional assistance (the imagination boggles) from drug cartels.

Does any of this rise above the level of rumor and gossip, the kind of yarns told by some very tough guys after a few beers? Of course not; but when you hear variations on the same theme, many times over the course of forty years or more, from many varied and disparate sources, none of whom have anything to gain, most of whom are retired now, you begin to wonder. And a few years ago, trying to do some research for a magazine article, when I asked an active DEA agent if he knew anything about a certain event, I heard something close to fear in his voice as he told me he could not discuss any activity of the DEA, current or past. End of conversation.

Again, none of this amounts to anything more than hearsay, but there are two conclusions I can draw from it: one is that America’s almost half century-long war on drugs is an epic and costly failure; and the other is that none of us should hold our breath waiting for the United States government to do anything about today’s drug problem.

 

Recreational marijuana is being legalized by more and more states, in direct violation of the federal law classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. I have no problem at all with the medical use of marijuana, but I have a problem with states flouting federal law, that problem being Article VI, Clause 2, which grants supremacy to Federal law. I am a firm and committed believer in the Tenth Amendment (states’ rights), but as the situation now stands, marijuana remains illegal under Federal law, and until the issue is resolved in congress by a change of the law, one way or the other, it will remain illegal at the Federal level, and for individual states to ignore that law creates a confusing and potentially dangerous situation for both users and law enforcement alike.

What to do? The war on drugs ain’t working, so what other options are there?

As I see it, there are three possibilities to do something about the egregious drug-death rate and the egregious violent crime rate associated with gangs in drug distribution hubs (think Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Oakland, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Cincinnati).

One is to quit trading one set of American lives for information to save another set of American lives, which is what the CIA appears to be doing, and really and truly crack down on all illegal drugs. If I were a CIA or FBI intelligence officer tasked with that little thing—so frequently laughed at and disregarded by our public servants today—known as my oath of office, namely to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, I might ask myself if a vague goal of thwarting potential terrorists who might attempt to cross our porous southern border or attack our sole reliable ally, Israel, is of greater or lesser value than a goal of having a nation sentient enough to be able to protect itself and, indeed, be worthy of protection.

Another option is to legalize marijuana, but crack down on everything else. That option is mitigated by the argument that marijuana is considered a gateway drug. I suspect it is a gateway drug, but it also has legitimate medical uses, and recreationally, I have yet to hear a serious case that can prove it is more dangerous than alcohol. Marijuana and certain other so-called “soft” drugs are legal in the Netherlands, and it might be beneficial for the US government to study what the results of that legalization have been. The advantage to having the government regulate and tax marijuana, the way alcohol is regulated and taxed, would be much-needed revenue in the federal coffers, and a drop in crime.

The third option would be just to legalize everything and have the government regulate and tax it all. This would reduce all violent crime, but especially murder, to insignificant levels (any law enforcement officer will tell you that about 90% to 95% percent of all murders are drug related) and provide fantastic revenues, but… But it does seem a cold-blooded and Machiavellian way to run a country. The certain percentage of the population that is prone to addiction would just have to be written off as the cost of a safe society, and most of those are good and decent people who are unfortunate enough to have an illness. I think most of us would have a hard time living with that.

I’m neither wise enough nor arrogant enough to decide what the best solution is, but I’m also not so stupid that I would waste another half century doing what has proven to be insanely ineffectual.

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27 thoughts on “The Definition of Insanity”

    1. Yes very insane. People have real problems and they want to fine a waiter $1,000 for offering straw. Conductor Jerry Brown’s train project is billon’s over budget. They could care less about the drugs coming across the border. Brown if he had his way would let all the drug offenders out of prison. The ones the drugs start hurting the most are the teens. MR

    1. As someone who suffers from Chronic pain from having a five level fusion I get tired of articles that you shared. Liberal news media never wants to tell the otherside of the story. Just because you take opioids for Chronic pain doesn’t make you an addict. It is the addicts that are causing Chronic pain patients to suffer. Now doctors dont want to give opioids or high enough doses. Frankly, the other pain medication isn’t strong enough. Here is a good article from my point of view. The Myth of Opioids. Melissa SD
      https://www.cato.org/policy-report/septemberoctober-2017/myth-opioid-prescription-crisis

      1. For the record, in 2015 I had to have extensive (eight hours worth) spinal surgery to repair some of the damage done by my horse flipping over on me. (See “Fistfuls of Balloons” under “Categories.”) It was only one of several surgeries resulting from that accident, but by far the most extensive and invasive. In one of the many pre-op meetings, I was asked if I would participate in a study that was being conducted in hospitals across the country, to (I’m putting it baby talk) see if DNA could be used to determine which particular pain medication would be most effective for which patient. I agreed, of course, but never thought I would hear any more about it. To my surprise, the hospital gave me the results of my DNA test. It turns out that I am one of those lucky ones who is not particularly prone to opioid addiction, but I’m also not particularly helped by opioids when it comes to killing pain. I can’t remember the name of the drug that works best on me, but its side-effect is hallucinations, and for the first thirty-six hours after surgery, I was fascinated by the clock on the wall in my hospital room, because it kept changing numerals in the blink of an eye, going from Arabic to cursive to Roman numerals, to some kind of fancy script. When I finally commented on it to a nurse, her immediate reaction was, “Okay! No more meds for the guy in 308.” The point of all this is that it is apparently possible to determine which patients are prone to addiction, and to offer alternatives. The process may not yet have been perfected (I don’t know), but surely it is the sort of thing that should be streamlined through to forestall many of the tragedies we read about across the country, day after day.
        JP

        1. JP, That is terrible. I didn’t have a horse a fall but had scoliosis issues as a youth. With my back just getting worse. Have 2 more herniated disks on the levels not fused between fusions. Also I have had two surgeries, but trying not to have more at 47. This also helped my back pain for a while. It is also done on horses. It is called Acuscope. Not sure if you have heard of it. I am going to have some treatments when I visit Los Angeles in Feb. The one I go to is in Burbank. They might have someone that does in your area.

          https://biohealth.ca/

        2. There is no one single protocol to solve America’s drug problem because there is no one single reason why people develop addictions. If we reduced the demand for drugs it would solve the problem, but people who use drugs are in need of individually suited programs for their recovery. I was a substance abuse counselor for 4 years. (I left the job because of trouble at the agency, not because of the work itself.) Stories of every kind assembled the disenfranchised: bored upper middle class teens, childhood trauma and sexual abuse, inadvertently becoming addicted after a medical or dental procedure, generations of substance abuse normalized in a family, and mental health issues. They all need something different.

          I have never even so much as smoked a cigarette in my entire life, and did not even taste alcohol until I was 35. Any pretense or superiority quickly fell away as I realized any small difference in my life story might have landed me in their position. I started the job not knowing anything about drugs, but found innumerable parallels between myself and the precious folk in my care. I found much joy and satisfaction in the work and often miss it. The agency I worked for at the time was the contracted provider for Pima County Drug Court. Drug court is a post-conviction program; every client in services was a felon. Where as some treatment programs serve the self-referred, everyone here was told by a judge they had to be there. I facilitated intensive outpatient groups for both men and women. Most of the clients were in their early 20s, but some were 18, some were over 40, and even into their 60s. When I first started my tenure there, the program allowed the clinicians to decide what was a clinically appropriate course of treatment for each individual. We had a great program and enjoyed meaningful success with a lot of people who were able to maintain over a year of sobriety. In the middle of my time there, county budget constraints suddenly dictated that all treatment was to be in groups. After individual sessions were taken away, relapse and absconsion rates increased. We no longer had what we needed to be successful, and ended up, in my opinion, wasting limited resources by stretching them too thin across too many people rather than offering effective services to a smaller number.

          Among those who were fortunate enough to have an individualized program, several years later a handful of them occasionally stay in touch to let me know that they are still clean and sober. They are entrepreneurs, or middle management, homeowners with kids. I deeply appreciate the honor of being a part of their recovery. I know they are no longer contributing to our country’s demand for illegal drugs. In the end, this is the only way out.

          Michele

          1. Michele and JP, I have picture of myself in Al Capone’s jail cell taken at Alcatraz as a teen. I tried smoking once in 9th grade and coughed right after. Thought it was stupid. I worked with girls in juvenile corrections for 3 years. It was a great program. They had to complete school credits along with counseling group work. There were two dorms that that held 24 each. Some were there for other things besides drugs. One that bothered me the most was that we had a girl that did Meth with her dad. Because of his behavior he couldn’t visit her on visiting day. However, from being away from him she wised up. Ended up living with her mom. Last I heard is doing really good. Then the Governor decided to close juvenile corrections program down. Thought would be better for them to get help while staying at home. Doesn’t make sense to me when many of the teens have horrible parents. It was the one and only time I didn’t vote for a Republican. Melissa

  1. It is a problem and I don’t know the best way, but something does need to happen. I guess we’ll all have to pray a little more .c
    Best wishes,
    MH

  2. Sure would like to see the Schedule 1 classification of Cannabis be changed. If for nothing else, than to allow USA based scientists access to the plant for study. If the medicinal compounds could be isolated & separated from the intoxicating compounds, we would have a very useful medicine.

  3. It is a BIG problem…my house was robbed and all of my jewelry (including my wedding ring) and small things of value were stolen. The police told us we were most likely robbed to get money for drugs…that it was desperate times…there would still be crime…they still need money to buy the drugs…maybe not as much crime, but there would e crime.

  4. Drogen sind giftig und sollten absolut verboten bleiben ! Nur bei stärksten Schmerzen sollten weiterhin Morphium, Opium oder Marihuana ärztlich verordnet werden. M.Th.

    1. …nicht sind “gütig” …sondern Drogen sind “giftig = schädlich” …Übersetzungs-Schreibfehler …M.Th.

  5. No question, the current approach is a dead end in every sense, but the costs of legalization will also be very high. Most likely a higher incidence of deaths and illness from drug use as drugs become easier to obtain. We still don’t know what the legal amount of pot for the purposes of driving are or can be (and there is evidence that may never be possible as the effects are quite different than say alcohol). We do know there is some evidence of a risk with developing certain kinds of mental illness and pot smoking albeit in a small percentage of the population. Pot is also likely worse than tobacco as far as lung damage if it is smoked (Willie Nelson apparently went to vaping pot for that reason). There is a lot of unknown costs yet to be discovered.

    Of course there is the high cost of medical and mental health treatments regardless of whether things are legal or not.

    The current criminal class want things to stay the way they are of course (job security) and the law enforcement/judicial class most likely would not like legalization since it could mean less employment and private prison profits.

    So we are damned either way it seems.

    BTW, as I’m sure you no doubt know the CIA has a very long history of involvement with tolerating and even being involved in drug dealing since at least the Vietnam era to fund their covert operations and achieve their goals of gaining knowledge from informants, etc.

    I am in a state where it is illegal bordering a state where it has been legalized. It’s creating a lot of headaches for my state. When I was working for a large high tech computer company a few years ago I had a fellow engineering colleague who had invested in a pot operation across the border. As I’m not one who wanted to spend a lot of time on the company clock asking this co-worker about the details I didn’t learn a lot, but I hope he was keeping all of that business in the other state!

    Also, anyone who embraces the second amendment would be a fool to possess drugs and guns—a quick way to prison or at least lose your gun collection.

    If only we could find a better and safer way to treat the various kinds of mental illness, depression and dependence disorders that drive all of these forms of abuse rather than have more and easier access to the drugs.

  6. After 28 years in the treatment field (Admin.), I am a little tainted on the ‘war on drugs’. The words were there to allocate the money, but the fight wasn’t there to help those needing help. “Just say no!” in ‘nice neighborhoods’ may work, but when I have a meth lab and prostitution house down our country road less than an eighth mile from our home left me eye rolling, locking up our shop and home so we didn’t have people ‘shopping’ for their next hit. Fear of gun play was also a concern. The sheriff finally arrested the cookers and the hookers, but that left a gap in services and another opened up further up the road.

    To say those needing help are not worth saving, I would disagree. I have been in awe of how a man (male treatment center), can go from a total drunk/drug user whose only thought of where his next drink/hit was coming from and no thought of harming those in his way, to an wonderful, kind smart human being. I have seen them become successful not only in business, but also rebuilding their family. I have also seen many fail to remain sober/drug free and several to end their own lives out of despair, a reminder that those in recovery must be vigilant and protective of their sobriety. I have cried in private over the loss of many of these men.

    I don’t know what the solution is to this problem. Your posting is an eye opener to how deep this problem is and who is feeding off of those that have alcohol/drug addictions.

    Mary Ellen
    Arkansas

  7. Ma mère, dans les dernières années de sa vie, souffrait, entre autres, de micro fissures dans la colonne vertébrale, ce qui la faisait terriblement souffrir. Les médecins lui ont prescrit un dérivé de morphine afin de soulager sa douleur. Mais voilà, avec ce traitement, les effets secondaires se sont fait ressentir, dont certains particulièrement impressionnants. Elle voyait dans son délire, les personnages d’une série télévisée allemande à côté d’elle. Comme je lui ramenais toujours des petits gâteaux qu’elle aimait beaucoup, elle voulait que je les partage avec ces personnages fictifs. Les médecins m’ont conseillé de ne pas la contrarier et de faire ce qu’elle me demandait (j’aurais préféré qu’elle voit Simon et Simon, vous auriez eu une double ration 😉 )
    Le principal, c’est que pendant ce temps là, elle souffrait moins.
    Plusieurs années après son décès, les infirmières qui se sont occupées de ma mère, s’en souviennent encore !!!!
    Anita

  8. Ein Junkie und Dealer gab meiner Tochter und ihrer Freundin auf einer Party Drogen, die Freundin wäre fast daran gestorben und musste ins Krankenhaus. Wir haben den Typ bei der Polizei angezeigt und gingen vor Gericht, als Strafe hat der Typ nur eine Geldstrafe bekommen. Die Strafen müssten für Drogenhandel noch viel härter sein ! Unsere Kinder müssen von klein auf noch besser aufgeklärt werden, wie gefährlich Drogen sind. Wir müssen unsere Kinder noch besser vor Drogen schützen und als Vorbild den Kindern und Jugendlichen zeigen, dass man auch ohne Drogen Spaß haben kann ! ….ich hoffe es wird richtig übersetzt /übermittelt ohne Schreibfehler….

  9. On another note, I made it Season 5, on “ Simon&Simon.” I am enjoying watching this and find assuming because it was filmed in the area I grew up in Santa Clarita/ Valencia Hill’s. My parents bought their house way back in 1972 and still have it. Even when you were filming there wasn’t much. Now of course it is booming with them still building. You filmed the football episode with Dick Butkus at College of the Canyons. I got my AA degree from there. They have a good sports program. In addition you filmed at, “ Six Flags.” I worked there as a teen in 89-90 as a Ride Operator. The rides in the show had FreeFalll and Colossus are no longer there. You also filmed at, “ Valencia Hill’s Golf Club.” I got married there. I didn’t go to Canyon High but cracked up when you were wearing their sweat shirts. I am visiting Santa Clarita mid Feb. I just ordered Season 6 from Amazon. Thanks for taking my mind of my back pain. Melissa SD

  10. This is an alternative therapy for Chronic pain besides drugs. It is called, “Acuscope.” A stuntman John Throp helped bring in the limelight along with Terry Bradshaw. Lee Majors used along with others sports guys. It is used among horse trainers. I use this myself. If you are in Chronic pain still it might help you and not trying to sell you anything. You can also google this. Melissa
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=274sIp04TJ8

  11. I could go on and on, but I am late to the party here, so I’ll keep it short. This was interesting and informative about the war on drugs in general, and I agree with you about Marijuana. As for the corrupt city you mentioned (Chicago), I have actually wondered who is getting paid off, because gang-related crime has gotten worse since I moved here ten years ago, and especially in the last few years. On the local news, it’s as if the killing is the result of some unexplainable madness that just comes over these young men, and not directly related to gang/drug violence that is much bigger than the neighborhoods it devastates. I think most people here have no idea of the connection between the kids on the street, the cartels you mentioned, or that this city is a major hub for the drug trade.
    – Jennifer Mayberry

    1. I admit that you stunned me, Ms. Mayberry. It is such a well-known and obvious fact that drug sales/distribution and murder are directly related (one head of a drug task force for a large Western city told me he estimated 99% of all murders were drug related) that I have a hard time believing any credible journalist worth his salt, and not on somebody’s illicit payroll, wouldn’t be banging that drum daily. Are the journalists in Chicago really so ill-educated and stone-ignorant that they don’t remember all the fun and games that existed in Al Capone’s day? Are they all so corrupt that they cannot speak the truth? Or are they all so enamored of some kind of kind of gentler, kinder, let’s-not-hurt-anybody’s-feelings ideology that they won’t allow themselves to see the direct correlation between drug gangs and murder? You’ve left me gobsmacked.
      JP

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