The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

The horrific reports of the Mother’s Day massacre in Mexico was, to the say the least, revolting.  The last count that I saw was that at as many as 70 people were hacked to death with various forms of dismemberment inflicted on their corpses.  All were apparently beheaded making identification more difficult.

Now the Federales in Mexico are certain that one drug cartel inflicted this carnage on another.  So we might sit back and say, “Well, who really cares?  These are bad people engaged in a bad business.”  In fact, some of us might say, “Wouldn’t it be a great thing if they all wiped each other out?  Then we wouldn’t have people making and distributing all these drugs?”

Setting aside the moral question of judging another person’s right to live, this line of thinking misses an obvious point.  This is a big and very profitable business and were the present players in it eliminated, it would be a matter of Nano-seconds before some opportunistic individuals took their place.

Our experiment with Prohibition proved that when people desire something, whether or not it is legal, there will be a way to obtain it.  That was true of alcohol, which of course is legal again, and it is true of drugs in their many forms.  To ignore this fact is to bury our heads in the sand.

Do drugs destroy lives?  The untimely and apparently self-inflicted hanging death yesterday of Mary Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s first wife is a case study for the argument that says, “Yes” to that question.  This lady had a long battle with both alcohol and drugs – and they ultimately claimed her life.  This is a tragedy and an unfortunate part of the human existence for some of us.

Most of us probably believe that the drugs which we declare “illegal” are so bad that they should be banned.  I have to say that, while I agree that they are bad, the consequences of so categorizing them may have worse effects than the drugs themselves.  To make this case I would point, in part, to the Mother’s Day Massacre in Mexico.

The United States of America spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year fighting a war on drugs which are presently illegal.  The reason for this battle is that we are the major consumers of these products and they regularly find their ways across our southern borders and are distributed throughout our nation.  Precisely because they are illegal – they are expensive – which makes their providers very wealthy people.

If they were legalized and dispensed through government outlets, they would sell for a small fraction of their current cost – making the business of being in the drug trade far less lucrative.  Instead of continuing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars a year into a black hole fighting a battle that we are obviously not only not winning but not breaking even on, we could find a new revenue source to help out our failing recovery and regulate (a word my liberal friends like to use) the dispensation of this commodity.

Of course the fear is that if they were available at a smaller cost, wouldn’t more people want to start taking and using them?  There is certainly that possibility.  But I would argue that many people take drugs simply because they are illicit and because there is, in there minds, a certain sexiness about them for that reason only.  Take that away and they might lose their interest in them entirely.

In the end, whether a person chooses to use or abstain from drugs is a matter of his own choice.  They are obviously available – and whether we choose to partake of that availability is up to each of us.

But as the main consumer of the drugs which the Mexican cartels concoct, it seems clear to me that the answer to the question of “Who is killing off the drug  cartels of Mexico?” is a simple one.

We are.



  1. One of my saddest travel memories I have is standing in a plantation of poppies in northern Laos while there in the interests of village development and thinking that within a short period of time that crop would find its way onto the streets of cities in the western world to ruin the lives of countless people.

    • There was a park area where I used to walk the dogs in Chicago. Somebody scattered some wildflower seeds – which included a few poppies. The flowers were glorious. The City mowed them under because of the drug potential of those poppies.

      That weekend, 78 people were killed in drug related shootings in one of the housing projects.

      We really need to get our priorities straight.

  2. Well-written as always. You make a good point, but I disagree. I may write about it more extensively at Quiner’s Diner to flesh out the other side a little bit more.

    • Reasonable people can agree to disagree. It’s obvious that what we have done in the past to combat drug production and distribution has been very ineffective. I believe it’s time that we sought out an alternate strategy. Aspirin is a very powerful and potentially harmful drug if it is misused. Yet we sell it over the counter – and even kids can buy it.

  3. Agreed. No need to to have government outlets, really. Regulate (and tax) like alcohol and tobacco, we should be able to keep kids from using, to a point anyway.

    We lost the war on drugs long ago, all it does now is give goonish elements in the government an excuse to violate civil rights. It’s probably corrupting some of our law enforcement also. This much money moving underground always does.

    Churchill said it best, “Destroy a free market and you will create a black market”.

    • I was not familiar with that Churchill quote but it is directly to the point. Thank you for sharing it.

      I suspect you’re right about the impacts of handling large amounts of cash and law enforcement. We are all subject to temptation.

      When I drive around town, I can’t help but notice how many people have D.A.R.E. bumper stickers on their cars – Dare to keep your kids off drugs. It’s a great thought and I wish that it would work. But I view this with the same degree of skepticism as the Whip Inflation Now (WIN) buttons that we were all supposed to wear during Gerry Ford’s administration.

      • I wish so also, and maybe it helps. I always wonder, maybe I’m just cynical, so many of these causes, if they win their battles (drug use, breast cancer, whatever) how are they going to make an honest living then. I’m not accusing them of conscious misuse, but what runs through their unconscious, and why don’t we ever win one.

      • Funny that you should say that. My dad who was almost always very optimistic (which didn’t interfere with his being realistic) used to say, “If they found the cure for cancer they’d bury it.”

  4. nearlynormalized said:

    Been saying what you have said for many years…Grow and tax the product. Northern California was in a destitute situation until the dope growers appeared…For real. It was a lumbering community and no mas as large as it use to be. Read the signs on small businesses in the beginning of October of each year. “We are accepting $100 bills now.” Growers of fabulous weed have kept these small communities alive. No matter what is said on the discovery channel. Dope is the key crop in Northern California. Check out the climatic zone-it is the same as Afghanistan; what grows in Afghanistan? Poppies (Opium), I kid you not. Double the pleasure. Dope growers in Nor Cal are independent; no cartels.

  5. The current punitive measures have obviously failed – perhaps your suggestion merits consideration.

  6. “The United States of America spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year fighting a war on drugs which are presently illegal. The reason for this battle is that we are the major consumers of these products…”

    Hel-loo! Admit complicity much??

    • This is simply another example of our way of addressing problems. Parents are content to let their kids pay video games and watch television instead of taking an interest in their schooling and homework. Then they wonder why Johnny who is in the seventh grade, is reading and doing math at a third grade level. The list goes on and on – unfortunately.

  7. […] She made a very credible case for the legalization of drugs in a recent post (“Who is killing off the drug cartels of Mexico?”). […]

  8. I finally responded to this well-written post. Visit Quiner’s Diner where I quote your position and respond with my concerns. Thanks … Tom.

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