04 July 2011

101 Dead...Millions Held Hostage

June 2011: 101 murders; 101 murders in one month in what is the bloodiest year to date in Our recent history.

Want to compare, so you can wrap your mind around that number? The U.S. of part of A. is roughly 80 times Our size in population, so the murder toll in that country--if proportionate to Ours--would be about 8,080. In one month. Between 2006 and 2009, the average number of murders in the U.S. of part of A.--per year--was 16,456.

Our proportionate monthly rate equals almost half the annual U.S. of part of A. rate. At Our rate, the U.S. of part of A. would have averaged 96,960 murders a year.

Fuck.

One hundred and one murders in one month on My Island. Makes it sound like it's My fault...and to some extent, it is. I am a resident here, so it is My problem, too. But Let's be clear: almost all the blame for this lies in a purposely-created system, as most of the murders are related to the drug trade, its sanctimonious "drug war" and widespread political indifference to death so long as prisons are full and more get built.

1) Roughly 68% of the murders in Puerto Rico happen in and around drugs as an ecosystem, either as part of warfare for control of the trade or people trying to get more drugs. When you look at the demographic data of the victims and murderers, you see people that politicians don't give a crap about and most of Us refuse to identify with, even though they are often Our relatives, friends and neighbors.

See, drugs are a daily reality in Our sick society, but We refuse to acknowledge just how real they are. Drugs are "their" problem, where "their" means "the poor," "the black," "the welfare freeloaders," "the caserío trash" and "the police," as in both law enforcers and users/guardians of the drug trade.

But We fail--on purpose--to include the other druggies: professionals, government workers, students, legislators and other elected officials, people "more like Us" who fuel the trade. And the majority of Us who ignore the whole mess make it worse simply by abdicating responsibility.

2) The "drug war" is not aimed at drugs, the physical product: it is aimed at a socioeconomic class for purposes of control. If Poor Man A and Rich Man B are arrested, each with a pound of marihuana in their car, which one will go to jail and which one will walk free? Now answer where Poor Man A is black with no job and Rich Man B is white and works at a stockbroker firm.

Uh-huh. You don't even have to think about it, right? The facts are clear: the number of blacks and Hispanics in jail are disproportionate to the demographics and the crime rates, in other words, there's a higher percentage of both blacks and Hispanics in jail (when compared to whites) and their sentences are harsher and longer as well.

Want to compare, so you can wrap your mind around that number? The U.S. of part of A. is roughly 80 times Our size in population, so the murder toll in that country--if proportionate to Ours--would be about 8,080. In one month. Between 2006 and 2009, the average number of murders in the U.S. of part of A.--per year--was 16,456.

Our proportionate monthly rate equals almost half the annual U.S. of part of A. rate. At Our rate, the U.S. of part of A. would have averaged 96,960 murders a year.

Fuck.

One hundred and one murders in one month on My Island. Makes it sound like it's My fault...and to some extent, it is. I am a resident here, so it is My problem, too. But Let's be clear: almost all the blame for this lies in a purposely-created system, as most of the murders are related to the drug trade, it's sanctimonious "drug war" and widespread political indifference to death so long as prisons are full and more get built.

1) Roughly 68% of the murders in Puerto Rico happen in and around drugs as an ecosystem, either as part of warfare for control of the trade or people trying to get more drugs. When you look at the demographic data of the victims and murderers, you see people that politicians don't give a crap about and most of Us refuse to identify with, even though they are often Our relatives, friends and neighbors.

See, drugs are a daily reality in Our sick society, but We refuse to acknowledge just how real they are. Drugs are "their" problem, where "their" means "the poor," "the black," "the welfare freeloaders," "the caserío trash" and "the police," as in both law enforcers and users/guardians of the drug trade.

But We fail--on purpose--to include the other druggies: professionals, government workers, students, legislators and other elected officials, people "more like Us" who fuel the trade. And the majoroty of Us who ignore the whole mess make it worse simply by abdicating responsibility.

2) The "drug war" is not aimed at drugs, the physical product: it is aimed at a socioeconomic class for purposes of control. If Poor Man A and Rich Man B are arrested, each with a pound of marihuana in their car, which one will go to jail and which one will walk free? Now answer where Poor Man A is black with no job and Rich Man B is white and works at a stockbroker firm.

Uh-huh. You don't even have to think about it, right? The facts are clear: the number of blacks and Hispanics in jail are disproportionate to the demographics and the crime rates, in other words, there's a higher percentage of both blacks and Hispanics in jail (when compared to whites) and their sentences are harsher and longer as well. The "drug war" policy is aimed at the wrong target...but keeps taking prisoners.

Rates of prison sentences, by race & gender


Which leads to point Three:

3) The "drug war" is an economic boon, for drugs and prisons. Drugs are around because (a) large amounts of people want to use them and (b) the demand is high enough to make supplying them very profitable and worth the risk of breaking the law. You can eliminate the whole false need for a "drug war" by (a) reducing the amount of people who want them (and Prohibition isn't the answer to that) and/or (b) reducing the profit margin.

It seems that (a) is being "solved" by locking up some dealers and some users, but that does nothing to reduce the desire for drug use. Education would help, but policies have undermined education to the point of inanity and insanity. The easiest way to reduce drug use is to let users die and scare off the curious. Too radical? Nicotine addiction, through cigarette smoking, dominated a large chunk of the 20th century in the U.S. of part of A. It's legal, taxed to absurd heights and still in use, but with much fewer smokers. Why? The evidence piled up against it...and the profit margin was slashed.

Portugal attacked both (a) and (b) by legalizing certain amounts of drugs (for personal use) and decriminalizing. Some people died from using too much, others from crappy drugs cut with poisons. Over the years, the number of drug users and the crime rate have dropped significantly: the people are no longer curious about drugs, the profit margin is almost gone and those who want to throw their lives away are doing so, like they can with alcohol and tobacco. (You can't fix stupid. Look at Congress.) Side benefit: drug-related AIDS cases dropped 75%. But note: the crime rate in Portugal has gone down. Their murder rate per 100,000 residents was close to 7; it is now 3. 


Ours is 27...and rising. 

Our murder rate is the direct result of a failed "drug war" policy, one aimed at attacking a socioeconomic class rather than a product or its related addiction. As the narcolords point out to U.S. of part of A. officials and media: "You are the source of the problem, since you buy most of the drugs." So, yes, We are the problem. 

We want the drugs. We use them. Instead of smashing the malformed "drug war" system, those of Us who don't benefit from it allow it to continue, indifferent to what it does and how it cuts Our throats, by wasting Our taxes, fostering corruption at every level from cop on the beat to chief executive (through bribes, hush money or "donations"), wrecking non-user lives through crime and hatred and allowing some to prosper at the expense of the rest of Us.

If you think drug dealers and highly-placed law officers are the big winners, check out the private prison companies: they're literally making a killing. The average expenditure per prisoner in the U.S. of part of A. tops $30,000 a year.

The average expenditure per student is around $7,000. No wonder a school superintendent recently asked the governor of his state to turn his school into a prison: the money's better in jails.

And guess which industry advocates with millions and millions of dollars for stronger sentencing laws, harsher terms and more stringent stipulations to throw your ass in jail for minor offenses?

Yup. With over 2 million prisoners in the country, that's a tidy $60 billion plus a year...with every new "client" representing a "sale" of about $30,000 more.

And who takes advantage of these prisoners? Anyone who hires them, in a modern form of slavery.

So the "drug war" kills hundreds every month. Many of those deaths are used to promote more laws that benefit the political power structure, the "drug war" thievery, private prison profits and corporate greed avid for shit-cheap labor that can't go on strike. 

The government sees this as simply another opportunity to extend its powers beyond all reason. The "drug war" system uses this as another opportunity to "request more funding" from lawmakers and lawbreakers alike. Private prisons ramp up the legalized bribery, with dollars as "words" in the most idiotic form of "free speech" ever conceived by disease-addled hyenas and brainless slugs. And your job might be outsourced from the "freedom" of the U.S. of part of A. to the "increasingly jailed" U.S. of part of A.

We're certainly doing Our part to prop up that rape of Our society. One hundred and one dead in June as the cornerstone for continuing to hold millions hostage. Almost four million people here alone, and countless millions in dollars and drugs flowing like cancer cells to every part of Our society.

Happy Independence Day, people. Celebrate while you still think you have it.


The Jenius Has Spoken.


[Update: 6 July 2011: Holland is closing 8 prisons because--what else?--they don't need them. The crime rate has dropped since marihuana and hashish were legalized for personal use (trafficking is still a crime) and the only major step taken since then is to forbid sales to non-residents...because supposedly they were creating problems related to petty crime and traffic jams. Yes, traffic jams.  The move will probably be revoked soon as tourism revenue for the hundreds of legal "coffee shops" drops and the crime rate increases, simply because nothing raises profits for once-legal activities as making them illegal.]

[Update: 7 July 2011: From AlterNet, a headline that smacks you in the rational with an article that gives you rationale:  3 Months in Juvie For a MySpace Joke? How the For-Profit Prison Industry Locks Up More People Each Year.]

[Update: 13 July 2011: Want other profit-makers from the "drug war"? Banks and the rising tide of private militia contractors, basically mercenaries that very often operate against citizens, not criminals. From AmpedStatus.]

[Update: 11 August 2011: "While Americans only represent about 5 percent of the world's population, one-quarter of the entire world's inmates are incarcerated in the United States."  From J.A. Talvi Silja's 2007 book Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System. Cited here.]

[Update: 12 August 2011: A walking shitbag of a judge named Mark Ciavarella Jr was sentenced to 28 years in prison for accepting bribes to railroad kids into 2 detention centers. Basically, he ran over the rights of some 4,000 kids, some as young as 10, to stick them in jail. Not content with that, he also blackmailed the owners of the detention centers. But he says he's innocent. I'm going to sugarcoat My final remark: I hope that within a month of his being in jail, Mark "Kids for Cash" Ciavarella Jr. bleeds to death from anal rape.]

[Update: 14 August 2011: 8 Years In Prison for a Harmless Prank? Handcuffed for Doodling? The Increasing Criminalization of Students. Yes, it is an established trend.]

[Update: 28 September 2011: Watch the reactions of these British comedians to the facts about prisons and prisoners in the U.S> of part of A. And note what host Stephen Fry says near the end of the clip: With 5% of the population, the U.S. of part of A, has 25% of the prison population. And yes, the comedians quickly seize on it being a business.]



[Update: 29 October 2011: 85.7% of all prisoners in the U.S of part of A. are there because of "victimless" crimes; 50.7% for possession of drugs and 35% for "public-order" offenses. In other words, 14.3% of all prisoners are there for "major and/or violent crimes." Other stats: the U.S. of part of A. has the highest prison population rate in the world, at 756 of every 100,000; the world average is 145 per 100,000. That gives Us a rate 527% higher than the rest of the nations on the planet. Land of the free...or in California, $47,102 a year per inmate, back in 2009.]

[Update: 9 February 2012: "The accelerating rate of incarceration over the past few decades is just as startling as the number of people jailed: in 1980, there were about two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No other country even approaches that. In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education." (Emphasis Mine.) From "The Caging of America, in The New Yorker.]

[Update: 8 March 2012: Michelle Alexander, with her book The New Jim Crow, is opening eyes across the land about the serious implications of the mass incarceration of blacks. To say that her argument is a devastating indictment of the current judicial system and the "drug war" is to say "water is somewhat damp."] 

[Update: 23 April 2012: Venerable Forbes Magazine weighs in: "Let's Be Blunt: It's Time to End the Drug War." Indeed.] 

[Update: 20 June 2012: In the gooood ol' U.S. of part of A., prison rapes exceeded rapes of women, making the gooood ol' U.S. of part of A. most likely the first country in history where rape is a crime primarily perpetrated on men. Let's hear it for the prison system, where crime stats go to die!]

4 comments:

Kofla Olivieri said...

Gil, you might want to edit, after #2 you repeated the first part of our post.

Excellent post, I am going to link to it from my blog tomorrow.

Gil C. Schmidt said...

Thank you; a mistake I forgot to correct. And thank you for the compliments.

Prometeo said...

As long as we keep imitating the USA´s drug policy our result will be worse than those they get because of the size difference. Being a smaller island the violence is more concentrated. Well, that´s just a theory of mine. But sadly our drug policy is tied to the USA because of our political situation.

If we had the opportunity to try and experiment like Portugal did I´m sure the result would be better for the island. If certain drugs were legalized here and heavily taxed much of the fiscal problems would ease and the consumption reduced. But as long as we keep using a tried and failed model the results... well will be the same and the situation will get worse.

Gil C. Schmidt said...

Prometeo, spot on. Our size, location and automatic access to U.S. of part of A. ports makes Us a crossroads in far too many ways. A police captain once told Me that the real estimate of the amount of drugs that moved into and through Puerto Rico was close to 3 tons a day. Let's think about that: 6,000 pounds of drugs a DAY. With a street value of $800 a pound (very conservative), We're looking at $4.8M a day in gross revenue.

And who's the best security force to guard this kind of business? Our very own Police force. Any wonder why the recent raid of La Perla was directed by the F.B.I.? We've lost the ability to police Ourselves, literally.

The federal government will never let Us pull a Portugal here, but recent marihuana legalization bills have made strides. We learned nothing from Prohibition and the "drug war" has been a more expensive, damaging and stupid experiment prolonged because of institutional greed. That We are forced to play the same idiotic farce is shameful.