Crime and Punishment, Drug Cartel Edition

Hello, seekers of truth, justice and the American way! You can all let out a YUUUGE sigh of relief knowing that the bloodthirsty leader of the legendary Sinaloa drug cartel is going to prison for the rest of his life. This badass goes by the name of Joaquin Guzman or, you can call him El Chapo, his nickname which, translated from Spanish is “shorty”. He’s 5ft 6in. Ouch! Hey, Nepoleon, remember? He was what, four feet 9″? Okay, 5ft 6in-ish?  Did his troops call him La Courtaud? Never mind. Just remember, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, right? It’s the size of the fight in the dog.

Moving on…

Another statistic on Shorty: He will be 65 next December 25. What?! Born on Christmas day! In Mexico. A heavily Catholic culture, I do believe. Can you say, how ironic? El Chapo was neither Christian in fervor nor Santa Claus-like in character. He did deliver the goods, though. More on that in a moment.

Mr.Guzman is said to have no education past 3rd grade, and may even be semi-literate. If so, he is the personification of exceeding his potential if potential and formal education have any correlation at all. Okay, he may have been responsible for  between 2 and 3 thousand deaths while plying his trade as a drug kingpin, and certainly one need not formal education to kill people, if that’s what, by circumstance or strategically, it takes to get ahead. It’s a matter of possessing the will to kill, while not possessing a rigorous moral compass to resist doing such. It also likely requires possessing a lot of bullets or machetes or explosives. And, in some twisted way, commanding by a force of personality for others to willingly join in on such mayhem. I assume that the 2-3K body count does not include the victims of fatal drug overdoses resulting from purchasing Shorty’s product. That’s another figure but I have no idea as to its quantification.

El Chapo did indeed deliver the goods, though.

Somehow, his formal education profile aside, he had enough “smarts” to: build intricate tunnel systems for evading the fuzz for decades while moving YUUUUGE amounts of drugs to, well, the market. His cartel produced, smuggled and distributed marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and other sorts of reality-escaping drugs.  With his conviction and likelihood of spending the rest of his life behind bars, the global public-at-large concerned about drug abuse can rest much easier. Right? (He has escaped prison before, mind you)

I mean, Sinaola Cartel? Sayonara! Try finding street drugs now.

Of course I’m joking. As I write this drugs are being smuggled here, there and everywhere per business as usual. The headlines about Shorty’s capture, trial and conviction are meant to–it must be presumed–project a getting-tough-on-drug cartels mojo.  Okay. Big fish in a YUUUGE pond has been reeled in. Well done DEA and other agencies here and in Mexico. But what difference does this make, really? In realistic terms it doesn’t mean diddly squat as far as stopping the flow of illicit (though weed is now legal in many markets) drugs into the big city back alleys or the lily-white Main Streets of deep suburbia here and there. And those agencies damn well know it. Sinaloa isn’t a one-man operation, after all.

Of course it won’t stop the flow of illegal drugs and it won’t because there’s the usual demand for cartel product. And that demand has been around for…for…well…long before Shorty was born on that Christmas day in 1954. Supply and demand. Sure, most of the cartel’s line of product can lead to fatal overdoses at worst or debilitating addiction and downward spiraling at best if the habit can’t be kicked, but people of all stripes, of all education levels, of various social-economic status and cultural influences are part of the consumer end of this carnage-causing “identify a need, then fill it” illicit business modus operandi model. And a need there is!

At that consumer end, there’s apparently something about life that just makes a lot of people want to get WASTED, eh? What’s wrong, people? Why the need to shoot-up, snort or smoke dangerous drugs coming up from Mexico (among other parts of the world). Does Shorty going to jail concern you and your need to escape reality? If that’s the case, you are simply paranoid, okay? The cartel drugs aren’t about to disappear, even if El Chapo does. Again, the long arm of the law got their man. Do the crime, then do the time…

…maybe…

…But what about others who act criminally and destroy people’s lives? Consider the CEO’s of Big Pharma. If you’re wasting away from opioid addiction, you likely didn’t need Shorty to deliver those pills, right?  Big Pharma= big profits. Answer this: Any of those pharma CEO’s on trial? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? What about those responsible in banking and finance that ruined people’s lives leading up the Great Recession starting in 2008? Any high-profile banksters in the slammer? Have any even been charged? What about the former “CEO’s” of the United States who saw to fit to waste hundreds of thousands of lives, both military and civilian in every war from Korean to Vietnam to Gulf I and II, Afghanistan and counting?  I’m talking about virtually every President of the last 50 years. Big Lies from Big Brother writ over and over. But those at the top who authorized invasions, who sold the sub-prime loans, who colluded to outrageously pump up prices in another market of drugs–drugs that clearly can save lives, not destroy them–when will we get some YUUUUGE headlines about their arrests, trials and convictions?

Do NOT hold your breath waiting on that kind of law and order.

This legal double-standard of who is the badass and who is beyond reproach is a decades-long narrative during my lifetime, for certain. Shorty deserves jail, no doubt. Lack of education and a moral compass? Well, those honchos and CEO’s alluded to above all have one of those two traits in common, and I think you can guess which one that is. Hell, some of them are Ivy League grads. Well educated criminal minds! It seems holding any and all criminal activity to account is a matter of the authorities lacking a consistently righteous prosecutorial moral compass.

It’s a Confederacy of Dunces, alright. People want drugs. Why? Are they stupid? Well, some maybe are easily led astray. Others are simply led by the view beyond the tip of their nose. Reality bites! Why do people use drugs, legally or illicitly? In some respects, I’d ask, why not? Some lost family or friends to those trumped-up wars, or that 2008 near-global market collapse. Some lost their ability to rationalize after being prescribed dangerous drugs at prohibitive prices. Rip-offs abound.  The fish stinks from the head-down, right? Look around, if you dare. It’s a wounded madhouse out there. Genocides, authoritarianism, oppression, persecution, scapegoating, MAGA, led by a bull goose loony who is SO YUUUGELY blatantly, recklessly breaking laws and violating our Constitution since stupyfyingly given the keys to the White House. Near and far, there’s a lot from which one might want to escape, reality-wise. The War on Drugs? We lost that a long time ago, and it’s not the fault of El Chapo, either. Drugs are needed. Try and stop people from using them and what happens? How did that 18th Amendment to the Constitution work out? It led to the 21st Amendment saying NEVER MIND…

Just say no!

No way! Timothy Leary said it so well 53 years ago: , turn on, tune in, drop out. I doubt Shorty was well versed in Timothy’s philosophy  (semi-literate, so they say he is) but he was channeling that famous quote about dropping acid whether he knew it or not. LSD isn’t quite the fashionable drug it once was back then. No matter. Cartels rake in tens of millions of dollars filling the people’s need for one fix or another, with a portfolio of kick-ass product available should legally buying a fifth of booze or a carton of cigs not deliver enough anti-reality narcotic punch. 

Off goes Guzman. The Big House. Stir. There’s no escaping the long arm of the law.  Nor harsh reality. I think. Maybe. Do the crime…do…the..

…maybe…

…Never mind. And remember: As Shorty no doubt would agree with: if you do do drugs, make sure you are doing it and that it is not doing you. Then again…wait…

…never mind.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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