Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dupont Would be Thrilled

It's interesting how there's a generational changing of the guard when it comes to drugs in America. When I was a wee slip of a lad, not that I or anyone I knew ever partook of The Herb, in the late Sixties and early Seventies "drugs" was marijuana and if you were flush, hashish. Stop asking about those Uriah Heep and Lothar and the Hand People albums in my collection, okay?

It was all very social and sociable, both communal and community at the same time. You rarely heard anyone say 'I have weed, I'll see you later' but more often, 'We have weed, man am I hungry.' I've been told marijuana may have been responsible for the spread of fast-food places to all sorts of off-campus locations across the country. Don't know if it's true but will point out that I lost more than one friend who went for a shake and an order of fries and never returned.

The Eighties saw the spread of chutes and ladders and pharmaceuticals like Quaaludes, perhaps the dumbest drug ever created. We cranked up the crazy in the Nineties with just enough malice and mayhem to require a separate category for 'hard drugs' like morphine, heroin, methamphetamine and the ever ubiquitous crack.

And as the drugs got harder, so, too, did the people who dealt them because it became a multi-billion dollar business. The head shop with the dime baggies under the counter between the patchouli oil and the electric bongs gave way to the cigar boats we first saw on Miami Vice which, in turn, were co opted by narcotics submarines and human mules. Whether we like or not, children of the Sixties, we and the scum of Columbia and elsewhere are all part of the world we created.

This guy (presumption of innocence guaranteed by our jurisprudence system but human nature being what it is, well, never mind) lives one street over from my house and just down the block from someone who used to live next door to me and with whom I worked on a local election campaign not all that long ago. There are lots of kids in our neighborhood, and an operation like this is cancerous if you've got kids-especially and it's not in the story (I don't know why) since the house is condemned and is supposed to be uninhabited.

The story going around in the neighborhood is that the owner walked away from the property and 'the bank' now owns it. What I find more interesting is how, at age 60, my perception of what is happening is very different than it was when I was 20. Admittedly the world has changed a lot too, and not just in its choice of at-home businesses.

It was we who helped create the appetite for self destruction that has created a business which creates cascades of cash, and the violence needed to protect that cash and all the trappings and trimmings that go with it, while at the same time funding a "war on drugs" that siphons off nearly as much money as the disease it purports to be battling. Is there a way to keep things cool as this brave new world picks up speed in the new century? I don't know but I did just buy a fan-all I have to do is clean it. Again.
-bill kenny

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