Say what you want about the Mexican drug lords, but they do not fuck around. If you happen to show up on their radar screen, you may discover that a Columbian necktie is not something you can purchase at Lisa Kline Men on Robertson Blvd. in L.A., nor does one go particularly well with a Charvet French-cuff dress shirt. Rather, it’s a technique whereby a bad guy is strapped to a chair while a worse guy offers him anatomy lessons; the victim’s throat is slashed and his/her tongue is pulled out through the wound, the subsequent condition of which is said to resemble a necktie.
The main problem with this method is not as obvious as you might think, because it isn’t the bad guy who gets thus accoutered; it’s his wife and children, one by one, while he—strapped to a chair, as previously mentioned—is forced to watch. Frankly, whether or not he’s killed in the aftermath is immaterial: In the meantime, the situation has tended to get his attention.
Give Peace A Chance?
Since the term ‘War On Drugs’ was first coined by the crook Richard ‘I’m No Crook’ Nixon in 1971—three years before the quitter Richard ‘I’m No Quitter’ Nixon quit—somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred thousand drug-related murders have come down in Mexico—nearly a quarter of those over the past five years. This includes cartel members, military personnel, federal and local police officers, politicians, journalists, lawyers, human-rights activists, students, migrants from Central and South America and a handful of U.S. government employees like the consular official killed in Ciudad Juarez and a customs agent gunned down in San Luis Potosi. It does not included the quantum of corpses not yet discovered; mass graves in remote deserts throughout the country are commonplace.
Meanwhile, since 1971, the number of American inmates incarcerated for drug offenses in state and federal prisons and local jails has skyrocketed by more than 1000%; the fact that a disproportionate number (four in five) are black or Hispanic (compared to overall drug-abuse among these groups of under 20%) is a story for another day.
Because, Today’s Core Study is Neither Black nor Hispanic; It’s the Indigenous Rarámuri People of Northern Mexico.
Talk about a culture that has been run through the cheese grater; the Rarámuri—a.k.a. Tarahumara—have, through the centuries, done their best to avoid Spanification, Mexification and drugification with varying degrees of failure. Slower than agave syrup to adopt the customs of Hernán Cortés and company, their language, religion and culture is today much as it was in the 16th century. They remain an isolated and agriculture-based society—the main thing that has changed over the past ten years is the crops that they cultivate.
Exploitation of this ancient, profoundly spiritual race—who have lived in the forests and canyons of Chihuahua’s Sierra Madre mountains for more than two thousand years—began with the Conquistadors. Unable to defeat them, the Spaniards subjugated them, forcing them to work their silver mines until 1696, when a full-scale Indian rebellion took place and ultimately drove the Rarámuri survivors into deep, virtually inaccessible Sierra Madre boondocks.
And that’s where they remain today. Unfortunately, it happens to be among the largest stand of old-growth pines in Mexico, and after Spain recalled their soul-hungry Missionaries (whose legacy remains in the weirdest Easter ritual on the planet: Parading, executing, then burning a straw Judas effigy who has a giant penis sticking out of his pants), the next group of Rarámuri abusers were the loggers, who systematically robbed them of their land via bogus promises and corrupt deals. Copper Canyon—once the heart of the Rarámuri’s sequestered lifestyle, was penetrated by the Chihuahua-Pacific Railway during the last century and is today a jumble of sewage lagoons and smoke-belching mills. The old-growth forests have been razed four times in a hundred years, with most of the 23 species of pine winding up as American toilet paper.
Americans, along with the Mexican government and the drug capos, have been equally happy to wipe their asses with the Rarámuri themselves. Recognizing the value in the desperately detached regions where the Indians crept once the prime timber was gone, trafficantes have approached them—often at gunpoint—with deals they shouldn’t refuse. The traditional Tarahumara trio of corns, beans and squash has been largely supplanted by marijuana.
Opium poppies are grown as well, but according to David Johnson, former Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs: “Cannabis is the the cash cow.”
And regrettably, that’s as true for the farmers as for the narcos—faced with juggernaut U.S. agribusiness, most Rarámuris couldn’t earn a living on their old-school staples anyway. So, raising pot is the logical extension of their twenty centuries of subsistence farming.
And remember, nearly all of what they grow is smuggled into the United States via ten trillion devious channels so that little Jordan Junior and young Sofia Sophomore can smoke a bowl before the prom; so that Grandma can get a little relief from chemo nausea and so that overgrown oafs like Whoopi Goldberg can brag to Elizabeth Hasselback that they enjoy the odd doobie or six, then waddle off to blabber at Give A Damn rallies. LGBT activism is fine—you never know but that Jose Luis Ortiz would have grown up and joined in, except that he was shot to death at the age of three by Tijuana marijuana traffickers who mistook him for the child of a cop trying to interfere with Whoopi Goldberg’s supply chain.
If you get a break in your blabberage, Whoopi, consider giving a damn about him.
Where’s Johnny Hempleseed When We Need Him?
I can tell you from personal experience that marijuana is a lot easier to grow than heirloom tomatoes.
Meanwhile, marijuana smuggling remains a multi-billion dollar business in Mexico, where it’s become an unconscionable, unholy abyss; a nightmare for which there is no possible moral justification from any front, political, religious or mom-and-dad-with-the-gateway-drug-lectures.
We’re talking about a substance that can be planted along freeway berms, in abandoned house lots, in open fields, raised bed gardens and backyard easements—except that some self-righteous dweeb in Washington says that it can’t be. Are you telling me that, if Americans won’t give up their belyando spruce and their blunt blasting—and they won’t—you’d rather that it flowed through narco-channels with its associated dead toddlers, taxpayer-sponsored jail time and Columbian fashion statements instead letting the average ganja gangsta toss a handful of seeds out the living room window?
If the answer is yes, I’d be curious as to what it is that you’re smoking.
The Few, The Brave, The Severed Heads Displayed In The Town Square…
The Rarámuri have not universally embraced the traffickers, of course, but opposition is not a real good career move. Over the past decade, forty tribal leaders have been publically assassinated for speaking out in favor of maintaining the millennial Rarámuri way of life, of the preservation of a beautiful vanishing culture and of the sanctity of the gawi wachi—Sierra Tarahumaran for ‘the place that nurtures us.’
You want reasons to overturn current laws against growing marijuana?
There’s twenty for you and twenty for me.