The problem is what’s behind the symptom

narcos640I watched the first season of Narcos on Netflix, which is about the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar and his empire. In a scene where then Colombian President Gaviria and his associates were discussing the extradition issue with the American Ambassador and her people, the American position was that the drug problem was the fault of the traffickers from Colombia, and the Colombian position was that the problem was the consumption of drugs by Americans.

Both are right, but they don’t go far enough. The problem is multifaceted and cannot be laid at the feet of any one country or person. Why does life suck so much that people turn to drugs for momentary escapes? Why does life suck so much that people turn to manufacturing and selling drugs to make a living? I say life sucks because of the poverty, the economic malaise, and the general state of affairs for most people all over the world. These kinds of things push people to desperation.

Jailing banksters

I guess some people misunderstand when I talk about stopping or jailing bankers.

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They think I am referring to their personal loan officer at the branch downtown or down the street. Well if down the street is Manhattan, maybe, or if your checking account is with an outfit like Deutschebank or Goldman Sachs. I’m talking about people collecting the bailout bonus money while making unconscionable, reprehensible decisions and trades at the corporate and international level…who profit off financial failures and seek favors from the state to protect themselves legally and financially. That person I want to see endure hardship and reversal of fortune the way so many of us have. I want them to go down and not recover their empires. So I’m not talking about your golfing buddy or neighbor most likely.

War is a racket

HIS HOLINESS, THE DALAI LAMA

dalai lama war monstrous

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable,

surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which

the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
-Gen. Smedley Butler, War is a Racket, 1935

Where did I park? A situational awareness scenario

Yesterday about 1:15am I pulled into the parking lot of one of the few 24hr grocery stores. I noticed a couple of guys who seemed to be casing the lot. They didn’t have groceries. They didn’t seem like the car they were standing by was theirs. (no keys visible). I parked and went in the store. The security guard was not outside. He was chatting up one of the cashiers. I got what I went there for and left and I told the guard what I had observed. He said he was about to start his next rounds and would check it out. When I got outside they were still out there, near a different car. I went to my car and drove off.

If we were going to give them the benefit of the doubt, here’s how it should go:

  1. Are they lost? Trouble remembering where they parked? Okay, maybe, but this was not 2:00pm when there might be enough cars in the lot to cause confusion when someone has been in the store for a half hour. There were maybe 20 cars in the lot. So not very likely.
  2. No groceries. Well maybe their purchases consisted of a candy bar and so they didn’t need a bag.

There was too much wandering around, even the 45 seconds or so that I saw. There were no keys visible. The whole thing just looked a couple of degrees off dead center and that should set off red flags for everyone, not just me.

All law-abiding citizens have a moral obligation to watch for stuff like this. Our work goes to provide for our homes and their contents. Our work pays for the food we’re eating. Who has the right to that? You? Or some thug?

We have to harden ourselves and our property…locks, keys, being aware of our surroundings. Mayberry is fiction. The break-ins, the car-jackings, muggings and assaults are happening too often and as the economy slides further down the incline we’ll see more of that as the desperate join the hardened crooks.

If we’re judging people and if there are consequences we’ll just have to deal with that when the time comes. People try to beat up other people with the verse judge not lest ye be judged. Well with family and home constantly at risk we can no longer afford the luxury of giving implicit trust to total strangers. Judge because sometimes your life depends on it. There is no such thing as safe. Watch your back.