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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

War on drugs is a waste of time

Sometimes, the best way to succeed in a losing battle is simply forfeit. Such is the case with the current Mexican drug war, involving illegal drug cartels committing all sorts of heinous crimes in an effort to proliferate their product. This is raising hairs all over government and media, but such concern may not be entirely warranted – and the simplest solution may be turning the other cheek. Recent suggestions by pundits and politicians have included sending U.S. troops to the Mexican border in order to stop the cartels from entering the country. On the March 27 edition of ‘Hannity,’ Sarah Carter reported Hezbollah was using some of the same drug routes to enter the U.S. through Mexico. The thought of Hezbollah entering the nation raises all sorts of fears and harkens back to the period of time around September 2001. Simplistic associations like these can be harmful, however, and if Hezbollah is in fact entering the United States – which there is no truly substantial evidence to believe – it may not mean anything at all, as there is no reason to assume Hezbollah is entering the country to do serious damage. In the interview, Sean Hannity asked Carter if there was the possibility of a nuclear weapon being snuck across the border. Carter assured him he was not delusional or paranoid, and that such a thing was possible. Many scenarios we have no reason to regard as fact or prophecy are certainly possible; this is just one of many. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke about the Mexican drug issue. She places the blame on failed U.S. anti-narcotics and anti-artillery policies, which sounds nice at first ‘- the U.S. certainly can shoulder some of the blame ‘- but her complaints seem to be that we haven’t taken these policies far enough. On a trip to Mexico, Clinton told reporters ‘Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade.’ The U.S. will be contributing somewhere in the vicinity of $1.5 and $2 billion to the Mexican government for tools in combating the drug trade, such as helicopters. Consider another drug, the most widely-used drug in the world and a personal favorite of anyone who wakes up early: coffee. It’s perfectly legal, widely dispersed and no bloodshed is required. Much like cocaine, the good stuff comes from Colombia; unlike cocaine, however, coffee isn’t driven into the black market and handled secretively by dangerous men armed to the teeth with AK-47s and grenade launchers. Though reports now suggest the danger has been exaggerated by the mainstream media (as evidenced partly by successful spring break trips there), there is still an increasing death toll in the streets of Mexico, and a reasonable solution must be reached. Recently, Senator John Kerry heard testimony from officials in El Paso regarding the sending of the National Guard to the Mexican border. Thankfully, his conclusion was ‘the idea of dispatching the National Guard to the border is premature and possibly counterproductive.’ Talk of military build-up reeks of the military-industrial complex searching for new markets to sell and make use of their wares. A much cooler-headed, reasonable and effective solution would be to simply discontinue the war on drugs. When a person has allowed a legal drug like alcohol to ruin their lives, Americans are compassionate, and programs like Alcoholics Anonymous may not be perfectly effective but do more to help the problem than guns and prosecution ever could. Decriminalizing drugs would render these cartels completely meaningless. They exist because they are the only ones providing a very important product – mind-altering substances – to a vast market filled with people who demand them. In America, the mind-altering substance of choice is alcohol, but others have different preferences. We must come to an enlightened understanding and admit there is no fundamental reason to criminalize one substance and allow another (and if we were to pick and choose, alcohol should be left as far away from the ‘legal’ list as anything). The situation in Mexico is deadly serious, but it is impervious to our ammunition. If we instead formulate a drug policy which recognizes those dependent on substances as sick rather than criminals, the violence would disappear and the cartels would become irrelevant overnight with their cash flow stymied. It takes modern solutions, modern thinking and that famous buzzword ‘change’ to improve the world. Ramping-up of policies which by the State Department’s own admission have failed is no answer at all. Ending the war on drugs is no waving of the white flag – it’s the only bloodless solution to a problem which has claimed over 8,000 Mexican lives already.

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