Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ripple Effect: California Cornflakes, It's Snowing!

California Cornflakes, It's Snowing!
Sasha Martin

I walk into a party, lights dancing as fast as the people, and a guy wearing aviators grabs my shoulder, whispering, "you ski?" My first reaction is a rush of sentimental, "yes! My dad and I have been skiing since I was three, and--." "No," shaking his head he continues, "I mean snow... ." Reflecting in his aviators now are the lines of cocaine he'd been arranging with precision right on top of his I-phone. 

Now, stop. What's wrong with this picture?

Is cocaine good for the body? Clearly not. 
                Is it addictive? Studies say yes, quite. 

But, this affects the person bumping it and their body alone. "If I want to get high, I'm the one getting high." So why feel as though they should stop, right? If they feel like doing something that only affects them, why should other people have the right to lecture them... right? 

Know your product, and know where it's coming from. The dusty streets of Mexico are collecting blood. In many areas you can't even walk around safely during the day now, especially near the boarders, where most of the drug cartels deal. With drug cartels and gang war comes peeks of violence so horrific that one would think them unimaginable, including rolling heads down streets to scare civilians, mutilated bodies past recognition, and I would say "you name it," but (unless you have a hyper-violent mind) you wouldn't be able to. 

Even the youth of the cartel are forced to commit atrocities. A fourteen-year-old boy, part of the cartel, testified: "I slit their throats," admitting to torturing and beheading numerous victims. We hear about him because he's been caught; he's in a Mexican jail now-- but, he's not the only one. 

And, this isn't just a couple unlucky victims; we're talking hundreds of thousands people killed, many of which were brutally tortured alone or in front of families, some even in the midst of a public event. This is the cartel making a point: we have the ammunition, we have the money, we have the power.  Check your facts: 
"Nearly 48,000 people have been killed in suspected drug-related violence in Mexico, the country's federal attorney general announced this month. In the first three quarters of 2011, almost 13,000 people died. Cold and incomprehensible zeros, the death toll doesn't include the more than 5,000 people who have disappeared, according to Mexico's National Human Rights Commission. It doesn't account for the tens of thousands of children orphaned by the violence" (
Realize this violence is spreading into the first world countries too now because Americans are buying their product so the deals move North too, ranging from USA state gangs to the Italian mafia (reaching all of Europe). And, 
"While the violence has remained mostly in Mexico, authorities in Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Alabama and other states have reportedly investigated abductions and killings suspected to be tied to cartels" (Ibid). 
          This could escalate. 
           65% of all cocaine that enters the USA does so through the Southwest border ( half! By purchasing cocaine, the buyer is supporting drug cartels. The buyer can rationalize it: 
well, it's not like I'm giving the drug cartels money directly...
 I just like cocaine, it doesn't mean I agree with gang bangers... 
if I only do it once... 
I didn't even buy it, I'm just bumping it....
it might not even be from a drug cartel man, maybe it's homemade (seriously?)... 
so many people are using that my contribution doesn't mean anything... 

             The problem with this rationalization is that most people? They know better. It's not like drug cartels and the blood they carry is a hush hush secret; it's pretty common knowledge. A problem that helps us all rationalize many decisions is that, when a problem is not directly affecting you, it can seem distant and, therefore, inaccessible. I know that the idea of drug wars can seem far away, especially for many of the buyers as they are cozy at a party doing lines. Even now, in front of your computer, all of this seems like a nightmare happening in another universe. This doesn't make you a cold person, it's just hard to wrap your mind around with out directly experiencing.  

            Unfortunately, that doesn't make the cartel or the violence any less real. Innocent people are tortured by drug cartels as they hold ransoms that never produce a live body. Innocent people are terrorized in hyper-brutal ways, so that the drug cartel might frighten the local people into keeping quiet and leaving the drug cartels alone so that the vast amounts of drug money keep rolling in... to go towards the members, and to go towards even more amo and more drugs! The list goes on. And, the victims? They're young children, teenagers, women, men, elders, tourists; there's no discrimination, they're completely fair in whom they choose-- many times it's at random!
         So, be aware.
         After all, however indirect, when a person buys cocaine? 
         The blood is then on their hands too.
         Even if one purchase of cocaine "doesn't make a difference," it's the idea that something as materialistically self-indulgent as cocaine is worth the baggage. It's the idea that the buyer is saying it is worth it. 

         We live in a society of consumers and it is hard to keep track of which big businesses are giving money to which cause (whether it be anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, etc), and it is hard to keep track of which big businesses have terrible environments for employees (sweat shops, underpaid employees, etc). And, we all should become more aware of this. But, where drugs come from? It is not rocket science to realize that drug money is blood money. We all know, even if we are not specifically aware, that thousands have died because of gang wars and drug cartels. There is no excuse here. 

       For a moment, step outside of your room. To make this accessible, just take a minute to imagine: how would it be, then, to wake up to your father, mother, sister, brother, significant other limbless or beheaded on the street in front of your house because a drug cartel needed the money, needed the power...? Then imagine, afterward, seeing a bunch of young adults bumping cocaine off I-phones at a party. 

        When a buyer purchases cocaine, whether they mean to or no, they are basically saying: whatever, who cares about all that drug cartel business, I'm just trying to have a good timeSince when did "just having a good time" become so difficult that people have to resort on something with such a bloody past? I'd like to think that people are more creative than that-- able to find joy in hanging out with friends, going out (into nature or bars, what have you!) and not needing the extra kick. I'd like to think that, but I know it's not true. 
          Be the one to care about what's going on in the world. Research your products. Question whether taking a bump of the Big C for a fun night you probably won't remember is worth supporting drug cartels and the wave of destroyed lives and bodies that accompany them. At the very least, be aware and make others aware too. 
Note of Warning: Unleashed wanted to let you know that if you are researching further on your own, even searching "cartel violence" on google images will leave you nauseous. Realize that these images are disturbing, haunting and scarily real, and definitely not appropriate for young eyes. 

Read More:

The Mexico drug war: Bodies for billions

Mexico cartel attacks on press take toll on drug war coverage--,0,990064.story

Dozens of bodies, many mutilated, dumped in Mexico

Mexican Airport Shooting

Mexican Drug Cartels Join Forces with Italian Mafia to Supply Cocaine to Europe

How a Mexican Drug Cartel Makes Its Billions

Women in the World and Relationships Section, Sasha Martin:         

   I made my own major, concerning emotions explored through literature, art, cognitive science and psychology, and am minoring in creative writing at UC Berkeley. My passions are writing and the arts in general. I created Unleashed for the empowerment and enlightenment of women everywhere. I am the editor, designer and a contributing writer, and happen to be extremely proud of the staff Unleashed has developed. I truly hope this magazine speaks to each and every woman.    

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