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Pawns in the War on Drugs
August 28, 2012 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Sarah Stillman for the New Yorker on confidential informants and the ends they meet -- "Gaither was tortured, beaten with a bat, shot with a pistol and a shotgun, run over by a car, and dragged by a chain through the woods."
“You can sit down with us and make a deal. Or you can go upstairs, get a lawyer, and get ready to be ass-rammed in prison.”

“Letting a young, immature woman get into a car by herself with $13,000.00, to go off and meet two convicted felons that they knew were bringing at least one firearm with them, was an unconscionable decision that cost Ms. Hoffman her life,” the grand jury declared. “Less than fifteen minutes after she drove away from the offices of [the Tallahassee Police Department], she drove out of the sight of the officers who assured her they would be right on top of her watching and listening the whole time. She cried out for help as she was shot and killed and nobody was there to hear her.”

“There’s no such thing as training an informant,” Brian Sallee, of B.B.S. Narcotics Enforcement Training and Consulting, told me. “You direct them what to do, and if they follow those directions that will make it safer for them. There’s always going to be a risk, but when things go bad it’s usually because they didn’t do as they were told to. They get themselves hurt, not the officers. The informants cause their own dilemma.”

“Now I lost my baby for an ounce of weed,” Nelson said at her kitchen counter. “It’s like they just threw her away.”
posted by grobstein (84 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Snitches get stitches and end up in ditches" isn't just playground jive.
posted by three blind mice at 11:09 AM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


The article seems to be behind a paywall.
posted by griphus at 11:09 AM on August 28, 2012


I'm getting only the article abstract when I click on that link. Here's a working full article link courtesy of Longform.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/09/03/120903fa_fact_stillman?currentPage=all&pink=VZyHUf

Apologies if this is a local machine issue.
posted by miomiomio at 11:10 AM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks miomiomio
posted by grobstein at 11:14 AM on August 28, 2012


This is like the Evil Twin of the article in this recent FPP.

Informants are the foot soldiers in the government’s war on drugs.

vs.

‘… So why were you doing it?’ I don’t even remember what I answered.


Same game, different players and much scarier stakes.
posted by chavenet at 11:14 AM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have a friend whose daughter was busted for possession of something relatively mundane at a college party early in her freshman year, and who was pressured to turn informant. Luckily, she went to her parents who could afford to lawyer up and shut that down hard.

I worry about those who don't have the resources to lawyer up.

Yet more reason to teach our kids "Don't talk to the police".
posted by straw at 11:17 AM on August 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


People keep explaining to me how a concern for the costs and outcomes of the drug war is just a distraction from the real issues, which I would surely realize if I weren't such a self-interested stoner.

Makes me want to scream.
posted by brennen at 11:30 AM on August 28, 2012 [14 favorites]


You guys are missing the bigger picture. What's important is that we are just about to win the War on Drugs.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:30 AM on August 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Prof. Alexandra Natapoff on BookTV, discussing her book Snitching.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:38 AM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goddamn that is painful.

Some days, in the middle of worrying about whether I've been overcharged for my Internet service and thinking about homework I need to get done, I read an article like this and I just think about how the War on Drugs is one of the most tragic and damaging things that the United States is doing right now. I read these kinds of articles all the time, saying that police departments are abusing CIs or that narcoterrorism is being funded by our misguided prohibition or that mandatory drug sentences are filling our jails with low-level pot smokers and sucking millions of dollars from worthier programs. This isn't news, but every time it hits me hard- for forty years we've been strangling ourselves this way, and nobody is stopping it.

It feels like there are offenses at every scale, touching on every one of our most hated evils. The War on Drugs sucks incredible amounts of money from states and the federal government. It drives our foreign policy and ruins other countries. It imprisons our youth and our underclasses, and kills innocents and "criminals" both. Thousands of words have been written on its terrible effects large and small, from the largely-ignored protests in High Times and the like to these devastating, thoroughly-researched indictments in the New Yorker and Rolling Stone. No rational argument seems forthcoming, and it has had years to come. It seems impossible that anybody in a position of power in this country has not heard a convincing argument against the War on Drugs, at least once.

But still it continues.

The War on Drugs for me is one of the most painful reminders that things that are obviously wrong and deadly and terrible can continue and be supported by those with the power to stop them. Every year that passes ingrains anti-drug thinking deeper into our cultural attitude, turning local police departments with real problems into machines that know how to put drug offenders in prison. That the people at the highest level of our government can continue these programs—whether because of a lack of exposure to criticism, subservience to "political realities", or whatever else drives them—is demoralizing and depressing. It deflates me. Sometimes even more than global warming inaction or GOP antics or my landlord's refusal to tow the car that is blocking me in, it makes me think that we are fucked.

I want to see the end of the War on Drugs before I die.
posted by aaronbeekay at 12:00 PM on August 28, 2012 [67 favorites]


A Snitch’s Dilemma
posted by homunculus at 12:23 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"They get themselves hurt, not the officers. The informants cause their own dilemma."

"And anyway," he added, "the incentives are embedded in the structure of the system. The law, the money, the careers. Everybody's just playing their part, police included. 'Don't hate the player, hate the game.'"

What a bunch of horseshit.
posted by notyou at 12:24 PM on August 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Those stories are just so sad. How can the police, who are so aware of the risks to undercover cops, be so casual about sending gullible teenagers into the same degree of danger?
posted by Azara at 12:25 PM on August 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


To be clear, I added the "he added" stuff. 'Cause it seemed like the next logical batch of BS to flow.
posted by notyou at 12:25 PM on August 28, 2012


Those stories are just so sad. How can the police, who are so aware of the risks to undercover cops, be so casual about sending gullible teenagers into the same degree of danger?

Because all too often, they focus on protecting the cops because they care about protecting police specifically, not people in general.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:28 PM on August 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


The War on Drugs is wildly unsuccessful is you assume that stopping or curtailing drug use is it's actual rather than stated goal. If you assume that the actual goal is disenfranchising and incarcerating a large sector of the electorate that might be antagonistic to the goals of the moneyed elite (minorities, lower socio-economic status individuals, etc) then it's doing really well. Plus it's a great source of money transfer into projects like building prisons, building surveillance capabilities, etc.

The War on Drugs is not a war on a social ill because let's face it there are tons of ways of limiting the negative social impact of drugs other than incarcerating people but rather ta war of social control. The sooner people realize that the sooner we can come up with realistic solutions to the quagmire we've found ourselves.
posted by vuron at 12:31 PM on August 28, 2012 [33 favorites]


aaronbeekay, the saddest part is that if Christians could actually read the New Testament instead of getting bored after Deuteronomy and stopping I believe we'd be in a much better place politically. What Jesus taught (which to me, as a weak agnostic, still seems to be a pretty good manual on not being an asshole) has been lost in so much racism and bigotry sanctioned and sometimes promoted by corrupt parts of the various churches in history. If they could get back to basics where Jesus said "sell your possessions and give your money away to help the sick and the poor" and the "forgive us our trespass as we forgive those who trespass against us" that they repeat EVERY DAY we could probably move past this era.
posted by Talez at 12:32 PM on August 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Those stories are just so sad. How can the police, who are so aware of the risks to undercover cops, be so casual about sending gullible teenagers into the same degree of danger?

They are criminals, and they can be turned into money.
posted by grobstein at 12:38 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Those stories are just so sad. How can the police, who are so aware of the risks to undercover cops, be so casual about sending gullible teenagers into the same degree of danger?

I am not a cop, but I would think the calculus is, "we can do action A, which puts hard-working police officers at risk, or action B, which risks only criminals."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:41 PM on August 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


The sooner people realize that the sooner we can come up with realistic solutions to the quagmire we've found ourselves.

Unfortunately, it seems that the longer the war on drugs goes on, the more likely it is that the only realistic solution will involve a wall and lines of people up against it.
posted by logicpunk at 1:23 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


What frightens and infuriates me is that I know Rachel. Or at least I know peopl just like her. I have been friends with guys who smoked daily and then grew up and got "real" jobs. I remember buddies in college who dealt a little on the side just because it was easier than waiting tables or picking up an extra shift. I know tens, hundreds of kids who are now successful adults that did the same shit or similar to Rachel and the other CIs in the article. The only thing seperating these kids from this horrible fate is that they didn't get caught, or if they did, they were lucky enough to be caught by cops that didn't push for CI work.

It's not right or just that something so petty and so common is criminalized to the point that it can get you killed. Not only does the War on Drugs harm innocents, but it tars the mostly innocent with the same brush as the really, really fucking guilty. How is that justice? How does that make people more safe? How does it do anything but make you terrified to step out of line?

Oh wait. That's what it's supposed to do. Fuckers.
posted by teleri025 at 1:25 PM on August 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


What strikes me immediately is how the corrupt and violent state of our prisons is used to pressure people by the very state that runs the prisons and makes sure that they are violent and corrupt. "We run our prisons in such a way that of course you will get raped and beaten in jail, so do what we say or else. Not that we're going to rape you or beat you personally or anything, no, we just maintain the apparatus."
posted by Frowner at 1:27 PM on August 28, 2012 [46 favorites]


I have been friends with guys who smoked daily and then grew up and got "real" jobs.

See also the president of the United States.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:34 PM on August 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


It seems impossible that anybody in a position of power in this country has not heard a convincing argument against the War on Drugs, at least once.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
posted by any major dude at 1:41 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of the officers threatened Shelly with prison—a particularly terrifying prospect for a transgender woman, who would be sent to a male facility—and then offered her a way out: she could set up her dealer, Qasim Raqib, and walk free that same day. She agreed.

Typical*.

See, this is why I think the whole prison system is basically fake: It's just a machine for employing cops and guards and court personnel and suppliers, a machine for political patronage, the protection of the cops and the concentration of power. You criminalize virtually everything that poor folks might do and a great deal that anyone might do, run a disgustingly corrupt and violent prison system, give the cops virtual impunity...and then you blackmail the poor folks who broke your laws into acting as amateur cops against more powerful folks who have also broken your laws, conveniently putting the poor folks in front of the guns while you get the props and promotions for the convictions and the prison corporations get the money from imprisoning people and the politicians get power and money from prison corporations and their employees. It's just a scam, a total scam.



*Although it's worth noting that there are trans women like CeCe McDonald who do not feel that a women's prison would be especially safer for them.
posted by Frowner at 1:46 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, I kinda freaked out when I saw that she had both admitted having illegal drugs and consented to a search. My uncle's ol' dope smokin' days yielded the adage that if you're gonna break the law, you gotta think like a criminal. Never admit to breaking the law to a cop, never consent to a search. Tell them to come back with a warrant.

I'm not blaming Rachel — there's a powerful set of social norms to go along with the cops, and she got fucked in part because of them. But for the rest of you: NEVER ADMIT TO BREAKING THE LAW, NEVER CONSENT TO A SEARCH.
posted by klangklangston at 1:47 PM on August 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I assumed she must have been really high and nervous at the time, maybe. Or that they're lying from the beginning about her consenting to the search.
posted by elizardbits at 1:57 PM on August 28, 2012


Her poor Dad. The end of the story was heart-rending.

She made a number of mistakes leading up to this. You should not consent to a police search of your premises, ever. Make them get a warrant. If they don't, then there is something for your lawyer to work with. Which brings us to the next thing: your LAWYER. The cops told one of the kids in the story that he could make a deal, or he could go get a lawyer and "get ready to be ass-rammed in prison". This is a typical lie - the police manipulate scared suspects with the idea that getting a lawyer is against their own interests. I don't care if they catch you juggling 3 quarter pounds of weed in the air while riding down the street on a unicycle, you don't admit it is yours, you don't agree that it is pot, you don't do anything but consult a lawyer and wait to make bail. This is what professional criminals do. If there is any informing to be done, the lawyer helps negotiate that with the prosecutors, later.

I hate criticizing a dead young person so harshly, but people who keep 5 oz of weed in their house need to know this stuff. They have chosen to break the law, and they need to understand what they are up against.

What a travesty.
posted by thelonius at 1:59 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


David Simon's "Homicide" has an excellent chapter about police interrogations. Although the concept there is to get murder suspects to admit guilt, not to produce drug informants, he describes the exact same con: hey, if you don't tell us what happened, we can't help you. Sure, call a lawyer - here's the phone. It's all the same to us. The DA is going to charge you with first-degree, eligible for the death penalty, and we've got you dead to rights (they don't, and ALL murder suspects in Baltimore are initially charged with 1st degree). You seem like an OK guy, I know you didn't mean to kill him. He came at you, right?
posted by thelonius at 2:05 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]




It's amazing how often this same mentality of people being disposable in service of a higher goal shows up in articles here. The War on Drugs, the War on Abortion, the War on Terror...

I'm not sure if that's a causative effect or just a side-effect, but it seems notable.
posted by CrystalDave at 2:17 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's amazing how often this same mentality of people being disposable in service of a higher goal...

It's a fundamental premise of a lot of human thinking, especially those philosophies which claim otherwise.
posted by aramaic at 2:34 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's amazing how often this same mentality of people being disposable in service of a higher goal shows up in articles here. The War on Drugs, the War on Abortion, the War on Terror...

Part of declaring a "war" on something is that it makes it acceptable to shrug off some collateral damage in the service of that greater goal. It's war, after all, and people die. Shit happens, can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs, etc.

That's why you should be intensely, immediately suspicious anytime a politician breaks out the "war" rhetoric. That's how you justify killing people and breaking things.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:36 PM on August 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


there's a powerful set of social norms to go along with the cops, and she got fucked in part because of them. But for the rest of you: NEVER ADMIT TO BREAKING THE LAW, NEVER CONSENT TO A SEARCH.

First thing my dad, the former cop, told me when I started driving was to never, ever, ever let the cop look in your trunk or root around in your car. He was less concerned with them finding things that were illegal than he was with asshole cops planting evidence.

It's amazing how often this same mentality of people being disposable in service of a higher goal shows up in articles here. The War on Drugs, the War on Abortion, the War on Terror...

I'm not sure if that's a causative effect or just a side-effect, but it seems notable.

This post has stuck with me through out the day and the thing I keep coming back to is why in the world to we as a species think that information gained under duress can be even remotely valid? How can we expect someone to tell the truth when they are bullied, abused, and brutalized into it? If these kids are truly criminals, then how in the world can we expect that they would tell the truth about anything? And if they're not, what makes you think they wouldn't say any thing you want to get out of trouble?
posted by teleri025 at 2:37 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


People keep explaining to me how a concern for the costs and outcomes of the drug war is just a distraction from the real issues, which I would surely realize if I weren't such a self-interested stoner.

Bingo. I ran into this nonsense on mefi a week or two ago... yet here's another dead body, one we're supposed to pretend is less important than having a nice, quiet election in which nobody brings up the issue.

No. We don't just need to vote and donate and speak out to bring an end to this, we need active resistance. Do not talk to the cops. Do not consent to a search. Do not inform on other people. If you are on a jury, do not convict anyone under unjust laws. If every one of us refused to do these four things -- as the article itself points out! -- then "narcotics operations would practically cease to function".

They want a Drug War? Fine, I'll behave like a soldier: name, rank, and serial number (or, in this case, "I intend to remain silent until I can speak with my lawyer"). Cooperation is treason.
posted by vorfeed at 3:43 PM on August 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


If the informant tells the cops what they want to hear, so much the better, right?
posted by ryanrs at 3:44 PM on August 28, 2012


How can we expect someone to tell the truth when they are bullied, abused, and brutalized into it?

The purpose of the exercise is not information, but confirmation.
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:45 PM on August 28, 2012


According to Mitchell McLean, an agent from a federally funded narcotics task force laid out Jeremy’s options, saying, “You can sit down with us and make a deal. Or you can go upstairs, get a lawyer, and get ready to be ass-rammed in prison.”

What's worse, the use of untrained CIs to perform dangerous undercover work detailed in the article, or officially sponsored threats of prison rape as a pressure tactic?
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:46 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


NEVER ADMIT TO BREAKING THE LAW, NEVER CONSENT TO A SEARCH.

The cop at my high school (the 'youth liaison officer' or whatever they call them) gave a talk in driver's ed. I'm not sure what he was supposed to be be telling us, but it was a speech about never consenting to a search.
posted by hoyland at 3:47 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

It wasn't an easy question then and it certainly isn't an easy question now.

From my anecdotal experience, civilian review boards are either garbage, or simply don't exist. And good luck if you try to ask for something as simple as a complaint form from a local police station.
posted by Sphinx at 3:56 PM on August 28, 2012


The war on drugs is insane. That is a given. However that fact is immaterial.

Is a person who agrees to perform the duties of a CI in lieu of going to prison ever responsible for their own actions? Do they ever share some responsibility for committing the crime(s), making the bargain of being a CI, and performing their duties? Maybe that person shouldn't have taken the offer of being a CI but they did. They made an adult decision. If they are not responsible for that decision than are they responsible for any decision?


On another note,

All too often claims of racism is pure bullshit. However it is interesting that the parents of Hoffman, an adult drug dealer was able to make almost $3million off of their white, attractive daughter's death just from the city of Tallahassee and who knows how much in donations. Whereas the parents of an African-American teenager who merely punched an adult fought to get a mere $168k and then had that settlement overturned.

Who knows how many CIs have been killed. Surely there are quite a few. It is shameful that only ones with a certain look get sympathy.
posted by 2manyusernames at 4:19 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Make love on drugs, not war on drugs.
posted by uosuaq at 4:38 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is a person who agrees to perform the duties of a CI in lieu of going to prison ever responsible for their own actions? Do they ever share some responsibility for committing the crime(s), making the bargain of being a CI, and performing their duties? Maybe that person shouldn't have taken the offer of being a CI but they did. They made an adult decision. If they are not responsible for that decision than are they responsible for any decision?

They made an adult decision?!?!!? In some cases they're wiring up kids who aren't old enough to have a driver's license. Using a minor for this shit is unspeakable, and I hope anyone that involved a kid in this type of operation where things went pear-shaped has screaming nightmares for the rest of their life. Even if they're old enough to be tried as an adult, it's just wrong. Sending people into harm's way, with no training or protection is unconscionable. Trained career cops demand major coverage and redundant backup to do their jobs, and then they send in lambs to slaughter.

I don't particularly like pot; I don't like pills and other small time drugs. I sure wish it could be kept out of the hands of kids. But fuck the war on drugs. Legalize this shit already. The only thing that should be illegal is selling to minors. Booze is legal and does infinitely more damage than pot will ever do.


I want to see the end of the War on Drugs before I die.

I can't last another 100 years.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:41 PM on August 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


BlueHorse: "In some cases they're wiring up kids who aren't old enough to have a driver's license. "

I think it is clear I was not talking about every single case. Nor am I asking if it is right or wrong to have informants. And yes, having kids become informants is nearly always wrong. I was talking in general terms. Does the CI ever share part of the responsibility?

The fact that many of want to see the end of the war on drugs is immaterial to the question. Also there are CIs for crimes other than drugs so it is even less pertinent. In fact let's take drugs completely out of the question.

Is any informant no matter the original crime ever responsible for their own actions and decisions? Unless the police really screwed up which I believe was part of the problem in the Hoffman case, is the informant ever responsible for cases where their death was not a result of a failure to follow procedures on the part of the police?
posted by 2manyusernames at 5:06 PM on August 28, 2012


Is a person who agrees to perform the duties of a CI in lieu of going to prison ever responsible for their own actions? Do they ever share some responsibility for committing the crime(s), making the bargain of being a CI, and performing their duties?

Yes, I'd say they do, which is why it's incumbent on all of us to stop doing these things no matter how we're threatened by the police. That said, people -- especially kids -- don't always make the best choice, especially under duress and coercion. Our police have created a system which encourages young people to inform, threatens them with "ass-ramming" if they don't, and then promises they'll be protected the whole time; if that doesn't imply that the police take ultimate responsibility for what happens to them, I don't know what does.

If we want informants to bear full responsibility for their "adult decision" then they should be a volunteer force, not conscripts.
posted by vorfeed at 5:12 PM on August 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


BlueHorse : I can't last another 100 years.

Doesn't matter, something else will just come after it.

Does anyone really think the "war on drugs" an isolated evil? It serves a purpose (unrelated to its name), of sorts... Nothing more and nothing less.

So what happens when we "win" this particular battle, and get rid of such an abomination? Hey, we got rid of the inquisition, we got rid of witchhunters, we got rid of (alcohol) prohibition. Perhaps media piracy will replace the war on drugs - We already seem headed solidly down that path.

Can you imagine? Distribution of an unlicensed MP3, 20 years in prison (actually 10, doubled for possession of "circumvention technology", and thank your deity you didn't have an unregulated encrypted device)? Well, you don't need to imagine... Just Google "Kim Dotcom" for an all-too-clear picture of the future.

We will keep killing ourselves, keep oppressing ourselves, keep cycling through revolution and tyranny over and over and over again, until one side accidentally wins for good by killing us all (Google "marijuana vaccine", then imagine that going only slightly wrong and undetected for a few generations). Simple as that.
posted by pla at 5:18 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Trying to sympathize with people who betray their friends, coming up empty.

If it were something morally reprehensible like murder, that'd be one thing. But this is drugs we're talking about. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:21 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is a person who agrees to perform the duties of a CI in lieu of going to prison ever responsible for their own actions? Do they ever share some responsibility for committing the crime(s), making the bargain of being a CI, and performing their duties?

Not if they were coerced or lied to in order to get them to agree to be a CI. They might be stupid for trusting the police, but they're still being used.
posted by hoyland at 5:26 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it were something morally reprehensible like murder, that'd be one thing. But this is drugs we're talking about.

Yeah, drugs never ruin lives.
posted by dave78981 at 5:28 PM on August 28, 2012


Yeah, drugs never ruin lives.

I know, right? Drugs are so bad that they ruin your life just by looking at a doobie across a crowded room! They're not like alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, soda, gambling, tanning, unprotected sex or compulsive shopping on credit.

Some people have addictive personalities. Sad for them because they lost the genetic lottery. They need help. They don't need the rest of society to be treated like a five-year-old who can't responsibly enjoy their life choices.
posted by Talez at 5:40 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I mean, don't get me wrong. The real problem here is the US's senseless drug war. No drug has ruined more lives than drug prohibition. But for every nark who ratted out his buddies, there's someone who kept their trap shut and didn't betray one of their friends in order to save their own asses.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:06 PM on August 28, 2012


Yeah, drugs never ruin lives.

Absolutely they do. The War on Drugs is society's promise that we will ensure they ruin as many as possible.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:11 PM on August 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


They don't need the rest of society to be treated like a five-year-old who can't responsibly enjoy their life choices.

I'd have to argue that, aside from pot, mushrooms and LSD (maybe), drugs on the whole tend to ruin people's lives. And I've tried most of them.

The thing about that genetic lottery is, most people don't know they've won until they've lost.

I'm not arguing against legalization (in fact, I'm for it, with heavy taxation) but to claim that selling drugs to addicts- and that's what I'm talking about here- isn't morally reprehensible is ludicrous. I actually think it's more reprehensible than murder because that dealer is responsible for a part of every crime that happens as a result of those drugs being sold- every robbery, every rape, every murder. He's as much responsible for the decay in the inner city as the war on drugs is- after all, he's a part of it.

And whatever this bullshit code of honor you're talking about here, afroblanco, I don't buy it. Do the crime, do the time works in both directions.

"Selling out their buddies?" Please. A dealer is a buddy to an addict about as much a loanshark is to a gambler- there in the good times, ready to break your legs when you're down and out.

I'm not arguing the merits of the War on Drugs- there are few if any. But this myth of the friendly drug dealer is complete bullshit.
posted by dave78981 at 6:20 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, drugs never ruin lives.

governments wreck many more - the historical record is quite clear on that
posted by pyramid termite at 6:21 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where's Wallace?
posted by granted at 6:37 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


And whatever this bullshit code of honor you're talking about here, afroblanco, I don't buy it.

If somebody buys and uses drugs, obviously they don't see it as morally reprehensible. It's cowardly to get someone else in trouble for doing something you don't believe is morally wrong, especially if you're doing it to save your own skin.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:58 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, from personal experience, there've been people who've legitimately done me wrong who I could have gotten into a whole mess of trouble because I knew they possessed/used/sold drugs. But I would never do that, because I don't think there's anything wrong with buying, using, or selling drugs.

A man's got to have a code.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:01 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


"If somebody buys and uses drugs, obviously they don't see it as morally reprehensible."

Again, I have to disagree. The addict is almost always at odds with himself over the compulsion to use vs. the impulse to survive, i.e to stay clean. If a person is addicted, s/he isn't making rational choices based on morality. They make their choices based on compulsion and are at that point no more rational than a psychotic person.

Also, if you're going to appeal to libertarian thought in order to defend personal drug use (which I don't- I think it's just more rational to devote resources to helping people instead of jailing them), you should be internally consistent with you're logic. In a me first world, there's no such thing as camaraderie. It's every man for themselves.

Also, funny you should quote Omar, because Omar had not a single second thought snitching out people that done him wrong.
posted by dave78981 at 7:54 PM on August 28, 2012


Yeah, sorry, something like drug-dealing, even in its most exploitative form, is not in the same ballpark as murder or rape or even robbery. It's not even the same sport.

Also, Omar never ratted people to save his own skin. In fact he never would've gone to the cops had it not been for Brandon.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:30 PM on August 28, 2012


...something like drug-dealing, even in its most exploitative form, is not in the same ballpark as murder or rape or even robbery...

I disagree on both points, but there's nothing left to say about the first one; we simply don't see it the same way.

...Omar never ratted people to save his own skin. In fact he never would've gone to the cops had it not been for Brandon...

As for Omar...

They took away something he loved- he did it for himself, for revenge, not for Brandon. He was already dead.
posted by dave78981 at 8:44 PM on August 28, 2012


I have to say, I'm surprised that a fan of The Wire would take a moralistic standpoint on drug-dealing.

Then again, Obama is a fan, and his justice department raids pot dispensaries.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:09 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, gotta say Dave, I can only imagine you've got some kinda personal animus tied up here — the problem with ratting someone out for drugs is that the punishment is so wildly disproportionate to the crime. I might snitch on zoning violations, but narcing on an addict isn't going to lead to that addict getting treatment and narcing on a dealer isn't going to lead to any addicts getting clean. It's just bad juju all the way around.
posted by klangklangston at 9:33 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have to say, I'm surprised that a fan of The Wire would take a moralistic standpoint on drug-dealing.

Mine isn't a moralistic stance at all, it's a rational one: drug abuse hurts those that abuse drugs, the people around them, and society as a whole. Selling drugs to addicts is akin to stealing from the poor. Note that legalization in Simon's universe via Hamsterdam didn't magically solve the problems with drug abuse; on the contrary, it exacerbated those problems to the extreme and absurd.

I doubt you could make the point that Simon intended to apologize for the dealers- he may empathize with them and lament the social constructs that led and or forced them into their predicaments, but I think it's very clear he holds them morally responsible for their actions and they are far from the protagonists of the story, even if they figure prominently in every season.

Bubbles is the protagonist and it becomes clear through the seasons that Bubbles' is the story that the audience is intended to most identify with. Bubbles survives anyway he can in a world where everyone is against him. He steals, cheats, lies, snitches and eventually kills, and yet it's obvious he's the heroic figure. In the end, he's the only one that achieves anything approaching redemption, and it's only of the most tenuous sort. He is us, the everyman, trying to eke out an existence between the implacable forces waging war around him and within him.

I can only imagine you've got some kinda personal animus tied up here

My personal animus is that I work with addicts at a detox facility. I see firsthand what addiction does to individuals, families, neighborhoods, etc. I'm no virgin when it comes to drug use and I'm no fan of 12 step programs. I'm not interested in telling people how to live their lives, but when they come to us for help, help involves telling them what to do. Addiction isn't a crapshoot. Given enough use- not talking about pot or shrooms here- anyone can become addicted.

"...the problem with ratting someone out for drugs is that the punishment is so wildly disproportionate to the crime..."

So, if a dealer set up shop on your corner, you're ok with that? Or you get busted for possession and you have a chance to get help if you set up your dealer, you'd choose to get a record instead of giving up your dealer? Unlikely that you'd care about the inherent unfairness of the system when you're facing prison time for possession. Also, I'm sure he'd do the same for you.

There's nothing honorable about protecting a drug dealer instead of saving yourself and I frankly can't understand how anyone can defend the actions of people who have absolutely no qualms about wringing every last penny out of every one of their customers. They're scum in a way that few others are.
posted by dave78981 at 9:53 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


This discussion also fails to acknowledge the wildly disseparate harms cause by marijuana vs street crack of heroin ala The Wire. Some of the War on Drugs rhetoric could possibly be justified to stop the widespread distribution of drugs that truly do ruin lives (not that it would be any more effective). But when applied to a natural substance demonstrably less harmful than alcohol with legitimate medical uses, it becomes truly monstrous.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:56 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pla, you are a font of cheer in a dismal world.


Is any informant no matter the original crime ever responsible for their own actions and decisions? Unless the police really screwed up which I believe was part of the problem in the Hoffman case, is the informant ever responsible for cases where their death was not a result of a failure to follow procedures on the part of the police?


2manyusernames: In a perfect world everyone would responsibly follow the rules and be fully aware of the penalties in breaking said rules. The problem is that the War on Drugs isn't being played on a level playing field. Some people get a slap on the hand. Other people get nailed to the wall for the same offense(s). Cops look the other way for the rich folks and cover for each other. At one time, one of the worst potheads in the high school was a cop's kid, and everybody tiptoed around him. This isn't a perfect world, but nowhere in the rule books does it state that the penalty for smoking pot, or doing other drugs, is to be put in harm's way.

To answer your question: Hell no, the informant is not responsible for their own death as a result of a failure to follow procedures! Law enforcement trained and prepped to handle dangerous situations eff up all the time, whether through ego, misread, or failure to follow procedures. I think the majority of people who are caught smoking pot or handling drugs either are too immature to know exactly how this will affect them, or are clueless with social interaction. These are not the people to be shoved into situations that could rapidly escalate into violence. AFAIC, what the police do by gang-pressing civilian informants is akin to using them as a potential shield in a firefight.

I don't like drugs. I don't like alcohol. If people must use them, I wish they would do so in moderation. I believe pot should be legalized, taxed, and fully controlled. I think we need to help addicts, not throw them in jail. I believe the War on Drugs is entirely wrong.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:03 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


But when applied to a natural substance demonstrably less harmful than alcohol with legitimate medical uses, it becomes truly monstrous.

Sorry if I wasn't clear above that my points don't really relate to pot. And again, I'm pro legalization. I think the war on drugs is an absolute failure and my viewpoint isn't a law and order one.

But in this extreme libertarian world that the street is where the rule is every man for himself, you best look out for you and you alone.
posted by dave78981 at 10:04 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"So, if a dealer set up shop on your corner, you're ok with that? Or you get busted for possession and you have a chance to get help if you set up your dealer, you'd choose to get a record instead of giving up your dealer? Unlikely that you'd care about the inherent unfairness of the system when you're facing prison time for possession. Also, I'm sure he'd do the same for you."

Most dealers, yeah. If he was threatening or violent I might call the cops about, you know, the violence, but I wouldn't call about drugs themselves. But then, most places that I've lived have had dealers pretty close and they've been mostly OK people. I tend to think that violent confrontation is pretty rare in drug dealing, and that The Wire is a terrible thing to base moral claims on.

As far as getting picked up for possession, I'd get a fucking lawyer, not roll on my dealer. Not least because I'm a nice white guy who's never been convicted of anything violent and am unlikely to get caught holding anything that would put me in jail. I'd rather pay a fine, be on probation, piss clean and go on with my life, even if it meant going on with a drug conviction, than try to flip up the ladder.

There's nothing honorable about protecting a drug dealer instead of saving yourself and I frankly can't understand how anyone can defend the actions of people who have absolutely no qualms about wringing every last penny out of every one of their customers. They're scum in a way that few others are.

Yeah, no, that's bullshit. Some of my best friends have been drug dealers, and I've only known two absolutely scummy people involved. And while I don't do them, I've been friends with people who dealt coke and heroin, so it's not just pot heads, though that is most of them.

Oh, and the one that really scummy one? He actually went to prison for mortgage fraud and embezzlement, which no one had a problem with.

"But in this extreme libertarian world that the street is where the rule is every man for himself, you best look out for you and you alone."

Dude, I hate the libertarians as much as the next socialist, but you've gone bug nuts over shit no one has actually said. Maybe you can't handle working at a rehab joint — it's pretty emotionally grueling (had a longterm roommate who worked as a rehab counselor), or at least should maybe take a step back and think about whether that broad brush you're painting with is really both justified and useful.
posted by klangklangston at 11:24 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's nothing honorable about protecting a drug dealer instead of saving yourself and I frankly can't understand how anyone can defend the actions of people who have absolutely no qualms about wringing every last penny out of every one of their customers. They're scum in a way that few others are.

I don't know about where you live, but certainly where I am, most of the people serving heroin, cocaine and crack are addicts themselves. None of them are getting rich off it -- most of them barely make enough to support their own habits.

Sure, there's a tier of scumbags who employ them. Those people rarely, if ever go to prison because they take the time and the trouble to insulate themselves from that risk.

I frankly can't understand how anyone can defend the actions of people who have absolutely no qualms about wringing every last penny out of every one of their customers.

Regardless of how you feel about the trade, there's not a lot of wringing goes on. Nobody is putting anyone's arm up their back and forcing them to buy. Pretty well everyone knows where to get treatment -- whether that be abstinence based or substitute prescribing -- which is available for free here in the UK.

Yet if you're the firm whose got the good dope, they'll still beat a path to your door and queue up around the block, desperate to force their money on you.

'Wringing' doesn't really cover that behaviour, IMO>
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:15 AM on August 29, 2012


dave78981 : So, if a dealer set up shop on your corner, you're ok with that? Or you get busted for possession and you have a chance to get help if you set up your dealer, you'd choose to get a record instead of giving up your dealer? Unlikely that you'd care about the inherent unfairness of the system when you're facing prison time for possession. Also, I'm sure he'd do the same for you.

You've confused a gritty cop drama for reality. Most dealing happens within one's circle of friends, not from some shady guy on a street corner. So yeah, I have no problem with a "dealer" dropping by - Because I probably invited him over to hang out.

Even as you go up the food chain, that relationship really doesn't change all that much. The little fish hang out with only slightly bigger fish, who in turn hang out with even bigger fish. Joints become ounces become pounds, all still just friends hanging out and hooking each other up. I've never understood how people with no objection to voluntary adult drug use and even small time dealing, seem to have have this mental dichotomy when considering the producers and distributors so necessary to having a drug to use in the first place.
posted by pla at 3:52 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just don't share the romantic view of drug dealing that some of you seem to. To me, dealers are opportunistic and selfish, yet you guys are okay with that. To each his own, I guess.

Whatever you think about the nature of using drugs, I can't understand how trading in the misery and desperation of people, especially to their so called friends, is a defensible occupation.
posted by dave78981 at 6:08 AM on August 29, 2012


Whatever you think about the nature of using drugs, I can't understand how trading in the misery and desperation of people, especially to their so called friends, is a defensible occupation.

Have you even ever seen any drugs or someone using them? Or do you really get all your knowledge from Fox News? Nearly all drug use world wide is people doing it for fun while having a good time. Just like you having a few beers with your buddies over the weekend.

There's a hand full of people who are not very good at doing drugs and get addicted and end up screwing up their lives. Take away the drugs and they'll end up being drunks or they'll find some other way of messing up.

Those people need help, not law enforcement. The rest, the majority of people who use drugs, just need to be left alone so they can have some fun and then get on with their lives.
posted by Djinh at 8:48 AM on August 29, 2012


If there's anyone worse than drug dealers, it's bartenders. They're just enabling alcoholics all day long. And if there's anyone worse than bartenders, it's pharmacists. Don't they know that people get addicted to pills? They're the worst.
posted by A god with hooves, a god with horns at 8:51 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If there's anyone worse than drug dealers, it's bartenders. They're just enabling alcoholics all day long. And if there's anyone worse than bartenders, it's pharmacists.

Yep. (the source is for the conservatives in here)
posted by entropicamericana at 9:10 AM on August 29, 2012


Just Say No kids, because if the drugs don't kill you, we'll make sure our war on them does!

fucking disgraceful.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:40 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have you even ever seen any drugs or someone using them? Or do you really get all your knowledge from Fox News?

Yeah, I've seen people use, I've used, I don't watch Fox News and I'm not conservative. If you actually read what I wrote instead of cherry picking lines, you'd see I've said all this already.

I'm not talking about casual users, I'm talking about addicts who sell their belongings in week long binges or dismantle buildings for copper to hock. These aren't fiction, these things happen in the real world. Maybe you can't see that from your smoke filled bedroom, but it's real and the effects ripple out through society.

I'm not advocating law enforcement for people who use drugs, and as I've said at least three times in this thread, I think the War on Drugs is wrong and a failure and drugs- all drugs- should be legalized, taxed heavily, and the proceeds should go to treating addiction.

What I do advocate is looking out for your own best interests and if that includes rolling on your dealer (and it does for some people, for various reasons), you shouldn't be bound by some false notion of fealty to people who sell you poison.
posted by dave78981 at 9:42 AM on August 29, 2012


If there's anyone worse than drug dealers, it's bartenders. They're just enabling alcoholics all day long. And if there's anyone worse than bartenders, it's pharmacists.

War on drugs moves to pharmacy from jungle
posted by homunculus at 9:52 AM on August 29, 2012


Mine isn't a moralistic stance at all, it's a rational one: drug abuse hurts those that abuse drugs, the people around them, and society as a whole. Selling drugs to addicts is akin to stealing from the poor. Note that legalization in Simon's universe via Hamsterdam didn't magically solve the problems with drug abuse; on the contrary, it exacerbated those problems to the extreme and absurd.

Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001, replacing the criminal system with a free system of treatment and "police intervention". In the eleven years since, heroin and cocaine use has dropped significantly, and lifetime use of all drugs among young people has also dropped. Deaths from overdose and needle-related HIV have plummeted. Even British criminal journals are paying attention.

Likewise, this metastudy of decriminalization worldwide points out that "decriminalisation has not been the disaster many predicted and continue to predict". Overall drug use rates have more to do with other factors (treatment policy, the local drug culture, the economy, etc) than with drug laws.

I'd agree that legalization won't "magically solve the problems with drug abuse", but I'd say the wide success of decrim suggests that we're only making it harder to solve that problem with criminal sanctions... and this "drug dealers are scum" rhetoric only makes it more likely that criminal sanctions will persist. "The War on Drugs is wrong and a failure and drugs- all drugs- should be legalized, taxed heavily, and the proceeds should go to treating addiction" sounds about right to me, but I don't see how one gets to (or from) there to the above rhetoric.
posted by vorfeed at 9:56 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd agree that legalization won't "magically solve the problems with drug abuse", but I'd say the wide success of decrim suggests that we're only making it harder to solve that problem with criminal sanctions... and this "drug dealers are scum" rhetoric only makes it more likely that criminal sanctions will persist. "The War on Drugs is wrong and a failure and drugs- all drugs- should be legalized, taxed heavily, and the proceeds should go to treating addiction" sounds about right to me, but I don't see how one gets to (or from) there to the above rhetoric.

US Prohibition provides a good analogy. Many people drank and openly flouted the law. Cartels of gangsters controlled distribution and production. The illegality of selling alcohol meant that something that should've been a private, personal choice got surrounded by violence and crime. Seedy, amoral people were attracted to it. The same holds true for drugs today. That doesn't mean that we should excuse the amoral behavior.

My point about Hamsterdam is simply that decriminalization alone won't solve the problem of drug abuse. When drug abuse loses the stigma of illegality that's attached to it today, treatment options might be explored earlier than when the addict has lost everything, but a system of care would have to be in place or in development. Portugal would be a good model, but somehow I doubt the US is capable of instituting a system of free treatment.

In fact, our history with psychiatric deinstitutionalization shows us that more often than not, one system is scrapped without an adequate replacement being in place. Social services are being cut, the US is teetering on the edge of scrapping its already meager health insurance programs for the poor, and you think it's gonna be ready to suddenly flip on a dime and legalize drugs and then provide services for addicts? Not realistic.
posted by dave78981 at 10:20 AM on August 29, 2012


Yeah, I've seen people use, I've used, I don't watch Fox News and I'm not conservative. If you actually read what I wrote instead of cherry picking lines, you'd see I've said all this already

[...]

I'm not advocating law enforcement for people who use drugs, and as I've said at least three times in this thread, I think the War on Drugs is wrong and a failure and drugs- all drugs- should be legalized, taxed heavily, and the proceeds should go to treating addiction.


Fair enough. I should have paid more attention to your previous posts. I'm right there with you...

What I do advocate is looking out for your own best interests and if that includes rolling on your dealer (and it does for some people, for various reasons), you shouldn't be bound by some false notion of fealty to people who sell you poison.

This part does seem a bit hateful to people who, in most cases, are just helping out their friends get their hands on some stuff that they should be able to just buy in the shop around the corner.
posted by Djinh at 10:45 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


This part does seem a bit hateful to people who, in most cases, are just helping out their friends get their hands on some stuff that they should be able to just buy in the shop around the corner.

I think that's the disconnect here. I'm not talking about friends hooking each other up for a little recreational use and neither is the linked article. I'm talking about hardcore addicts who gt stuck between a number of large, immovable forces against them and few, if any, looking out for them. In this case, looking out for yourself is tantamount to success. Being an addict is hard enough; being an addict with a prison record is a problem nearly insurmountable.
posted by dave78981 at 10:55 AM on August 29, 2012


That doesn't mean that we should excuse the amoral behavior.

That's the problem: I don't agree with you that drug dealing is necessarily "amoral behavior". The vast majority of drug dealers -- even hard drug dealers -- are users selling to their friends or acquaintances in a nonviolent manner. I find it hard to see anything morally problematic about that. Drug dealing can be associated with amoral behavior, but if so we should address the behavior, not the mere act of selling drugs to people who want to buy them.

You keep saying that yours isn't a moralistic stance, but it very clearly is.

In fact, our history with psychiatric deinstitutionalization shows us that more often than not, one system is scrapped without an adequate replacement being in place. Social services are being cut, the US is teetering on the edge of scrapping its already meager health insurance programs for the poor, and you think it's gonna be ready to suddenly flip on a dime and legalize drugs and then provide services for addicts? Not realistic.

An immediate end to the Drug War is necessary whether treatment is in place or not, because the Drug War is a "cure" much worse than the disease. Again, I see very little evidence that drug use increases or becomes more problematic under decriminalization, even without treatment programs -- that metastudy I linked to describes several countries which have done little other than stop arresting people for possession of small amounts of drugs (Estonia, Czech Republic, Spain, Uruguay), yet the paper still concluded that liberal drug policy changes do not increase drug abuse.

I think that's the disconnect here. I'm not talking about friends hooking each other up for a little recreational use and neither is the linked article.

What? The majority of the dealers (and users) mentioned in the article were small-time. Jeremy, for instance, "agreed to sell eight methadone pills to a friend" who was wearing a wire, after which he participated in "setting up at least five local drug suspects" whose "cases had led to plea bargains rather than to convictions". He was then involved in "fourteen undercover stings", and the threat that ended his life was ignored by the cops because the guys he was busting were "small fries". That's three scary amoral drug dealers (the three killers in the story) versus at least nine people (Rachel, Shelly, Jeremy, Jeremy's friend, and the five local suspects who pled out) who were seemingly in the system for no damned reason.

And the real question is -- when we give drug dealers a good reason to hurt and kill snitches, can we then use the fact that they hurt and kill to further justify giving them that motivation? It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I think it's obvious that fewer people would be getting killed over drugs if we weren't fighting a Drug War.

In this case, looking out for yourself is tantamount to success. Being an addict is hard enough; being an addict with a prison record is a problem nearly insurmountable.

As I pointed out above, if no one turned informant then narcotic busts would quickly grind to a near-halt. On top of that, cooperation with the cops often ends in a worse outcome, especially since it usually involves self-incrimination. Acting to support a system which is destroying you and those like you isn't "looking out for yourself" or "tantamount to success", especially when you can get yourself killed for having done it. It's a literal game of iterated Prisoner's Dilemma -- and the problem with that is that "greedy strategies tended to do very poorly in the long run".

A strange game... the only winning move is not to play.
posted by vorfeed at 11:43 AM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Recreational users of drugs and users are two different animals. Users need help, usually not just for the addiction, but in many other facets of their lives. Can you imagine what a better world we'd live in if the money spent on this shitty War on Drugs had been used to assist users and provide mental health options? It would be cheaper, and more humane, to provide minimal housing, food, and drugs for abusers who are not capable of quitting than to throw them in jail. Legalize both recreational and medical pot, let the taxes pay for social services. If you seriously don't like drug users, make sure they have full access to birth control and abortions. Maybe they'll eventually go away.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:48 AM on August 29, 2012


dave78981: I'd have to argue that, aside from pot, mushrooms and LSD (maybe), drugs on the whole tend to ruin people's lives. And I've tried most of them.
So, you begin your argument by admitting that drugs don't tend to ruin lives in three common cases - including the most commonly used illegal drug.
"Selling out their buddies?" Please. A dealer is a buddy to an addict about as much a loanshark is to a gambler- there in the good times, ready to break your legs when you're down and out.

I'm not arguing the merits of the War on Drugs- there are few if any. But this myth of the friendly drug dealer is complete bullshit.
You hang with the wrong dealers. The one who came along with me on my trip to Atlanta back in college was pretty cool (except for outflirting me with that waitress).

Your generalizations are far from universally true. And most pot dealers (the most common of all) aren't the cold-blooded killers you pretend they are.

Pot distributors are not in any way responsible for mayhem, murder, and rape, as you claim; horse and meth dealers are no more responsible for violence than are liquor store and bar owners.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:50 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that's the disconnect here. I'm not talking about friends hooking each other up for a little recreational use and neither is the linked article.

Actually that's exactly the point of the entire article. The girl in the article sold (admittedly a good bit) of weed to her friends. The cops busted her and coerced her into trading up to two and a half ounces of cocaine, fifteen hundred Ecstasy pills, and a semi-automatic handgun. The whole reason for the botched sting was at police behest, pure make-work padding of the stats in order to justify making more of the same work. She was "selling to her buddies", the only person she even knew to try and set up was another college dealer, her friend. Joints become ounces become pounds. She had to set out to find someone that might have access to enough weight in coke to satisfy the cops, and engineer a deal that never would've existed but for police intervention, leading directly to her death.

The Drug War and actions of the police turned "selling to their buddies" into the last thing those people ever did.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:26 PM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


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