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March 15, 2015 5:46 PM Subscribe
The Final Rhapsody of Charles Bowden by Scott Carrier [Mother Jones] [warning, descriptions of graphic violence]
Bowden's last report, for instance, was a confession by a member of the Chihuahua State Police who tortured and killed hundreds of people for a Juárez drug cartel. El Sicario, the assassin, describes in detail how there was no separation between the police and the cartel, how he was just following orders, and how he found himself in Hell. For instance, he became an expert at boiling people alive in a big kettle of water, keeping them alive for a day, long enough to get them to talk — you have a hook and you keep pulling them out and slicing off the dead flesh because they can't feel that, and you have a doctor there pumping them with adrenaline so they won't die. Bowden talked to the sicario for months before he would open up, and then the more Bowden listened, the more he came to see the man as a normal human being, not evil. And then Bowden began to like him. They became friends.Scott Carrier visited with Chuck Bowden shortly before his death. This profile, based on that visit and decades years of friendship, originally appeared in High Country News. Read Clara Jeffery's remembrance of Bowden here.
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