Once chiefly known as the home of the 1974 World’s Fair, Spokane has recently developed a national reputation for the locals’ predilection for methamphetamine. While I would argue that the local meth industry is no more damaging to the world than, say, Boeing, Spokane County officials disagree, and stated such in a SPOKESMAN-REVIEW piece entitled “County Wants Quick Justice for Meth Cases”; the subtitle, to further clarify the concept, reads “Task force would prevent cases clogging court system.”
It is an indication of the paper’s uncritical stance toward police interference in the meth trade that “quick justice” doesn’t even merit quotations. It is assumed that accusation is tantamount to guilt, and that police actions embody a universal desire to bleach the streets clean of the meth scourge. The ideology of “Reefer Madness”, recycled to serve governmental interest in creating yet another pretext for expanding its power.
Not buying my claim? Let’s consider some of the choice quotes from the local paper’s article. “Spokane County officials fed up with the methamphetamine industry and its ugly offshoots [hope to create] an anti-meth task force.” This task force “would concentrate on pushing felony meth-related cases through the criminal justice system.” “Quick justice would reduce the amount of meth on the street and might decrease the number of meth-related crimes in the region.” Only the last quote was courtesy of a governmental official; the first two were the paper’s own uncritical assessments of the initiative.
Spokane’s response to the meth problem is no different than that of many other cities to such issues. The media raises a ruckus about destroyed lives and a rampant crime wave, and blames a substance for those problems. As if the eradication of any drug is a fix for the utter lack of meaning at the center of most American lives. Never mind the hellish existences most meth addicts have before they turn to the substance, or that people turn to “substance abuse” for what they perceive to be very good reasons. Those issues can’t be raised, as they threaten the social fabric itself.
Substance abuse cannot be eradicated. Never. Not even if the government employs 140 million Americans to hold guns on the other 140 million. Shooting up, doing a line, hitting a bong; all these are legitimate reactions to the acts we perform — every day, every hour, every minute — in service of the collective. Rare is the meth addict who is now or who ever has been a member of the CFR. Meth addicts, by and large, are born into a world where they learn quickly that they have little control over their ultimate destinies. They are born into slavery, subject to conscription by Wal-Mart, the Marines, or a local mill. They are born to marry women who bloom, breed, and fade all too quickly; they lose their looks and their wit, knowing all too well that life is far too long.
In short, meth addiction is a legitimate reaction to processes addicts are subject to that are utterly illegitimate. The paper discusses “quick justice”; where was this quick justice when these people went to government schools, to be spoon-fed ill-crafted bilge about democracy and freedom? Where was this quick justice when these people realized at once and indelibly that there was no future for them, no absolution from the present? Quick justice? It seems like it’s a decade or two late for these poor, misbegotten bastards.
ANTHONY GANCARSKI’s work appears in CounterPunch and other publications. Comments are welcome at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com.