Today on: Sick Sad World!
OK, so this story is from yesterday, and I really find this more hilarious than sick and sad. I've just always wanted to say that.
Anyway, yesterday the good people over at CNN.com graced us with what has to be my favorite story of the new year. Buried under stacks of reports on celebrity scandal and the importance of prostate exams, I found this gem. That's right, according to CNN, the Colombian military has unearthed a HUNDRED FOOT LONG "narco sub" which is reportedly capable of smuggling EIGHT TONS of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico.
Now, in order to help this information to process, let's think for half a second about just how much cocaine eight tons really is. That's 16 thousand pounds. 256 thousand ounces. Or, if you prefer, just over 7.1 million grams. Sweet tap-dancing Christ! That's in one shipment! And you can bet your ass that whatever South American drug lord was willing to shell out the $2 million officials have estimated as the cost to build this vessel, they planned on running the sucker on more than one voyage (and you just gotta love the swanky camouflage paint job she's sporting).
Now, beyond the impressive cargo capacity the "narco sub" also had room for four passengers, though no one was found where the sub was discovered. The same did not hold true for some unfortunate smuggler, however, when back in July of 2010 authorities from Ecuador discovered the first instance of a sea-worthy submarine built for drug smuggling purposes. This first sub also measured approximately 100 feet in length, and while a statement from DEA officials claim they seized the vessel before its maiden voyage and make no reference to the available cargo space in the article, it would not be too far a jump to assume this first sub has approximately the same 8-ton capacity as this newest discovery.
This seriously just has me baffled. Honestly, where does the pattern of escalation have to go from here? We're talking about drug cartels with their own private sub-oceanic naval force! The rancorous War on Drugs has been spiraling out of control since the days of Tricky Dicky, and in over 40 years we have yet to make anything close to a sizable dent in the flow of narcotics. Smugglers continue to get more inventive and elusive, and the national media outlets trumpet and laud the sparse victories and clandestinely sweep the losses under the rug.
As we all learn from out childhood exploits with drive-way lemonade stands, one of the simplest principles of economics is the idea of Supply and Demand. Set your Radio-Flyer up in the middle of summer and you can make yourself a tidy profit off a gallon or two of home-squeezed lemonade. Set that stand up in the middle of January and the only thing you're coming home with is a frost-bitten nose and an icy pitcher. You remove the demand, and the supply is worthless.
If this article proves nothing else, it's that the people in charge of the War on Drugs in this country need to suffer a serious paradigm shift. One that turns away from prisons, concrete walls, and the religious and moral condescension of the current establishment and make a serious turn to compassion and understanding.
I once heard a rant where someone argued that the most grievous mistake the War on Drugs has made to date is the fact that we employ law enforcement officers in the position of Drug Czar, rather than therapists or even recovered addicts. Our current Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, claims to be a step in the right direction, claiming to have stopped the official usage of the term "War on Drugs" in an effort to eliminate the negative and violent connotations of the phrase in favor of a more compassionate approach. Yet still, I have a few misgivings about any man that can find himself working as the Police Chief of 4 different cities across the country before landing the big gig in Washington.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and only time will tell if the seizures of these naval craft, or the purported change of the governments stance regarding the war on drugs will have any effect at all, be it positive or negative. One thing is for certain though; if after 40 years we not only have been unable to stop the widespread flow of dangerous narcotics and the vicious and dangerous profiteering that drives the beast, but the underworld has established itself to the point that it can maintain "narco subs" (sorry, I just love the cutesy little names the DEA stamps on these kind of things), then baby, something's gotta give.
I leave you now after that verbose rant with this clip. Hopefully we can all get a good serious gut-laugh at just how out of control this whole scene is really getting.