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September 28th, 2016

Max’s View

Cartel Land
***1/2
The War On Drugs has essentially worked.

At least for me, it has. Today I’m a happy working man on the eve on my 40th birthday. My only drug is alcohol and I don’t drink to excess.

I’m not proud to admit it, but in my early 30s I was addicted to cocaine.

To be clear: I wasn’t a junkie on the streets. I never stole money to buy it. I never missed a day of work because I was on it. But I was addicted. Sometimes I thought to myself that there was literally nothing I could do to quit. And I never did. Fortunately – thank goodness – my dealer’s supplier began cutting the drug with baking soda.

The result was that I stopped buying from my dealer because I wasn’t really getting cocaine anymore. And, thanks to drug prohibition, I couldn’t find another dealer. That was that. I was clean. My life was saved.

Unfortunately, millions of people have had to suffer terribly so that I can live my happy and clean suburban life.

“Cartel Land” is a depressing, disturbing documentary about some of the many, many victims of The War On Drugs.

In Mexico, the War On Drugs is an actual war. The film takes us deep into rural Mexico, to the state of Michoacan. For years, the ruthless Knights Templar cartel had been ruling Michoacan with an iron fist – producing meth, shipping drugs to the United States, taxing the locals, and killing everyone who didn’t cooperate and pay up.

The hero of the story is Jose Mireles, a prominent doctor who decided to become the leader of a self-defense militia – Autodefensas. Dr. Mireles and his band of well-armed vigilantes tracked down murderous Knights Templar gangsters and cleaned up Michoacan.

Meanwhile, 1000 miles north, a former American soldier Tim Foley leads a tiny militia group that patrols the Arizona/Mexico border.

He says that everybody knows that this is the open border where the cartels move their shipments of drugs into our country. But his brave band of watchmen are the only ones who are willing to put their lives on the line to disrupt the supply route.

It is deeply troubling that the only heroes in the War On Drugs are lawless vigilantes.

It’s even more troubling that Tim Foley admits that his group’s best efforts are barely slowing down the giant caravan of drugs that is moving into the country.

Even more troubling is that the film concludes with Dr. Mireles rotting in prison. The other leaders of Autodefensas betrayed the cause, made peace with the corrupt Mexican government, and took over the drug trafficking operation from the Knights Templar that they had vanquished.

American inner cities are unsafe. Much of rural Mexico is a war zone ruled by ruthless drug lords. Our southern border is hardly a border at all. Our prisons are overflowing with drug offenders. The War On Drugs is costing us a lot of money, a lot of blood, and maybe our right to even call ourselves a civilized country.

Drug prohibition helps me as much as anyone. And even I’m against it. It’s time we give legalization a try.

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