A multitude of communities resemble ours. People go to work. They play. Kids grow up, graduate from high school and get on with generally ordinary lives . . . and it’s fulfilling. We know our neighbor’s, their successes, their problems–and their kids. Generally, we care about each other. Then, in a moment of horror, the muted peace is shattered. A young woman disappears. The police are on it, but weeks go by with the only announcement being that they have no suspects. An appeal is made to the community. Somebody knows something. Someone is withholding information. The family offers a huge reward. Search after search is organized, no trace is found of the vibrant young woman. The parents live in anguish, wondering if their precious daughter is in the hands of a mad man, possibly alive.
A promising young man; strong, virile, in the prime of life, is mutilated and murdered. Like the girl’s family,
his people grieve deeply. He is loved and missed. Why did this happen? How did a few moments of juvenile indiscretion turn into this free fall of horror? Friends recoil at rumors of drug hit men, enforcers who maim and kill to the beat of far-away shadowy organizations. We refuse to allow even the thought of them into our sheltered existence. They only exist on the rim of our collective subconscious. But grief continues to sear the horror into the depths of our souls. The loss is too close. We want to forget. We hope the memories will go away. They don’t, and though we are constantly bombarded by memories of the two young people—our minds refuse to deal with the horror. We try to remember them before they were sucked into the maelstrom of evil.
Proponents of drug legalization trot out statistics claiming that alcohol and tobacco still add substantially more in national health care costs than hard drugs. They’re right. What they fail to mention in their myopic march to legitimacy is the human toll. A cocaine habit can rapidly ramp up to $300 a day. For many addicts, crime or prostitution are the only avenues available to pay that level of cost. A report by the UK government’s drug strategy unit stated that drug use was responsible for 85% of shoplifting, 70-80% of burglaries, and 54% of robberies. They’re probably not far wrong. They failed to mention any statistics for the thousands of young people whose lives have been snuffed out by the brutality of the drug trade.
Alcohol abuse has created it’s own grief, but the drug trade is what siphons rivers of blood from our nation. It’s why I wrote “The Death Dealers.” It’s fiction—except for Nazario Moreno, the charismatic mystic who created the multi-billion dollar drug empire known as La Familia. It’s a horror that is real. And his victims? They’re real as well. In Mexico, in America, in our town. We know the victims. And we mourn.