Essay date: July 28, 2022

The Unpeople of Southeast Washington, D.C.

ast week, I looked up info about buying edibles in Washington, D.C., and found a place that offered local delivery -- except, that is, for the residents of Southeastern Washington, who are asked to call in to arrange for a driver. This stipulation, of course, is due to the fact that Southeastern DC has been a battle zone for decades now thanks to the guns and violence which the Drug War brought to the region by creating armed gangs out of whole cloth. If our society considered all Americans to be equally valuable, then this story of American no-go zones (inner city areas with skyrocketing homicide rates) would be on the front burner of the media every single day of the week, in the same way that the ABC News show Nightline carried on for over a year reminding Americans on a daily basis how many days their 52 fellow nationals had been held hostage in Iran in the late '70s.

Just as we then saw headlines screaming "The Iran Hostage Crisis: Day 252," we should see headlines today screaming "Southeast Washington Homicide Crisis: Day 2,502." Why don't we?


Because, as Chomsky points out, human beings become "unpeople" when their needs and problems are not included on the "to-do" list of moneyed America and the media outlets that work for them. And to highlight the DC homicides would be to highlight the huge failure of the Drug War, which is the policy which keeps Americans under the ideological thumb of the elite while pushing profits through the roof for the healthcare industry, which profits enormously from its monopoly on mood medicine (highly addictive mood medicine at that). Nor can we count on the local press to cover such minority deaths, since local papers these days are owned by national companies, especially Gannett (see Gannett and the Death of Local Newspapers) who impose their corporate agendas on their skeleton staff of local reporters.

Take the Milwaukee Journal which recently rather tersely covered the death of 15-year-old Dechale N. Hampton by gunfire in the dangerous-sounding 9000 block of North 95th Street. He was the 14th juvenile killed this year in Milwaukee and the 109th homicide so far this year. Instead of honoring his untimely death by launching an investigative series to show how the Drug War had armed inner cities to the teeth, the skeleton staff of Gannett reporters quickly moved on to covering the important stuff, like a Sporkies Competition at the Wisconsin State Fair -- stories that were about and for real people, as that term is defined today by the 1%.

As Ann Heather Thompson wrote in the Atlantic: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist." That's why these inner city deaths cannot be covered in detail, because the Drug War is the accepted policy of the "haves" who are therefore loath to run rabble-rousing articles that might conduce to that war's demise.

Author's Follow-up: August 21, 2022

Why are the daily deaths of blacks NOT reported across the country every day as the unacceptable tragedy that it is? Read or listen to the following to find out:

Herman, Edward S.. "Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media." February 02, 2015.

August 22, 2022
Of course, there are other no-go zones around the globe since the drug-war is worldwide. Like the favela of Heliopolis in Brazil. Brazil should spend its money on improved housing instead of fighting the American boogieman called "drugs."

Next essay: Brahms is NOT the best antidepressant
Previous essay: Chomsky's Revenge

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American City Homicide Awards 2021

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You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at Brian has written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.

A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.

The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazi fies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America.

If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.

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