Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Methland: the Book

A must read: Methland: the Death and Life of an American Small Town, by Nick Reding. It can be found in the "true crime" section of Barnes and Noble but it is much more than a book about "true crime." Or I might say it is a book that includes in the category "true crime" the political crimes of our nation.

Reding spend two years in Iowa, yes, that's right, Iowa investigating the effects of meth on small towns in Iowa and other "heartland" states. Actually, though, he was investigating the effects of certain policies, such as globalization and the creation of huge corporations, on the life of those small towns and those who live and/or use to live in them. Meth, produced both in small "labs" and in large "labs," becomes the drug of choice because it allows people to work hard and because it makes people feel good, when little else does.

"Crank in Oelwein [Iowa] back in 2005 was largely considered a small-lab problem, as it was in most of the country. The year before (2004 statistics had just been released when I went to Oelwein), there were 1,370 methamphetamine labs seized in Iowa. In Illinois, the number was 1.098. Tennessee had 899, Nebraska had 65, and Georgia law enforcement officers seized 175. In Arizona, the number was 71, and in Oregon it was 322. Missouri beat them all with 2,087. Between 1998...and 2004, there had been an increase of nearly 500 percent. And that's really only the tip of the iceberg."

This seems staggering. And it gives point to what Sheriff Bell, in Cormac McCarthy's novel, No Country For Old Men, said: "I think I know where we're headed. We're bein bought with our own money. And it aint just the drugs. There is fortunes bein accumulated out there that they dont nobody even know about. What do you think is goin to come of that money? Money that can buy whole countries. It done has. Can it buy this one? I dont think so. But it will put you in bed with people you ought not to be there with. It's not even a law enforcement problem. I doubt that it ever was. There's always been narcotics. But people don't just up and decide to dope theirselves for no reason. By the millions." Indeed!

Methland: Read it and weep!

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