Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll... and little kids?

Do you have a connection to Valentín Gómez Farías Primary School? You might if you do coke.

I live in San Francisco and after a weekend in LA I especially appreciate it here! My city is full of artists and creative people, culture and diversity. I live in the Mission District and happen to go out a lot in the area surrounding 16th and Valencia, as do many people I know. Walking (or riding your bike) around my neighborhood you'll see lot's of Hipsters out and about and since it's a culture I'm surrounded by it's a culture I'm influenced by. Out on this "scene" I've been exposed to interesting people, great music, art and fashion but an element (that I used to be) unaware of seems to be popping up more and more. Easy to miss if your not looking but not surprising once you notice it; cocaine seems to be everywhere.

What does this have to do with Valentín Gómez Farías Primary School in Tiujana Mexico? More than you might think...

I don't post this as judgement or criticism towards anyone, none of us are perfect. Today I write in an effort to expand the self-centered bubble that a lot of us operate from (myself included).

As I sat in a cafe yesterday sipping tea and reading the NY Times I came across this article. I was shocked and disturbed but mostly I felt a deep sadness for the children who will never be able to remove those violent images and events from their minds. As I contemplated what I had read it occurred to me that the demand for drugs like cocaine, especially in big cities like San Francisco, is really high and even seems to be rising. I reflected on how many people I've observed either "partying" or just experimenting and got the feeling that people don't often think too much about where their drugs are coming from. When a sack is passing from the dealer's hands to yours you may feel nervous, excited, a little worried about your own safety but mostly it's all about you, you, you. It's easy to be careless and self-destructive with ourselves but we forget how connected we are to everyone else.

According to another article in the NY Times, "Over 3,000 people have been killed this year as Mexico's drug gangs fight for control of smuggling routes into California, Arizona and Texas. The killings and kidnappings have spilled over into the United States, where the demand for illicit drugs drives the trade." These things have been going on for a long time and will (unfortunately) probably continue... But it's just too easy to feel removed and separated from it. Children have impressionable and sensitive minds and these children in Mexico are being bombarded with violence that has nothing to do with them! The first article I linked states that; "Exchanging gruesome stories is nothing new for schoolchildren, who have a way of overstating their brushes with danger. But the 12 tortured, tongueless bodies that were the talk of the playground recently were no exaggeration. In the early hours of Sept. 29, the bodies of 11 men and one woman, bound and partly dressed, were found in an abandoned lot opposite the school."

Drugs are a part of our society, whether prescribed by a doctor or obtained off the black market. From Ibuprofen to Heroin, drugs are used and abused everyday by almost everyone in our society on some level. It's easy to focus on how this affects us and the people in our immediate lives but it was an interesting reminder to me that although I may be the center of my own universe I'm not alone in this world! Like a lot of my friends and acquaintances, I try to practice conscious consuming when it comes to my clothes and the food I put into my body because I know about some of the negative aspects of these industries. When it comes to illegal industries and drug cartels it's not just bad for all involved with production and distribution, it's harming society on so many different levels. If you're a consumer of drugs it's just something else to think about...

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