I'm irritated. Perhaps enraged. Definitely pissed.
My studio project here in Brazil is about how to increase the standard of living of people living in some of Brazil's favelas, or urban slum communities. To prepare, we're all researching various aspects of favelas and the people who live in them.
As it turns out, the drug cartels basically rule the favelas, especially in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Maybe that's not very surprising. What is surprising is that these cartels have enough weapons, influence, and money to basically wage war on the county's (admittedly corrupt) police force. According to this documentary, "children living in favelas are eight times more likely to die violently than those in the West Bank."
Maybe it's because I lived in Monterrey (a large Mexican city near the US-Mexican border where there's a lot of drug violence), and maybe it's because I've spent about 16 hours in the past two days learning about favela life, but quite frankly I'm disgusted with drug users. All of them. Even if they use drugs just occasionally for "fun," THAT is part of the violence and those children's blood is at least partially on the drug user's hands. If there were no market for drugs, there would be no drug cartels. Purchasing or using drugs gives the cartels a market. Shame on those who use drugs.
See where drug money is going.
Still not convinced? Watch this.
How could America, as the number one drug consumer in the world, be so horribly vile?
I know there are many different theories about how to end drug-related violence in the future, but you can choose whether or not your money is going to fuel the violence today.