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Thursday, October 22, 2015


Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar (left) and Juan Pablo Raba as his cousin and right-hand man, Gustavo Gaviria 
We've been watching Narcos on Netflix. It's a heck of a story. Everyone knows the story about how exporting cocaine from Colombia became a multi-billion dollar industry, or at least they ought to, but the show fleshes it out, makes it more real, even though it's all 'fiction'.
     People do lots of things they shouldn't do, and there are two different views on whether people should be prevented from doing certain things, even though they don't affect anyone else but the doer. You could probably start a big argument about that, but it's funny, I don't ever recall hearing any cogent discussion of the topic. All I've heard are the two sides, and they seem to be equally entrenched in their own self-righteousness. Here I am talking about taking drugs for recreational purposes, i.e. getting 'high'.

Netflix Organization Chart for the Medellin Cartel 
    Then there are actions that do affect other people, like torture and killing. I'm not sure which is worse. Since torture is often a prelude to execution, I am going to say torture is worse. If you want to kill someone, just kill them, that's the Christian way to get rid of your enemies.
    I mention these two items because they are both essential parts of this story. If recreational cocaine wasn't illegal in the USA, we wouldn't even have a story. Okay, you could still have a story, but it would more like Office Space.
    I don't know why Colombia is fighting the drug war. Do the powers-that-be down there have a moral objection to producing cocaine? Or are they fighting this war because the USA is giving them money to fight it? Or is it because they don't like the idea that these upstarts from the wrong side of the tracks suddenly have more money than they do?

Boyd Holbrook as DEA agent Steve Murphy.
His deadpan narration is perfect.
    The show is a little one-sided in that it shows the cartel thugs being brutal, callous and even vicious, but the cops and soldiers are generally pretty well behaved. Problem is that things the cartel thugs are shown doing, South American governments have been pulling the same kind of shit for decades, if not centuries.
    There was one scene that was a little telling. Normally, the cartels thugs are acting on orders, killing policemen, soldiers and government officials. On the episode we watched last night we have three thugs delivering a payoff to some dude. They are driving down a country road with little traffic, though occasionally there are small groups of peasants walking along the side of the road. Two of the guys are talking about who has killed more people and the driver slightly veers toward a group of peasants and hits and kills one. "Shit", one of them complains, "now we'll have to get the car washed". Like I said, callous. I suppose executing dozens of people could have that effect on a person.

P.S. 1. Good story about growing up in Colombia back in the day, by Bernardo Aparicio García.
P.S. 2. Wikipedia article about airliner blown up by Pablo.

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