Monday, September 27, 2010

Drugs... Really?

To read my blog would lead you to believe that I am some kind of an alcoholic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though I enjoy a drink or a good beer every now and then, I only have one, unless it's a rip-snortin' knock-down-drag-out party, then I might have two. I have a deep fear of being under the influence of anything. I've never taken any drugs to any great extent.

I took a half of a Valium 40 years ago. I mainly took it because I was depressed. It made me feel good for a little while, but when I got off it I discovered that the emotional pain that I was under only got worse. I decided that I didn't need a Valium addiction on top of my other problems, so I didn't take any more. I took some codeine for back pain once, I was so screwed up for the next day that I was not able to function on a productive level. I took a half of a vicadin after an operation. I slept for 16 hours. After than I figured out that life was better with the pain. I have never been able to figure out why anyone would like to punch-out of this life by using drugs. Is being non-functional that much fun.

I don't believe in a higher power that spends his life making sure that I don't stub my toe. So I realize that everything that I do has consequences, and I'm the on that suffers those consequences. I'm so faithless that I calculate the odds of every risk that I take. The odds of me being able to function with a drug adiction are remarkably slim, so I don't use them. In fact I fear them. I'm no moralist, I don't really care what you do with your life, but I question the value of being "out of it" with drugs.

Then in the last blog post I did, somebody listed Felix Wayne Mitchell Jr. as somebody that "Changed thier Life. I think that "somebody" was pulling my leg, but maybe not. Can somebody like Felix Mitchell be a "Hero"?

From Wikipedia:
"Mitchell created a criminal organization called "6-9 Mob" M. O. and B. standing for "My Other Brother" indicating the bond that connected the gangsters. Connected with L.A. kingpin Tootie Reese, he made business contacts in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Detroit."

"For more than a decade, Mitchell battled competition from Mickey Moore’s crime family and the Funktown USA gang to gain total control of the lucrative heroin market. Before 1984-1985 and the widespread practice of free-basing cocaine (smoking crack), heroin use was more common and dealing it was a fast, easy way to make a lot of money in Oakland. It is estimated that Mitchell’s crew brought in around $400,000 dollars in weekly business. Mitchell used some of his criminal proceeds to give back to the community, and he is credited with sponsoring local athletic programs for youths. He also hosted a busload of children on a field trip to Marine World Africa USA. The community respected him and spoke highly of him. When he drove down the streets of Oakland, people lined the streets just to wave at him, the reception was similar to a visiting dignitary."

"The notoriety of Mitchell’s empire soon came to the attention of local and national law enforcement. Mitchell was convicted in 1985 and sentenced to life in prison. He was shipped off to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary where he was fatally stabbed on August 21, 1986, a little more than a year into his sentence, just days before his 32nd birthday. However, Mitchell's imprisonment did not have the crime reducing effects law enforcement had hoped for. In what would later be termed the "Felix Mitchell Paradox", drug sales continued and, with Mitchell's monopolistic pricing eliminated, competition reduced the price of heroin. The main effect of Mitchell's imprisonment was to destabilize the market, lowering drug prices and increasing violence as rival gang members challenged each other for market shares with a consequent rise in drive-by shootings, street homicides and felonious assaults. Indirectly, effective law enforcement, followed by incapacitation, stimulated serious random violence."

Felix Wayne Mitchell Jr. Bio=


suzy blah blah said...

I have never been able to figure out why anyone would like to punch-out of this life by using drugs.

If you view taking drugs as punching a time clock then it follows that you understand life as a job. That's a pretty grim philosophy.

Ernie Branscomb said...

No, I view life as great! I view drugs as a job, a pain, or a burden. The punch-out that I was referring to is like the train-of-life conductor that punch cancels your ticket. Big difference.

However, like I said, you can do anything you like with your life. I fully realize that all people are different.

suzy blah blah said...

the train-of-life conductor that punch cancels your ticket

Heavy man! Thanks for clarifying that cuz I donno how many've heard of Him.

I view drugs as a job,

Hmmm, there's room for creative expression in there somewhere. I wonder what they pay?

However, like I said, you can do anything you like with your life.

I'm sure I could sneak past the ticket puncher somehow, I snuck into burning man by laying under a mattress in the back of some dude's pickup.

I fully realize that all people are different.

Thank god, or the train conductor with the big ticket puncher.

spyrock said...

in the midst of a real estate depression, i know someone who recently sold some real estate to known growers in mendocino county for quite a bit of money most of it due in large payments. of course she says they weren't buying it for growing purposes. but growing is where they get their money.
indirectly, you benefit from drugs being illegal because the resulting scarcity drives up the demand and price and this illegal money circulates into your legal economy.
so instead of having hippies with flowers in their hair, you have ganstas with uzzies in their shorts that hang half way down alaska.
the government does nothing to promote mental health or decent jobs. they just lock you up for trying to escape from the fact that you are flat broke, don't have a job or a house and there is no way johnnie or suzy is going to ucla.
all of these so called drugs should be treated like any other perscription drug. prescribed, administered, and dispensed by professionals. not some dude named ice tea pimp daddy cool jay.
but i guess some of youse whom are benefiting monetarily from all this madness don't want it any different. so are you complaining or bragging that you don't need to use drugs because your illegal drug fed economy has made your life so sweet that you don't personally need to take them?

Mr. Nice said...

Felix Mitchell made the best of a bad situation. I heard he was a fair and balanced businessperson. He gave back to the community every chance he got.

All charges were dropped after his death on some minor technicalities like no evidence.

His funeral was cool too:

If you ask anybody who grew up and saw the change after his death, they will tell you life was better before the system murdered him. Could leave you door wide open back in those days.

Ernie Branscomb said...

"so are you complaining or bragging that you don't need to use drugs because your illegal drug fed economy has made your life so sweet that you don't personally need to take them?"

Spy, that's is a cheap-shot.
You don't know me, or you would know that I have made every penny I own the hard way. That is especially true of my wife Janis. I have worked very hard, and very long hours. Believe me, the people around here don't come to me and push money into my pocket just because they made a killing on growing weed.

They come to me because they need what I’ve got. Most of the money that I have made through the years came, third party, from the growers. I worked for the grocery stores and restaurants that came here to do business with the growers. After I Installed all of the refrigeration in the stores, they got so big that they have their own refrigeration people on staff now. How the hell does that help ME?

Also, we owned a Sears Catalogue store. We did a great job for Sears, we made them money. When Sears decided to close the catalogs stores, we were the babies that went out with the bath water. My wife and I totally lost our asses. We had leases and bills with no income. Sears offered us a pathetic settlement that we had to take. They promised us that if we didn’t take it, and sued them, that we would never get it to court. They were right, the people that decided to sue Sears got hung out to dry.

We worked long and hard to develop a new business plan so we wouldn’t have to leave our friends and our beloved canyon. We opened our current business on borrowed money, and we still had bills from Sears. We didn’t go bankrupt out of principle, even though we were strongly advised to do so. We developed a plan where we paid every single penny that we owed, with long hard hours of stressful work.

We have only recently had enough money in the bank that we didn’t have to borrow money in the spring to make it through the year. We have shoplifting in our Radio Shack store to the point that we had to put in a camera surveillance system. I’m not telling you who the biggest “lifters” are, but I will tell you that the main item that we have lifted is a $20.00 children’s microscope. They tell me is used to find spider mites and other critters on Marijuana plants. How the hell does that help ME?

I have said before that I have many friends that grow Marijuana. I know that Marijuana growing is the base of the economy around here. The thing that you don’t understand is that we, my wife and I, make our living honestly. The cops can go through our books and store and find NO crime. No Foul, No fault! If the basis of the economy here was Horse Shit, my wife and I would still find an honest way to make a living.

I’ve never sneaked into a concert in my life. You can if you want. I’m invited by my friends. I’ve always given my refrigeration service labor pro bono (That’s NO-CHARGE) any of the concerts, and I will continue to do that when asked. That includes the Mateel, Reggae Rising, the Redwood Run and others that benefit the community that we live in.

So, to any, and all of you that think I have had a soft life rolling in the growers dough can kiss my ass. Is that clear enough?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Mr. Nice
It only goes to show you that there is good in even the worst of us. It is pretty certain that he dealt drugs though.

suzy blah blah said...

I’ve never sneaked into a concert in my life.

I snuck into ROTR, the Mateel, Earthdance, and many others ... LOL! but most of the concerts weren't all that good.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ah, Suzy. That's what I always loved about you. You are a "Free" spirit.

I think that you and spy will be interested in the next post that I'm puting up. You will probably be able to answer the questions. That is, after I told Spy to kiss my ass... I hope he has a sense of humor.

Robin Shelley said...

I just read that the Teamsters Union is getting involved in the marijuana business.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Maybe I'm wrong, but I really don't think that marijuana is going to be worth that much next year. I think that it will be legalized. That, and even if it isn’t legalized, there is a total glut on the market. People that have never grown the stuff before are growing it this year, and the regular growers are planting way more than ever.

The cops aren’t even putting a dent in the supply side. If you read the paper the only marijuana that they are getting is when somebody does something stupid. Like the local person with 47 pounds, clones and other goodies in her car, that was stopped for speeding. Can you believe that??? Speeding? I think that she should have been charge with driving while stupid.

A man up north was stopped for talking on his cell phone, they found that he was drunk. They searched his truck, found 55 pounds of marijuana bales, and $120,000.000 under the seat. They took his late model “grower rig”, marijuana, and money. Next year his truck will be used to haul eradicated weed out of the hills.

The should have hired “Teamsters” to haul their stuff…

Robin Shelley said...

It certainly seems that some of the states & commercial growers are getting into position for if & when the Feds give the go-ahead, Ernie. They've thought of everything... even union representation for the workers.

suzy blah blah said...

Did you know that some of the growers are starting to give drug-tests to eliminate stoners in the workplace.

Robin Shelley said...

Back in the early 1980s, when I was working for the newspaper in Laytonville, we had a columnist named Joe Knight who lived up on Spy Rock & wrote a usually somewhat controversial column called "Down Our Road". One of the marijuana discussions he launched involved him going around to the local business owners asking them to estimate what percentage of their business came from dope growers. There weren't very many business owners in Laytonville but the response was still varied. A few said it was none of his business, some denied any business with growers but Gary Futer, the owner of the building supply store, was very forthcoming. I don't remember what his exact estimate was but I think it was at least half. He said he did business with people who would allow only certain drivers to deliver to their property & also that he sold a lot of Fiskars clippers. He said he could surmise what these sales were for but said he wasn't in the habit of asking any of his customers where their money came from or why they were purchasing what they purchased. He said some things that some of us in Laytonville didn't necessarily want to hear (or face) but he was honest &, I believe, a smart businessman.

spyrock said...

thanks for responding so quickly and in such a nice way. i have been trying to put that into words for some time and your article made it happen. i hope you don't mind too much me using you as an example but i'm basically trying to reach people who don't seem to think that they are connected to or have anything to do with drugs and the dangerous type of business it has become. if my story saves one persons life, its worth kissing your baked alaska. of course, i know that you have earned every single penny iu your life the hard way just as i have. i learned from my dad that it's not about the money but being of service. the point i was making is that we are all connected to this whether we agree with using drugs or not. i actually share a lot of frustration with you about this subject because it prevents me from physically visiting the old homestead or my roots. it's like my family history has been invaded by this and is being held captive. so i'm trying to do what i can to wake people up to the fact that the drug violence is not acceptable. it aint coo. ya feel me.

Mr. Nice said...

Black market business is inherently dangerous. A pragmatic society would only outlaw activity where the black market is worse than a free market. Drugs are a good example of a commodity whose sales cannot be stabilized by any authority other than a vertically integrated market. Felix Mitchell was not a "drug dealer." He was not Rick Ross. Drug dealers play a small part in the market. Mitchell increased prices to the furthest extreme the market would bear. He was the definition of the only game in town. Mitchell was Bill Gaten.

We would not need heroes if every drug commodity could be substituted and prices cut. Cannabis could be substituted for alcohol and ibogaine substituted for heroin. Current drug policy results in margin variations guaranteeing violence. If one drug crew takes business from another we know the result and it's not that the second crew issues coupons.

suzy blah blah said...

no way johnnie or suzy is going to ucla

Haven't seen many ganstas with uzzis in their shorts around here, that must be down in your part of Alaska. Up here in here in mendo/boldt, the common history is some hippy parents who bought land cheap and threw a few seeds in the ground and hung out listening to old grateful dead lps and reminiscing about flowers in people's hair while discussing the physics professor they had before they dropped out of ucla. In the meantime little Johnnie and Suzy figured how to grow the shit.

spyrock said...

the subject of this story, felix mitchell, lived in oakland. i was recently at a one year olds birthday in san mateo. that's the way the father and his friends dress. mexicans from mexico who speak like black people. where i live, the mexicans from mexico speak like mexicans. i grew up with plenty of mexicans who were born here but very few of them speak spanish or ever knew how.
i work at a cannery which used to be multi racial. now its 95% mexicans from mexico. that is the company's hiring policy. the owners are italians from san jose.
where i work is a sweat shop. a metal building with no ventilation and flaps on the doors to keep the bugs out. it's about 110 degrees and humid inside throughout the summer and no heat in winter. i've done this physical labor for 40 years there. as i got close to retirement i lost my printing job, i lost my pay bracket and i get in trouble almost every day. the fact that i am still working there is amazing. so i know what it's like to work hard for my money and be discriminated against because of my skin color. i can honestly say that i've earned the respect of all the mexicans where i work but it took me a really long time. they still want me out of there. i take one day at a time and i'm watching my back all day long. just because i've worked hard all my life doesn't mean that i don't respect people who don't. it was my choice. it was my opportunity and my joy. i've created a web just like a spider that extends 40 years in every direction and goes with me everywhere i go. i stand in the power of my own authority not from above but from below like water.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Spy, someday I'm going to do a post about the quiet desperation of the human condition.