I’m telling you, if you’re not following the news from Mexico these days, you’re missing one hell of a story:
DURANGO, Mexico — Two gunmen stormed into a drug rehabilitation center in the northern city of Torreon on Tuesday, killing 11 people and wounding two.
…Drug cartels are known to use rehab centers to recruit addicts, leading rival gangs to attack the centers. Dozens of people have died in shootings at centers across Mexico. The worst incident left 19 people dead in Chihuahua city last summer.
Eleven people, justlikethat. And this sort of thing happens pretty much weekly. A later paragraph gives the total body count since President Felipe Calderon started the drug war in 2006: 35,000.
Which sort of set me up for the next story I read this morning, from a dateline closer to home:
Adrian — Ed Schmieding was known for his high-quality flowers, his skill with all things planted and potted. Together with his wife Linda, they sold flowers, Queen Anne’s lace, sunflowers — even ornamental grasses — to local florists. Out in the country northwest of Adrian, the Schmiedings’ property was a hub of horticulture: four greenhouses, dozens of acres over three plots of land, tractors, irrigation — everything a green thumb would want.
But several years ago, things began going poorly. Linda’s back went out, neighbors said, and Ed got throat cancer. They pleaded poverty to the local township, asking for a break on their property taxes.
“He had cancer and he wasn’t making any money from his flowers,” said Al Boggs, Rome Township supervisor. “He went to a cash crop, eh?”
State police now believe Ed and Linda Schmieding, both 60, had one of the largest marijuana production facilities ever discovered in the Lower Peninsula, using their greenhouses and rolling 23 acres to harvest more than 8,000 pot plants, estimated to have a street value of at least $8 million.
The odor of the plants “glistening with THC” was so strong, the story says later, that you could smell it from the road. But it also states that after the Schmiedings scaled back their flower business and presumably went into a better-paying crop, they didn’t ask for any more hardship exemptions on their property taxes. The Schmiedings said they sold to medical marijuana dispensaries, but of course they were in violation of the law, which strictly regulates that stuff. I disapprove of most drug use, but I ain’t gonna lie to you: I hope the Schmiedings beat the rap. Or, at the very least, avoid prison. Michigan spends enough on prisons already. A nice couple from Adrian has no business there. (Assuming they’re nice. One newspaper story doesn’t mean anything, and it may well be that Ed and Linda have a mass grave on those 23 acres, just like the Mexican cartels. I’m just going with a hunch here.)
When does this insanity end? The urge to self-medicate is as old as humanity. We know this. We also know some do it better than others. And we know that some people’s medicine will find a way to them, no matter what its legal status. A lot of those 35,000 corpses in Mexico were in the game — as we “Wire”-heads like to say — but a fair number weren’t, and what of them? What else were the Schmiedings to do? Sell their acreage and move to town, I guess, and sign up for Medicaid when the money ran out. They chose to grow pot.
Y’all know my feelings on the subject:
But good grief, it’s a plant. There has to be a better way.
I still have real work to do this morning, and I’m bound and determined to get to the gym for weights class, so I have to skip early. But let’s see what we have in the way of bloggage:
Nice profile of New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser, shrieking harpy to wandering wee-wees everywhere.
I asked Kate if she wanted feather extensions. “NO,” she informed me, rather firmly. Not a camp follower, this one. Good to know that if she changes her mind, we can always raid her father’s fly-tying supplies.
Ninety-four degrees yesterday, the same for today, maybe a smidge higher. Friday’s high: 70. Welcome to crazytown, but right now, I gotta go.