ISIS vs. Mexican Drug Cartels
How To Survive The Baddest Of The Baddies
Editor's Note: We usually try to stick to advice and gear reviews but after becoming thoroughly disturbed with the popular topic among blogs and news organizations about arming up for some sort of impending war against the percieved evil of Islam, we figued it was time to really explore the heretofore unthinkable situation of an invading force taking over American soil. While the following article does not necessarily represent the opinions and views of everyone at It Keeps You Alive, we all agreed it's a good time to introduce and to explore the idea of Awareness. Our readers are most likely intimately familiar with the quote from Sun Tzu about knowin the battlefield, the enemy, and oneself. At the risk of alienating some of our massive following I present an article that might stray from political correctness from time to time but will hopefully make you reconsider all three. -Don
There has been a lot of attention focused on the Islamic State recently in the form of official denunciations and laser guided smart bombs. You have to admit they have one heck of a public relations campaign and some really gruesome videos with amazing production quality for being a bunch of bloodthirsty killers out in the middle of the desert. Too bad for them that they can't monetize a YouTube account. The extra income stream would definitely come in handy for some extra weapons, upgrading their fleet of Toyota Hi-Lux trucks, and maybe paying a digital fx editor to give them some Fox-News style graphic sequences for the next terror-cast.
Meanwhile in a house uncomfortably close to your current location the Mexican Drug Cartels are quietly going about their business, maintaining a low profile and doing their best to not disturb the status quo that's making them money hand-over-fist. In Mexico it's a completely different story, of course. While recreational drug users in the United States might freak out a bit if entire towns of ours were shot and piled up in mass graves, that's business as usual for our sunny southern neighbor. The carnage competition to see who's the baddest-of-the-bad in the Middle East seems to have just gotten started, but the Cartels have been trying to out-gore each other for decades.
Mass murder not getting enough headlines? Disembowel the journalists and hang them from a bridge. Did you find some grizzly mutilated corpses of your co-workers arranged in some perverted display of disrespect? Round up the sisters and mothers of the culprits in a cornfield, videotape their confessions of shared genetics, and chop them to bits with an axe. Reality television producers would line up for the rights to this kind of series that writes itself if it wasn't so inherently dangerous. Some of us who aren't particularly happy about the current state of television programming wish they would try it anyway, if only to thin out the producer herd to sustainable levels.
Cooperation, Competition, Or Just Don't Give A...
Recently there was speculation by widely discredited media fear pundits that ISIS and the Cartels might try to pair up for an unholy alliance of doom. While that make for an interesting trope for professional wrestling, in the real world we are talking about two completely different and incompatible business models. ISIS is more like a loosely organized state-funded startup run by a bunch of young idealists who want to shake things up and stick it to the man by reorganizing the social order in a sort of massive human garbage disposal model. On the other hand you have the Cartels, a firmly-established field of competing corporate conglomerates with banking interests, distribution channels, a sophisticated command and control structure and a very strong interest in maintaining a stable economy for their client base. Cooperating with non-narcoterrorists would be like Clear Chanel syndicating Democracy Now, Apple Computer joining the Open Source Initiative, or the guys at Terminus allowing the Walking Dead crew to join their cannibal cult just because they seem kind of cool. Not gonna happen.
Bad, Badder, Baddest
“So Survival Chicken,” you ask “I'm so scared, yet I'm not sure who tops out on the fear meeter at this point. What if...”
Stop right there. Hush. I'll explain.
It all comes down to the three most important rules of real estate. Where you are is the single most determining factor in which band of murderous marauders is most likely to give you a haircut real close to the shoulders. If you are in the Middle East doing whatever version of work your God happens to require, then yeah the Islamic State is probably up there on your list of things that keep you up an night. If you are casually cruising Juarez then I'd be looking over my shoulders if I was you, lest you become a contestant on the next episode of Cartel Kidnap. If you are in a major metro area of the United States, it's kind of a toss up. You can usually avoid drug gang violence by staying in nicer neighborhoods if that option is available, but there's little or nothing you can do to avoid winning the (so-far exceedingly rare) Dirty Bomb Lottery.
It's a little disconcerting that after the worst intelligence failure in history on September 11, 2001 that nobody significant in the giant cascade of screw-ups got fired. It's even more disconcerting to see how little it takes to knock down a high-rise office building. I'm certainly not planning on spending a significant amount of time anywhere with more than 15 floors after watching that spectacle in what was considered the most highly protected airspace in the world.
Admittedly these kinds of precautions don't help much if ISIS decides to poison the water supply, blow up a building, randomly shoot into a crowd, or detonate an improvised nuclear device down the street. The only sure-fire way of stepping out of the terrorist's crosshairs is to get out of the big city where the most you'll have to be concerned about are the economic and social impacts of an attack. Those impacts can be quite severe and can range from police state overreaction to a total breakdown of law and order, but at least you'll have all your fingers and toes for the first week or so.
Keeping the Country in the Country (If You Dare)
Now here you are, following what you thought was my advice. You sold your city stuff, packed up the pickup truck full of survival gear, and the lights of Babylon fade in the rearview mirror as your hand frantically pushes the seek button on your stereo trying to find a radio station that doesn't suck. Shoulda read the rest of the article, Bub, because now you are driving on the Cartel's highway, breathing their air, and if you accidentally stumble into their business your blood will be soaking up their dirt.
City Police tactics and advantages have pushed the Cartel activity further afield to a point where rural departments are completely overwhelmed and in some cases requesting backup from the military. We have come to expect this kind of thing near our southern border, but due to their entrepreneurial nature and ravenous ambition their activity can be found just about anywhere that has an interstate highway and a significant population of people who like to “party”.
I'll let you take a quick peek at an interstate highway map and work that out for yourself first.
You can probably tell the scope of the problem now, and that's just inside the good ol' U.S. of A. Do a quick search on Wikipedia for Sinaloa Cartel and check out their international reach from pretty much every country in the Western Hemisphere to places as far flung as Australia, Europe, Asia, and West Africa. These organizations have the ability to take over a significant portion of the countryside if it suited their fancy.
Fortunately at the moment they are just interested in taking our money for something only people involved in law enforcement or public office still consider a crime. There are the occasional “maintenance murders” to shore up their position among rivals or dispatch liabilities, but for the most part they stay pretty quiet besides the constant drone of daily inner-city gang violence that nobody outside of those neighborhoods seems to pay much attention to.
Imagine, if you will, that something happened which completely overwhelms our current law enforcement paradigm to the point where cop's paychecks start bouncing (or not showing up at all).
Maybe ISIS finally gets their act together and plants a bomb inside Yellowstone setting off a supervolcano, Ebola goes airborne and turns people into the living dead, North Korea sets of an EMP knocking out the electrical grid, or our government takes on too much unserviceable debt and the dollar becomes worthless. Yeah the last one is a bit of a stretch, but we'll keep one crazy unrealistic scenario on our list just for fun.
Pretty soon there is going to be a power vacuum out in the boonies, and like the current group of corporate ladder climbers it will be the nastiest most ruthless bunch that claws their way to the top. Of course we can't write off the renegade soldiers/cops, biker gangs, survivalist groups, and good-old-boys that will inevitably show up in the comments section to protest. They all have the capability to carve out bloody chunks of Uncle Sam's former backyard, but as far as relevant experience goes the Cartels are head and shoulders above the rest, pun intended.
For one thing they've already been actively recruiting cops, soldiers, and bikers as contract killers for years on our side of the border. Good-old-boys make up a fair percentage of their methamphetamine distribution network. Survivalists, on the other hand, will present more of an opportunity to keep their murderous minions busy hunting for supplies, weapons, and treasure. You know those open-carry activists who insist on putting their names and faces all over TV in support of constitutional rights? In the best case scenario there will be a lot of prying from cold dead hands. Worse-case scenarios involve lots of torture and questions about where the rest of the loot is buried, regardless if there is more loot or not.
Regardless if you bought into this argument and agree with me that the Cartels involve a much bigger threat to your health and safety, there's a few things you can do to mitigate the ongoing tragedy of our national failure to curb the terrorists in your back yard.
Don't Do Drugs, Kids
Making this suggestion will probably have the impact of a fart in a hurricane, but I had to go there. If you don't have the willpower to protect your body and mind from the harmful effects of illicit substances then probably there's nothing that I could write to persuade you.
For cannabis users there is a choice you can make to only partake of buds that you know for a fact didn't pass through the hands of some guy who just revenge-chopped someone's grandmother with hatchet. I suppose you could grow your own poppies and make some fair-trade heroin but that's a stretch. All the hard stuff is just about guaranteed to be infested with bad karma, and if you're trying to avoid getting reincarnated again you know that's definitely not cool.
Time is kind of running out on this one. If alcohol prohibition is any guide then the crime bosses would likely move their interests into more lucrative businesses like prostitution, gambling, and human trafficking. They are also likely to continue extorting money from the now-legal drug businesses, but the losses they suffer would be tremendous. Mexican governments would stabilize, tax revenues would increase, and we would save billions of dollars every year not fighting a war that drugs won a long time ago.
Unfortunately there's so much interest in maintaining the failed status quo that this looks impossible on the national level which is too bad. One day when archaeologists look back at the shattered pieces of our civilization the biggest question on their minds will be how we lasted so long despite having so many self-destructive tendencies.
Take 'Em Out
Tried that. Doesn't work. They just match whatever level of crazy you throw an 'em and return it with interest.
Not an entirely bad plan, provided you get in early and can figure out a way to loosely associate with only the less-insane members. They have job openings for just about every kind of trade including doctors, lawyers, hit-men, chemists, mechanics, accountants, and even artists. Getting in too tight is obviously very dangerous, especially if there is disputed territory nearby.
Fortunately they speak the language of business and might be keen to a proposal provided it's not too ambitious. The most ideal relationship would be one where you work as a part-time subcontractor, only occasionally associating with them enough to fall under their umbrella of protection but not too close as to be associated with any particular regime when it comes time for the inevitable periods of “corporate reorganization”.
Not just the neighborhood. This means bailing on the country. About 3000 people renounce their United States citizenship every year, but there are also an estimated 6 million citizens who have found a way to live abroad. Granted many of those countries have their own problems but when you consider the army of narco-terrorists amassing in our borders and the lack of political will to do anything constructive about it besides pump money, weapons,and surveillance equipment into the creation of a neo-feudalistic police state then it might make the sunrise on a distant shore seem a little brighter. You might not want to wait too long on this one as well since recent proposed legislation to take away people's passports without due process is advancing rapidly through the Kangaroo Congress. While the proposed laws are only geared towards “terrorists”, the definition of that word is thrown around so loosely these days that it's not too much of a stretch to think that one day Facebook status thought criminals might fall under that label.
There are also new banking regulations that make it nearly impossible to set up an account abroad by making it nearly impossible for foreign banks to comply with the mandatory reporting that the IRS now requires, and depending on where you go the once all-mighty dollar doesn't seem to be going as far as it used to these days especially after paying a hefty exit tax. The point is right now it's still possible to hit the eject button and bail out before things get really nasty, but every indication seems to show that window is closing quickly.
The previous points of consideration might lead one to believe that there exists yet another group of terrorists, so far unnamed, who are advancing their own nefarious agenda while playing lip service to working on the behalf of our national interests. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and even it if was true there's little chance they would last more than another generation or so. One unpleasant fact that terrorists eventually contemplate after achieving some semblance of success is that it's impossible to sustain a victory without the support of a local population. This is what the Cartels have succeed at and ISIS, riding on a wave of Anti-Western sentiment, has yet to confront. People are very insistent about having their basic needs met, and when leadership fails to deliver on it's promises things tend to get messy in fairly short order. Stay tuned when I explore this in a future article about surviving The Man.
In the meantime here is a Nixon-era drawing of children being led astray by an anamorphic syringe playing what appears to be a woodwind instrument. Enjoy.