Justification of artwork:
This is my creative project for Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the US and Mexico by Beto O’Rourke and Susie Byrd. The sketch depicts a standoff between two people and is supposed to represent the battle between the U.S. government and the Mexican cartels that smuggle drugs into the United States. The U.S. person is just a generic law enforcement officer, but the person representing the cartels is loosely based on “El Chapo” who was mentioned in the book and, at least up until his recent arrest, was the leader of one of the major cartels. The key detail about the image is the gun in the U.S. person’s hand that is not pointed at the cartels, but is instead held backwards and pointing at the U.S. person. This is representative of how many U.S. policies and actions have consequences that actually benefit the cartels and hurt U.S. interests. This includes the fact that there are members of U.S. law enforcement that allow themselves to be bribed to look the other way or even to help cartels smuggle drugs and the fact that marijuana is illegal in the first place despite little to no evidence of it being a significant danger to society. The authors lay out solid reasoning based on market analysis for a change of policy and the legalization of marijuana to combat the cartels. I think one of the most effective and central lines in the book is a question posed on page 87: “If, like alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition has led to more harm than good – more lives destroyed, more money spent, more tax revenues foregone – then does it make sense to repeal its prohibition and treat marijuana more like alcohol?”
O’Rourke, Beto, and Susie Susie. Byrd. Dealing Death and Drugs. ; The Big Business of Dope in the U.S.and Mexico. N.p.: Cinco Puntos, 2011. Print.