Guest Posts

Broadcast.618v2.3 comes from Jason Glascock in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

The post is complimentary to allow his voice to escape the confines of prison walls. Only the font style and size has been changed. Content is as submitted. Straight from the Pen does not express any opinion on the subject matter or content or the validity of any statement or claim made.


  S  E  L  F   —   D  I  S  C  O  V  E  R  Y

This is an open letter to the public. You may copy and distribute this work in part or in whole, but may not charge for the work. You may modify the work as you see fit so long as you list the changes made. You must provide access to the original work

Broadcast.618 is intended to be a living, growing work that evolves like an open-source project. 0.618 is the Golden Mean. A ratio found in living or energetic systems, and the reason this was chosen as the name of this work. You are hereby welcomed to participate in the evolution of .618.

All information herein is accurate to the best of my knowledge.

★   NEWS BRIEFS    ——————————————

— It was discovered that the email system is not fully functional and is failing to display characters being used by the prisoners of WIDOC. This failure represents a significant security hole in a system whereby prisoners can email secret information to Free People in order to set up, for example, escape plans.

The issue is this: email is supposed to use the Unicode character set, however, when some characters in the Unicode set beyond the Plain Vanilla ASCII set are being used, the characters appear as ? (a question mark) in the staff displays. How does this work and why is this a problem?

A Unicode character consists of 2 bytes (16 bits) whereas ASCII uses only the first byte. The second byte still contains the information and can be retrieved by re-encoding the file. As it stands, I can embed info that to staff will look like ? at the end of sentences but actually are character values not being displayed.

This creates an opportunity for WIDOC staff to discontinue use of the email system. It’s an engineered excuse, a manufactured hole. How do I come to this conclusion? A standard email system has no problems with Unicode, all standard interfaces are Unicode; for a system to not support Unicode would necessarily be designed into it. This hole is intentional, I believe. It stands as a major problem.

EXAMPLE: what does this say?


The word is Greek in Greek lettering. On my display it is clear and all but the last omega character is visible. I see 8 characters, though I have no idea what the word says because I don’t speak Greek, I can use the characters as if they were English to write whatever I want, such as: φιξινγ  =  fishing.

And, if the 2nd byte is truncated, then the information I’m sending out is being modified without my knowledge; without my authorization. Not only that, I’m being told that my email is not altered. Do you think this a small thing? I do not.

I ask that someone push for a fix of this issue.

— The construction, according to Maintenance staff, is on hold due to a contract dispute: the contractor won’t do any more work until they get paid, but the WIDOC won’t pay until work and repairs to the damaged property are completed. The staff restrains themselves in the presence of prisoners, but a good journalist would be able to suss out this story.

— OSCI Maintenance has discontinued 2nd-shift as of July 1, 2019. The prisoners are told it will resume in about 90 days, but no one expects it to ever resume. Kitchen Maintenance will come to a near halt as the work hours for maintenance work can only be done from 08:00 – 13:45, and can’t be done during kitchen work hours.

★   COMMENTARY    ——————————————

Self-discovery is what Life is all about. Daily, I find something new about this *being* that I am, something allowing me to further my goals, orientate myself, those inner shadows playing across the fabric of Life. What of you?

How many ways are there to seek the inner self? As many ways as there are people. There is a rich diversity of established methods used by people throughout the World: yoga, Zen, visualization, counting, chanting, writing, … and more. Prison is not the most conducive place for mental/spiritual development, but it is possible.

    YOGA —

Prisoners find various places to do yoga. Yoga is about the mind-body connection, about control and focus of mind and breath, about discovering oneself through physical challenge. As the person holds a pose, they will eventually be forced to confront themselves, their desires, thoughts, habits, fears, etc. This is how yoga promotes inner growth.


There are two methods: visualization and emptiness. With visualization, the person goes on either a quest where symbols connote meaning, or engages in a series of mental exercises where control over the mind is all-important. On the quest/journey, the person may meet gods, spirits, guides, or even themselves. They may see animals, puzzles, voids, monsters, demons, angels; all represent something that is trying to be understood by the mind.

Where emptiness is sought the objective is to not have an objective; to be empty of desire, thought, and emotion. But … the person can’t be empty until everything that comprises the person is faced and understood. This is self-discovery. The various levels of the mind will push things up for the person to look at as the person makes room by quieting the thoughts.

    MANTRA —

Chanting can be done aloud or silently. Two main philosophies exist here: 1) chanting places the waking mind in a state between waking and sleep; 2) mantras allow the mind something to do as the subconscious awakens to communicate with the waking mind. Either way, they work. The mind becomes aware of itself and understanding of the desires and driving forces within are to be had.


Writing is one of the most common forms of self-discovery methods employed, anywhere. Prisoners use journaling and storytelling to work through whatever it is that comes up for them in the moment. The practice seems easier and less intimidating to many people where they don’t see a lifestyle change being necessary.

Most people seem to think of the pursuit of self-discovery as requiring a quiet place to be alone. Though that helps, it’s not required. Noise can be used to quiet the inner mind. It’s counterintuitive, and what one does is to focus not on one sound but all the sound. The sound outside the mind. Allow it to fill the mind and push all inner noise into silence. Once the noise of the World has quieted the mind, then the mind turns inward to examine itself.

Struggle is life. Life is struggle. All forms of self-discovery entail struggle., require challenge, and called for personal dedication.

Adversity is a form of presenting a situation to create struggle. People that find themselves in adverse conditions often know more about themselves than those living in comfortable lives. This self-knowledge grants inner peace and happiness. This is where the myth of the happy poor and sad rich comes from.

A person can’t know how they will react in prison segregation until they’ve been through it. This is one of the most trying experiences a human can go through. The isolation, the noise, the anguished cries, screens, and moans of unseen beings surrounding you. The sense of being forgotten in a whole. The fear and loneliness and rage; its playground for the inner demons. I have to see what most would consider strong men break, and likewise seen weak men pass through without a scratch. There doesn’t seem to be any indicators as to which a person will be.

I would be interested to hear what your methods of self-discovery are, dear reader. Where do you go? What landscapes have you adventured into? To whom do you speak? How has it impacted your life? I welcome you to share.

Oshkosh Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 3310
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3310

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— OSCI has a new librarian; who has no prior experience working in the WIDOC. An interesting phenomenon occurs when people new to the system begin: they talk to prisoners as if prisoners are normal people about what is going on behind the scenes. Security Director Zanon has unilaterally ordered Channel 9 (OSCI’s educational movie channel) shutdown. Permanently. Ostensibly, it’s for the lack of license, but according to the librarian, it seems to be the result of a power struggle between the librarian and security director. The library has a surprisingly large budget, but the library hasn’t made any purchases to warrant a budget, such as it is. Supposedly, the librarian has the authority to use her office’s funds, and she purchased a new modulator for Channel 9 to enable a better signal to be transmitted across the system. Well, it’s come out that the library’s budget hasn’t been used for the library for years, and various parts of the administration are pissed off that the librarian would/could use ‘their’ funds that they expected to use for things like kitchen repair. Ta da! Look at those people: misuse of funds by State employees.

— Construction on the Health Services Unit (HSU) was halted and Maintenance shuttered on 3.7.2019 due to a collapsed sewer pipe. The pipe that was recently put in and has been leaking for over a month. A demonstration of the quality work (read: lack of quality) of the work being done here. Question: should the full weight of the excavator be used to pack the fill above the pipe? I’m talking only a few inches. I think the pipe is riddled with cracked; which would explain the perpetual stink of sewer around this place.

— WIDOC will be ending its use of EOS (which stands for something that i don’t know), the library database system. It’s unclear what will replace it, but history informs us that it will likely be even less capable and useful than what we currently have. With each new database, WIDOC finds ever poorer developed software. This last iteration lost us the ability to reserve books and for prisoner clerks to maintain the database inventory. The new system will also be incompatible with the library’s Microsoft Windows XP computers. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for more relevant info.

— OSCI is attempting to acquire funding for the construction of a new building to serve as a program center of some kind. I spent last night moving toilets and sinks for the project. They are $30,000 short. If they can cover the shortfall in stored parts they will get the necessary funding.



A few years ago I designed and built a ‘desk’ (workstation) for Stanley Correctional Institution’s warden’s secretary. A very nice, solid cherry, 12′ x 14′ desk area with desk, cabinets, and bookshelf enclosed by a 4′-tall wall. I wasn’t supposed to build anything without a work order, but this time I couldn’t get my hands on the document. Suspicious. That was until the new office assistant decided to have the clerk ( a prisoner) help her organize several years of records wherein he found the project request. The authorization for the desk showed that the money was taken from the ‘inmate canteen fund’; which is statutorily prohibited and a felony. I reported this to a number of law enforcement agencies, including two FBI offices, local and state agencies, state senators, and had it posted online. Only FFUP responded, telling me, essentially, that it was futile to try anything. I sent out a total of 25 photocopies of a picture of the desk with the necessary info of the document. This is the interest that law enforcement has in enforcing the law. Felonies are committed every single day by WIDOC staff with impunity because law enforcement simply refuses to prosecute.

However, these same people will waste the State’s money to make sure I get a felony for $0.95 worth of tobacco. Hilarious. And how interested is the public? How many of you reading this are going to try to do anything about this? Hmmm … I’ll put my money on zero percent. Hey, that’s as it is.

There is so much potential and capability in the prison population for solution development. The library database is a prime example: I’ve worked with guys on a number of projects to overcome various problems with the software that the libraries are required to use; such as the dependence on network connectivity where the network routinely fails. We can make good stuff that works well for almost nothing.

Strangely, though, the admins remain steadfastly committed to using guys that can’t fulfill what they’re required to do. They’re carefully selected to underperform. This pattern is seen throughout the entire prison system of Wisconsin from the library where the workers can barely read, let alone organize a set of books, to maintenance, with guys that can’t machine rudimentary replacement parts for the dishwashers. Rarely, fully capable guys get through; just enough to keep things chugging along with a bad limp.

I was hired in Maintenance three weeks ago on the kitchen crew; we repair the dish machines, ovens, mixers, etc. The two lead men on the crew have spent the last year rebuilding nearly all the machines because prior crews have screwed things up for years. Recently, we replaced the internals for a booster heater that had wires that had burned. The wires likely burned almost immediately after they were energized, but started on fire when a kitchen worker bumped the unit just right. We only found out because the underrated pressure valve finally gave out at the same time, spraying 180°F water all over the place. There wasn’t anything left to burn, so there was no smoke, but the arcing had continued, and the transformer had pitted contacts. What a mess the wiring had been. Think about how long and hot something must burn for steel to bore holes through it. Dangerous, and still there is more to rebuild that hasn’t revealed itself, yet.

What do I want? Why should you care? Why should the public care and be interested? Simply put: this environment impacts a life’s direction, including the staff, and we all have an impact on the communities we interact with. Do you care about the people in your community?

In a more expansive explanation, I’m one of those people that can learn and do almost anything, and do it better than most other people. What do you think an above-average person’s mind can accomplish when really, REALLY, pissed off? Use your imagination; it’s likely more colorful than mine. Exactly. I try not to think of ways to do harm, but try as I do … Well …. 21 years of psychological torture can do awful things to a mind.

Blah! Blah! Blah!

I put my mind into finding solutions to the problems surrounding me.

    – guys keep dumping ramen noodles in the hot water drain, clogging it;

    – guys keep leaving feces and blood streaks on the toilet seats;

    – mattresses and pillows crack, leak a powder that gets into the eyes, nose and face while you sleep, granting you the pleasure of sharing everything the last guy had;

    – the walking track floods for months during the spring thaw and rains;

    – guys are sharing documents on the library computers where Security doesn’t like that to happen;

    – the textbooks for classes take up room in the library that could be used for other things;

My mind is suffused with solutions for these problems that is similarly suffused with problems. I need an outlet. For that, I try to look for opportunities to learn new skillsets and knowledge. I desire to be expert on everything, though I realize that’s unlikely, but I apply myself anyway. It’s what I do.

Life in prison isn’t awful in itself. I have a good life’s for the most part, so long as I don’t have to interact with staff or most of the population. I’ve never really liked _dealing_ with people, but being … Ah, but I can talk to guys that can understand and appreciate quality workmanship, the careful design of a utility package, or the use of an expansive vocabulary to express ideas in nuanced ways without worry of sounding overly wordy. Having the freedom to be completely myself I’d something many of you in the Free World lack while I, even confined as I am to prison, can savor on a daily basis. My friends allow me to be me. _THAT_IS_AWESOME_!


Broadcast.618v2.5 comes from Jason Glascock in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.


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Statement ‘n Stuff
This is an open letter to the public. You may copy, publish, and distribute this work in part or in whole, but may not charge for the work without listing the changes made. You must provide access to the original work.

Broadcast.618 is intended to be a living, growing work that evolves like an open source project. (1 – √5)÷2 ≈ 0.618 is the Golden Mean; a ratio found in living and energetic systems; which the reason this was chosen as the name of this work. You are hereby welcomed to participate in the evolution of 618.

All information herein is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I believe in the power of puppies and kittens to bring Truth to Man-kind, so I recommend unfettered use of such images with this work.
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★ NEWS BRIEFS ——————————————
— OSCI staff are allowing rotten vegetables to be served on their religious diet trays. Repeatedly, I have been served fermented carrots on my tray. The chef with whom I spoke (and standing there as i was served more rotten carrots) said that I was the only one complaining, so there must not be a problem. This reasoning fails to address the situation. Either I’m being targeted with the rotted food, or this is a general practice. In either case the situation is extent and needs to b remedied. For the record, others are complaining about the problem.

— OSCI has discontinued making salt and pepper available in shakers at meals, instead serving 1 packet of each on trays.

— According to a general manager’s son, as of 8.3.019, Kohler Company, the large bathroom fixture manufacturer, will no longer be hiring men on work-release or on supervision because it costs the company too much due to poor work performance, men arriving under the influence of drug, theft, and just not showing up. Management has had it. Over the last six months Kohler has had a 100% failure rate. Too bad, because Kohler is a really good company to work for.

— On 8.6.2019, OSCI staff issued an order to turn in all spring jackets, with the caveat that after this date, if a prisoner is sent wearing one of these jackets staff will issue a conduct report. There has been no change in OSCI policy posted. This is an example of abusive use of power and OSCI staff flagrantly transgressing the law. Or, are they within the law because I must follow an order. OSCI property still allows me to possess a spring jacket. Can an officer simply order my to relinquish property without due process or change in policy? Can an officer just give an order prohibiting me from wearing a hat on the rec field? Where does the authority and power of an officer end?

★ COMMENTARY ——————————————
I’d like to thank Wayne T. Dowdy ( for once again bringing the following subject of the environmental devastation that’s continuing to occur on our planet Earth. Please read his collected essays (Essays & More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy).

Prisoners talk. We read. We have ideas, dreams, plans, and we discuss them. We, WE do this, nearly every single one of us do this nearly every day. Many share philosophical reasoning with those around them, and our population tends to sort itself out by these various rationales. Then these groups become echo chambers where we hear our own thoughts spoken by those around us reinforcing whatever conclusions we’ve reached.

I find myself engaging a wide variety of people, and most of the people know that I’m all about knowledge and understanding. Because of this personality attribute I am a bridge, a magnet that attracts and repels people for diverse reasons. Some are interested in answers to questions, others want guidance or emotional validation. And, others avoid me because they feel I’m arrogant or a know-it-all, etc.

One of the more common ideas I encounter is the sense that humanity is a disease on our home planet; a cancer to be cut out and disposed. I understand where this come from, and held that opinion for a long time myself. There is a truth-sense to it, and it illustrates the powerful effect that hearing the message from many agencies (news, friend, sitcoms, movies) has on the psyche. The message feels like an obvious truth because, like the Sun and Moon circling the Earth, it appears that humans will destroy the World. I respect the idea, though I no longer share it.

Humans are not going to ruin the World. I acknowledge this is not a fact, but supposition based on faith that as a genus we will be able to solve how the problem of how to live nondestructively. I’m aware of several technologies currently in the pipeline to become commercial products that have the potential of ending the large-scale poisoning of our environment. We are talking about potential outcomes, not eventualities, yes, but it goes beyond futurism speculations. Still, this offers a tenuous, ethereal feel to the argument that many will/do discount it out of hand.

We prisoners share a devastating hardship: impotency. Now, the term generally refers to a sexually frustrating condition for involved parties, but here I use it in a more traditional way: the quality or condition of being impotent; want of strength or power, animal, intellectual, or moral; weakness; feebleness; inability; imbecility. I, as well as many of the prisoners here, feel a great lack of power to influence the World. This powerlessness lends us toward frustration, hopelessness, depression, anger, resentment, and feed desires to lash out, curl up into a psychic ball, or find solutions and forge plans for post release. Few try to push for change in the World from behind the bars. All of these responses are self-defensive in nature.

I’m a planner, a dreamer, and ambitious enough to push on the bars themselves, and attract those that have their own dreams. There is so much going on that no one can keep track of it all. That breadth means that people coming at the issue of the environmental damage from their own position of powerlessness often express a hopelessness at the prospect. I don’t see a hopeless adventure, but a challenge to rise to meet.

Let’s consider some horrible facts:
• human-caused global warming is occurring
• there is enough water in Antarctica to raise sea levels over 300ft
• people are dying to mine minerals that go through layers of manufacturing that often includes toxic processes
• vast amounts rain and old-growth forests are gone and cannot return
• desertification is occurring at 1,000s of acres a year
• there is almost as much plastic in the ocean as fish by weight
• there are fish so laden with mercury they are considered hazardous
• agricultural practices are causing the erosion of topsoil and is the number one source for greenhouse gases
• robots are destroying jobs
• the average energy expenditures per person on Earth is increasing
• mega-corporations are benefiting from dumping poisons that are causing cancer, autism and emotional dysfunction in our children.

How about some good facts:
• the energy efficiency of electronics continues to improve
• we are reaching an inflection point where the energy expenditure
for the average person in developed countries will start shrinking
• lab-grown food offers better quality food at lower energy expense by orders of magnitude
• robotics is becoming affordable to everyone, allowing the manufacture of novel inventions
• innovations and disruptive technologies most often come from small
businesses (≤ 50 employees)
• there are bacteria and moths that consume plastic as a source of energy
• there is a technology that is being commercialized to convert plastic into fuel
• there are projects to remove the plastic from the oceans currently operating

These are many more points on either side, and I could pair them, like so:
• the storm intensity is increasing, but we are getting better at designing
more resilient structures
• greenhouse gases are escaping from the thawing tundra, but we are
developing technology to extract gases directly from the air on a
commercial scale
• we use almost all the arable land already, and our population is increasing, but the trend is a declining birthrate and our land use will decline as lab-grown food systems come on-line

Overall, the conversion of our tech to not just friendlier systems, but systems that benefit the health of an environment that’s in turn beneficial to us, is coming in the next few years. I’m not talking about this as a hypothetical daydream based on futuristic speculation, but on with proven technology right at the point of being available. Many technologies are here, but are too costly to make them viable yet, but I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about things that have already become viable and are merely ramping up to serve national markets.

My friends point to all the damage that has already been done through the past 150 years, and I see it, too, but we will be able to fix the harms done as we gain more inexpensive means of correcting it. Robotics is destroying entire job markets and isn’t likely to create more this time around. We are at a unique inflection point for this. However, that frees up people to work in whatever means they want. Public food will become supplied as a benefit, as a right, because most people may not have jobs, or we might go to a 3hr work day.

The cost of living will come down as the cost of labor evaporates. But work will evaporate, too, so how will anyone afford anything? Good question. No one knows. Ta da! This is one of the major reasons manufacturers are holding back on robotization/automation on their production lines. It’s a concern that’s been repeatedly cited by senior executives in their industry journals.

‘Oh, but those executives are rich and not concerned about the Little People,’ I hear people saying. That isn’t universally true, not nearly so. Most are concerned about their workers wellbeing, but are frustrated because they can’t act to improve the situation. They feel impotent, too, trapped in system they don’t know how to affect beneficial change on.

The system is flawed, broken, and wrapped. Overall, America has a fairly good system. True. BUT where it fails, it fails big time. Some of is due to how our culture thinks, but I tend to like how most of us think about most things. Our ideas of freedoms I like, but I dislike how we’ve gone about attaching rights to things that are not rights, such as medical care, food, and education. I believe that a person has the right to pursue but not possess these things. If you earn your medical care, then have it.

只. 只. 只. 只. 只. 只. 只.

As prisoners, our situation is intended to make us feel impotent and weak (I’ve been sat down several times by several staff members and told just that). We watch as the World passes us by, and we are helpless as we watch. I feel saddened, helpless, frustrated, and angry as I watch towns leveled from storms, washed away by floods, the poverty in India, Africa, Russia, and the mounting disease caused by industrial waste.

However, I am heartened when I read the science, trade journals and magazines regarding the solutions already in the pipeline. But, watching these develop reminds me of my position bound behind bars; my artificially imposed incapacity. I’m reminded of this monstrous gang of thugs that are working to restrain and handicap me in all ways.

Where does a staff person’s power and authority end? How can a prisoner resolve wrongs done upon him by staff? Let’s get something straight: the law, the court, does NOT serve this end; they readily ignore very serious situations and their own rules when it suits their purpose. So, what is there? What system exists? There is none that I know of. This only further impresses the reality of our impotence into our consciousness. If you find an answer, let everyone know!

For now, this letter closes. Remember to discuss the World around you, seek truth, and respect those worthy. Not everyone is worthy. That is an important point, too. Be discerning and use your wisdom.

Be well, friends.

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Oshkosh Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 3310
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3310
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The Arrest by Sherry Short

March 21, 2015

Nothing could have prepared me for the day that I got arrested.  It was a bleak January morning in 2008 and I was at my rented house with my mom and two of my sons.  I was not surprised by my arrest since I knew it was going to happen although just didn’t know what day.  The knock on my door filled me with apprehension as I answered it.  The moment I laid eyes on the man standing in my doorway, I knew exactly what he had come for.  He was accompanied by a couple of police officers and that’s when the exhaustion and relief hit me all at once.  I was glad the waiting was finally over while consumed with a fear of the unknown.

The very worst part of that day was not the arrest itself, nor the shame in what I had become. Watching my family, witnessing me get arrested was one of the worst gut-wrenching feelings that I would ever experience and probably never forget.  The detective was kind enough to let me tell my then four year old son a lie that he was taking em to the police station to help them out in catching a criminal.  It wasn’t entirely a lie, he just wasn’t aware that the criminal was his own mother.  The detective didn’t even handcuff me until we were outside by the police car out of sight by my young son.  To this day, I will never forget the sorrow, regret and shame that I felt on that day.

One of my older sons was there also who was well over the age to understand.  I hated that, at 17 years old, he was watching his mom slowly turn into a monster right before his very eyes.  Falling from grace in your children’s eyes, in my opinion, is much worse than falling from grace in your mother or father’s eyes.  What a way to get to know your mom’s true colors.  The darkness and depression on that day was overwhelming and my future was bleak to say the least.

Without going through all the legalities of the charges just yet, in a nutshell, I was arrested for embezzling at my bookkeeping job for a home products company.  I thought I had sealed my fate and was headed for several years in prison. At the age of 37, I had lived long enough to understand that I was facing a very difficult future.  What hurt me the most was that I stood the chance of not being there to raise my youngest son.  That was very important to me because in my mind at the time, he was the last chance I had a being a good mom.  I had literally fucked up with all my other kids.  I always wanted to be a good mother, but let other things get in the way, including my crazy mind.

I wanted a change so bad at that time in my life.  I had been pretending to the world that my life was fine and that I was financially capable of handling everything on my own.  I had become exhausted with the pretenses and with the dependency on the extra paychecks that I was illegally writing to myself.  That’s why I was relieved that it was over.

Despite my overwhelming sorrow and self-loathing, I mustered up the courage to change my attitude almost from day one.  I had decided on my ride in the police car that I was going to do my very best from that day forward.  I knew I needed help mentally and emotionally and had made a decision to do my part.  What’s that saying in the Bible about sweeping out demons?  Something along the lines of when you clean one out, several more come back in.  Little did I know that I would be in for experiencing the most challenges that I ever had experienced in my life by deciding to become a criminal.



Title / Topic: Understanding Mexican Drug Cartels Increasing Violence

By: Anthony Tinsman (042676-063, FCC PO BOX 3000, Forrest City, AR., 72336)

The streets in Mexico City still smolder since this weekends escalation of Cartel violence. The flair up terrorized 1.5 million people crammed in the metropolitan city of Guadalajara, and the resort town of Puerto Vallarta. The new Jalisco cartel has risen unchecked after government officials captured drug bosses and weakened or destroyed rival organizations, including Joaquin Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel last year. He is more commonly known as “El Chopo”.

Events have drawn a shadow over President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has lead the Mexican government in demonstrating a modern, emerging economy. In this mission cartels such as the Knights Templar, Gulf Cartel, and the Zetas have been dismantled. “They have been destroyed… but hat leads to he birth of other very powerful organizations, which fill the vacuum.” Said Raul Benitez, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Friday was shattered by the clap of high explosives and small arms fire resulting in a downed marine helicopter, and 11 banks, gas stations and vehicles set ablaze across the state. Cartel members fought police with assault riffles and grenade launchers effectively blocking roads in three neighboring states. Amazingly, this apparently chaotic assault was coordinated, only 7 people died in this weekends most intense violence.

An instrumental victory for the fledgling Jalisco cartel.

The history of Cartel violence has drawn analysis from scholars and authors who have tasked themselves with explaining the psychology behind organizations like Jalisco. This month a new book “Blood + Death: The secret history of Sante Muerte and the Mexican Drug Cartels” delivers insight into the cult-like beliefs that allow cartel leaders to manipulate and control members. “When researching the material I was shocked by the grotesque murders committed in the name of Sante Muerte,” says author John Lee Brooks, “and the murder rate is escalating, accompanied by atrocities that belong in a gore-porn horror movie, not real life.”

These beliefs have evolved alongside cartels in Mexico and South America. The influence of Sante Muerte reportedly has tentacles into the U.S., propelling an extremist attitude to criminal organizations related to Mexican drug cartels. Atrocities abound under this influence.

On September 26, 2014, 43 students went missing in the South American town of Ayotzinapa. They were arrested by the Iguala police forces and thought to be handed over to the Guerrerros Unidos drug cartel. “Guerrero is a state with a lot of social organizations. It’s a left-wing university -the young students there are organized, and have a political consciousness,” Said Samuel Weber, co-organizer of a German rally against illegal arms sales to the state. “They are all activists and they have experience of repression. It’s a form of social control -then try to put these obstacles in the way of all social movements.” The obstacle appears to be censorship by bullet.

The students students were almost certainly executed by the Guerreros Unidos cartel.

The massacre in Guerrero remains unsolved. Although federal investigators recovered human ash sunk into a local river, only the DNA of one of the students, taken from a single tooth, could be identified. Local authorities were reluctant to get involved with the investigation. None of which bodes well for the current temperature in Mexico City, which is set for HOT this weekend as government forces attempt to dive back Jalisco gunmen.

Government officials have a tough fight ahead of them. The ideological component of drug cartels makes organizational structures resilient. Cartel leaders will come and go expulsing the same beliefs. Judging new evidence of drug cartel’s cultish dedication to Sante Muerte, the carnage in coming days may be a rallying cry for recruiting new members. Unfortunately this may be one of the motivations for the violence by Cartel leaders intent on keeping control of established drug pipelines into America.


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