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10/25/12

Professor shows human dimension of the drug war News The Prospector University of Texas at

Professorshowshumandimensionofthedrugwar
ByByPamelaPrieto Published:Tuesday,November3,2009 Updated:Tuesday,November3,200913:11
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TheUniversityofTexasatElPaso|

UTEPprofessorofsociologyandanthropologyHowardCampbelltellsthetruestoriesoflife withintheworldofdrugtrafficking,inhisnewbook"DrugWarZone:FrontlineDispatchesfrom theStreetsofElPasoandJurez."Thebookisanefforttobringanewperspectivetoanissue thathasclaimedthousandsoflivesinthepastyears.TheProspectorsatdownwithCampbellto discusshismostrecentwork. Thebookisaboutdrugtrafficking.Isthatonlyintheborderregion?

LUISJASSO/TheProspector

AnthropologyProfessorHowardCampbellis theauthorofDrugWarZone:Frontline DispatchesfromtheStreetsofElPasoand Jurez.

Ok,letmejustfirstexplainthetitle.Thetitle"DrugWarZone"referstothisregion,ElPasoand(Ciudad)Jurez,andthecurrentwar betweenthe"carteldeJurez"andthe"carteldeSinaloa."So,it'sallaboutthat.Butthere'sasecondmeaningforthetitlewhichisthatI usethatconcept,thedrugwarzone,torefertosortoftheculturalwaroverdrugsandtheirmeanings,whoshouldhaveaccesstothem, whoshouldcontrolthem,etc. Whendidyoustartwritingthebook? Aboutfiveyearsago.It'smainlyoralhistoriesofpeopleinvolvedindrugtrafficking.That'sabouthalfthebookandtheotherhalfis peopleinlawenforcementthatarefightingdrugtraffickers. You'vesaidthatthebookapproachesdrugtraffickingaswork.Whydidyouchoosetoapproachthesubjectthatway? BecauseIthinkmostlywhatpeopleknowaboutdrugtrafficking,unlessthey'refairlyclosetoit,iswhattheyseeinthenewspapersor onTV,whichisbasicallystatisticsabouthomicidesorconfiscationsofdrugs.Theydon'thavemuchofafeelforthehumanbeingsthat areinvolvedindrugtraffickingorinlawenforcement. They'rejustmorelikestereotypesorabstractions.Iwantedtoputahumanfaceontheissueofdrugtraffickingandespeciallynowin thecontextofalltheviolence.Thesearehumanbeingsthatarebeingmurderedwithfamiliesandchildrenandalltherest. Youtalkedtopeoplewhowereallpartofthatsomehow.Wasthereanystorythatparticularlyimpactedyou? Iguesswhat'simpactedmethemostistheterribletragedyinJureznow.Ihavecountsofpeoplethatwerewitnessestomurders,or elsetheirrelativesweremurderedinJurezoverdrugtrafficking,justtorealizethatalreadythisyeartherehavebeen2,000people murderedinJurez.So,thatmeans2,000familieswereaffectedinsomeway.It'saterriblethingit'satragedy.IthinkAmericans shouldknowmoreaboutthisandMexicanstooandpeopleinElPaso.IthinkalotofpeopleinElPasohavesomefamilliaritywith theseissuesoverJurezbecausetheyknowsomeone,ortheircousin,orsomebody'sinvolvedinsomeway.IntherestoftheUnited States,Ithinkit'sveryhardforpeopletocomprehendwhat'sgoingon.That'soneofthepurposesofthebook,toshowthehuman dimensionsofdrugtrafficking,butalsohowcomplicatedthewholeissueisandalsotolookatthecultureofdrugtraffickingthatgoes beyondjusttheproduct.Thattherearewholestylesoflivingassociatedwithdrugtrafficking. Whatwasoneofthebiggestobstaclesthatyoufacedwhenyouwrotethebookandweretryingtotellthesestories? MybiggestobstaclewasmyownfearthatIwasgoingtogetintroubleinsomeway,butwhatIfoundthoughwasthatpeopleinthis communityandinJurezareveryopen.Iftheytrustyou,they'lltellyouallkindsofthingsaboutdelicatesubjectssuchasdrug trafficking.IfounditwasaloteasierthanIexpected,justbecausethere'ssomanypeoplethatwereconnectedtothatworld. Whatdoyouhopepeoplewillwalkawaywithwhentheyreadthebook? Isupposetheyneedtounderstandthatthisisanissuethathasbeengoingonforahundredyearsinthisarea.It'snotgoingawaysoon.

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10/25/12

Professor shows human dimension of the drug war News The Prospector University of Texas at

Thatwhat'shappeninginJurezisatragedy,buttheonlywaywecandealwiththisproblemisthroughcooperativeworkbetweenthe UnitedStatesandMexico,recognizingourownblameinthisproblem.Thatit'snotjustMexico,it'snotjusttheUnitedStates,butboth countriesareatfault,andifbothcountriesworktogethertounderstandtheissueofdrugtraffickingandwhypeopleusedrugs,wecan havemoreenlightenedgovernmentalpoliciestotrytoattackthisproblemonmultiplefronts.I'mhopingthatthisbookcancontributetoa newwayofthinkingaboutthewarondrugs. Doesthebookofferanyproposalsfordealingwiththewarondrugs? Well,it'snotsomuchabookaboutpolicy,butcertainlyI'mfordecriminalizationofmarijuana,forexample.Ithinkwealsoneedtocut downondrugconsumption.Themostimportantissuetomeisloweringthelevelsofviolence.That'sthenumberoneproblem,not drugsthemselves,buttheviolence. PamelaPrietomaybereachedatprospector@utep.edu,

www.utepprospector.com/news/professorshowshumandimensionofthedrugwar1.858556?comp

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