There are scourges, and then there are scourges. Dutch elm disease, the Golden Horde, AIDS, potato blight, Spanish flu, Japanese beetles, Nazism, Maroon 5, war, and the conquistadors have all done exemplary work in erasing large segments of the populace and/or landscape. Unfortunate and sad though these phenomenon might be, they appear to be part of the natural order of things. Our human populations, left unchecked, would denude the planet like locusts in a matter of minutes if it weren't for nature's self-cleaning mechanisms, given that our big brains have allowed us the luxury of surviving far beyond the point of any usefulness without figuring out how to switch off the universal need to procreate at any cost. One wonders, though, if the person/function/karmic decider/deity/whatever responsible for cooking up these banes to existence doesn't sometimes go too far.
Let's presume just for fun and for illustrative purposes that it is a person. You and I, because we're smarter than that, know that on this random and chaotic planet full of inexorable physical processes and jillions of species fighting to survive, a lot of things unfavorable to human existence are going to happen. And when they do we are simply outraged. How dare that fire/tornado/disease kill actual human beings? Is it not aware of how very important we are?
Your importance, puny human, can the relativistically determined according to distance from the center (self) in an inverse ratio. That is, to yourself you are of the utmost importance and must be protected at all costs. To those intimately acquainted with you, you are still pretty important. To other people sharing bonds of ethnicity, class, local political boundaries, etc., less important but still worthy of concern. To your government each life is theoretically significant but in actuality meaningful only in the context of perpetuating the government. To those in foreign lands you are an abstraction. Pan out far enough that you become indistinguishable from the rest of the organic matter on the planet and your importance is effectively reduce to zero. So do not take it personally when Otto LaFarge (the name I've chosen for the guy in the 11th dimension laboratory cooking up plans to ruin your day) puts the kibosh on your aunt Lulu's plans to host her weekly poker game by repositioning her trailer via hurricane into the Gulf of Mexico because it's not (personal). Otto does not know from Honolulu or you or Sven or Carlos or Vijay or M'butu or Francois or Hans. His job is simply to toss the occasional wild card into the mix and let the chips fall where they may, preferably in a lot of little pieces and a long way from where they started.
But did old Otto exceed the bounds of fair play when he cooked up the scourge of methamphetamine? After all, most plagues have a shelf life and explicit limitations that control or specify their damage, and we've figured out ways to both minimize their impact and cleanup afterward. We've taken most of the starch out of AIDS, and we've scaled star wars down to manageable, localized Brown v. Brown conflicts. But if you imagine methamphetamine personified as a giant mutant octopus with triple the standard complement of arms (and who wouldn't?), insinuating those multifarious tentacles into the very fabric of society, eroding civil infrastructures, monopolizing police resources, destroying families, overtaxing prison systems, and just generally fucking shit up at a rate unseen since the Attila's last visit, then you will understand why we as a people need to holler 'nuff.
Meth is the kudzu of the drug world, introduced with the best of intentions ("You know, I bet if we did away with the need to eat or sleep, the soldiers could do a lot more killing"), but it has gained enough traction and influence outside its intended sphere to become a real problem.
In the past 20 years meth use has both exploded and expanded exponentially, finding use and users in demographics and social strata unheard of in previous years, because at one time speed was simply not cool. Its usership was limited to bikers, truckers, strippers, and a small, deeply underground subculture of subhuman scheming, slinking, thieving, creeping vermin who knew enough to stay out of the light because crank was a hissing and a byword. Now though while "tweaker" is not a word with any positive connotation at all (and is in fact a grievous insult among meth users), more and more people of an otherwise civilized and responsible nature are getting spun out and we are all suffering for it.
After conducting an informal poll of the inmates on my row, I discovered that 22 out of 36, or 61%, are here for reasons directly relatable to meth, and of those 22, four are young men who are not, like most inmates, simply products of grim determinism but bright, middle-class, well brought up kids who without the influence of meth would never even have seen the inside of a jail cell. Extend that 61% nationwide and even with a large (say 10%) margin of error that still amounts to a couple million inmates and by extension billions of dollars.
Add to that the cost of all the free range tweakers out there wreaking havoc. I can tell you that I was personally responsible during my bouts with the old jing-a-ling-a-ling, for, oh, 20-50 felonies a week, every week. And I was comparatively restrained, having certain lines I would not cross. Extend those numbers nationwide and you have a truly terrifying scenario. While you sleep, good citizens, armies of wide awake, pathologically acquisitive, nocturnal riffraff are rooting through your belongings. To aid in this visualization just imagine a race of super intelligent bipedal raccoons. Scary, right? And by the way, when I say "super intelligent" I mean in comparison to the average raccoon. On a human scale, they are super retarded although not without a savant like ability to sniff out shiny objects and subvert security precautions.
The effects of meth on the user are manifold, degenerate, and pervasive — we've all seen the lovely skin and teeth of our local tweakers — but perhaps the most harmful and damaging one is the belief engendered in the user that anything is possible. What's wrong with that, you might say? Isn't that what we teach our children, that they can achieve anything if they only believe and work hard?
No, no, no. I'm not talking about anything being possible in the strive-and-achieve-your-goals sense, I'm talking about the completely insane belief that the physical laws governing our universe can be overcome by sheer force of will and the creative application of technology. You and I know for instance that the effects of death on a ferret cannot be reversed with a car battery, magnetron, some wire, and a couple of alligator clips. But to a tweaker it may seem a perfectly reasonable proposition, or at least worth a try. His ability to delude himself is thoroughgoing and mystifying. Where you might see a scabby, scrofulous, human stain, he can actually look in the mirror and think: Brother, you have got it going on. That's why there are so many meth babies out there crying for attention. Confidence works, regardless of how unfounded and illusory it may be. There is something seriously wrong with a drug that can so completely corrode the user and at the same time render him insensible as to its effects, even as pieces of him gradually rot and fall away.
But we here at the Stony Lonesome are all about solutions, not just identifying and entertainingly describing problems. I suggest immediate and drastic action unhindered by constitutional restrictions or human rights considerations, because — let's face it — tweakers aren't human.
Step One: Established government meth labs. Enlist Uncle Sam's finest chemical engineers, the ones currently engaged in crafting mind control drugs in the guise of hyperactivity treatments, and (why not?) the ones infusing juice boxes with hyperactivity triggers and get them to work creating a Walter White worthy product so potent and intense that nothing else will ever suffice.
Step Two: Fence off Superfund sites and other areas deemed unfit for human habitation by the EPA where pollution and/or radiation have rendered them inhospitable to regular people but provide ideal conditions for tweakers. Equip these sites with a means of generating power manually like stationary bikes looked up to dynamos.
Step Three: Round them up. This would be a gradual process. After a grace period during which everyone would be duly warned of the consequences and given ample time to reform themselves, anyone caught with meth or associated paraphernalia goes straight to a camp. The amount of supplies (food, fresh water, meth, ammunition, pornography) provided would depend on the number of kilowatt hours generated. Camps meeting or exceeding established quotas would be provided with everything necessary to enjoy a fulfilling tweaker lifestyle including weapons. Camps failing to measure up would be given only meth and weapons, creating what scientists call a self regulating system.
As attrition takes its toll and the bodies mount up, viable organs will be harvested, precious metals extracted and remaining organic matter converted to fuel or livestock feed, rendering tweakers useful for the first time in their lives. Within five years two things will have happened: Everyone in the camps will be dead and the general public will have lost its taste for methamphetamine.
Harsh? Decidedly so. Drastic times call for drastic measures and the society plus meth paradigm is no longer practicable.
If you want to call me a visionary, I won't quibble. I'm just a man. A man with a vision. A man with a vision of herding a sizable segment of the population into poisonous, radioactive camps and allowing nature to take its horrific, cannibalistic course. If future generations should eventually look back on me and my administration as a pivotal point in the resurgence of America at the dawn of a new Golden Age, it would be no more than my due and duty to posterity.