Soundtrack by Czech band: Interpretace. Here’s a link:
Soundtrack by Czech band: Interpretace. Here’s a link:
We’ve done pretty well, here in Humboldt County, at keeping the big chain stores at bay. Arcata has an ordinance against them, and public outcry keeps Walmart cowering in the back of the mall. Obviously we value our local culture, and our local economy. However, our State Senator, Mike McGuire has gone ahead and invited a new big chain store to open a franchise here in Humboldt County, and he expects us to be happy about it.
At a recent “Opioid Crisis” themed town meeting, Senator McGuire announced that Aegis Treatment Centers would be opening its 32nd drug treatment clinic here in Humboldt County. Clearly we need more drug treatment here in Humboldt County, but do we really need the “Taco Bell” of treatment centers? Has Aegis been offered incentives to locate here in Humboldt County? Were those incentives also offered to the Open Door Clinic who has been treating everyone’s medical needs here for decades? What about our local health care districts, or Redwoods Rural Health Center? Were they offered incentives to offer drug treatment locally? Do we need a big company from out of town to suck money out of our community, just so we can have a methadone clinic in Humboldt County?
If you think I’m kidding about the “Taco Bell of treatment centers,” you should look into Aegis for yourself. Aegis pays low wages, overworks it’s staff, and has a very high turnover rate. The employee reviews of the company that I read shared a few common themes. Nearly everyone complained of the low pay, many mentioned the high case load, and most complained about the lack of opportunity for advancement. Even employees who rated Aegis highly, said that it was “a good place to start,” but not a good place to work long-term.
Patients complain of inflexibility, impersonal, constantly changing staff, and many complain that Aegis likes to keep people on Methadone, because it’s more profitable to maintain someone on methadone than it is to help them quit opiates altogether. We’ve been treating narcotic addiction with methadone for decades, but it has never worked very well. I’m not sure we’ve ever had an outpatient methadone clinic in Humboldt County before, but couldn’t we do this better ourselves?
A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Dr Amanda Reiman, who lives in Mendocino County, for my radio show, Monday Morning Magazine on KMUD (Nov 13, 8-9am archived at http://www.kmud.org). Dr Reiman has done some very interesting research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis within the harm reduction drug treatment model. Dr Reiman has found that cannabis helps people quit hard drugs, and cannabis helps people who use hard drugs, use less hard drugs. This is a significant breakthrough in addiction treatment, and here in Humboldt County, we should be on the cutting edge of cannabis aided addiction treatment research. That sure won’t happen at an Aegis methadone clinic.
Dr Reiman works with a treatment clinic in southern California called “High Sobriety,” which uses cannabis alongside other forms of treatment. Why shouldn’t we have our own, homegrown, cannabis enhanced, drug treatment clinic here in Humboldt County? We need more and better drug treatment here in Humboldt County. We have plenty of people who need help. We have plenty of cannabis, and we have the peace, quiet and serenity that people need to heal.
We have an epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths here in Humboldt County that we must address, and if there’s one thing we should know by now, it is that we will never arrest and jail our way out of this problem. The people who are addicted to drugs in Humboldt County are our neighbors, our friends, and our kids. We don’t need to give them criminal records, and we don’t need to farm them out to some assembly line methadone clinic for the rest of their lives.
We have a unique population, and a unique set of circumstances here in Humboldt County, and I think we need a unique, homegrown approach to drug treatment. Research into the therapeutic potential for cannabis in drug treatment should be a high priority because we desperately need more and better drug treatment options. We need every tool in the toolbox to help the people of our community recover from the War on Drugs.
If there is one thing we can learn from Aegis, that is, that there is money to be made in drug treatment here in Humboldt County. Besides that, you can bet that people who use cannabis to quit hard drugs, will find that cannabis helps them stay clean, too, and people who used Humboldt Cannabis to get clean will probably use Humboldt Cannabis to stay clean. The potential for brand loyalty is enormous. This idea will make people rich. You’re welcome.
When I take someone’s picture in public, I always ask permission. Legally, I have no obligation to do so, but I ask, because I know that when I take that picture, I have taken something from them that is probably more precious than they realize, especially considering all of the terrible things I could do with it. It’s an odd wrinkle in our laws that allows this. When someone takes your picture, it becomes their art, not yours, even though it is a picture of you. You, as an individual, have no control over who can take your picture when you are in public, or what they can do with it.
Of course, if we respected every individual’s right to control how their image was used, it would severely restrict the field of photojournalism, because nobody wants to have their mugshot published in the paper, and no one wants to be seen in a perp-walk or other embarrassing circumstances. Journalists would be confined to shooting landscapes, animals, and flattering, licensed, pictures of proud people to illustrate their stories. Instead, we give journalists broad latitude to take our pictures, and use them for their own purposes, because, presumably, we value journalism, and feel it has an important role to serve in our society.
We expect journalists to show us pictures of the accused. We expect them to cover the parade, and to show the spectators as well as the marchers, but we also expect journalists to uncover wrongdoing, and to expose the perpetrators. We expect them ask difficult questions of politicians, and to let us watch those politicians squirm, or at least we used to expect that, and we pretend to expect that today. We give journalists broad latitude to photograph us in public, not because we recognize their God given right to do so, but because we expect something from them in terms of service to the community.
Unfortunately, the economics of the media lead to something else entirely. It is expensive to investigate corporate malfeasance. It takes time and money to penetrate private firms with private offices, and it just might alienate possible advertisers or underwriters. The media has very little motivation, and lots of reasons to move cautiously, or not at all, into the field of investigative reporting. On the other hand, the law allows journalists to take unlimited numbers of pictures of poor people who cannot afford any private space from which to escape their prying eyes.
Misery, hardship, poverty, drug abuse, all leave their traces on the faces of the people who have endured them. Many photographers have made their livings from their ability to capture someone else’s misery and convey it in a photographic frame, but others take pictures of the poor and destitute, not to sensitively convey their pain, but to ridicule and humiliate them, and turn them into objects of public scorn. We see this all the time here in our local media.
We see pictures of poor and homeless people next to articles designed, not to draw attention to the suffering of our neighbors, but to ridicule them for their poverty, or to complain about the trash they create, or whine about how much they impact local businesses. The press uses the broad legal permission we give them to take pictures of us in public, to humiliate and dehumanize our poor neighbors for profit, while they suck up to the corrupt businesses and politicians we want them to expose. In other words, this legal loophole allows the media to treat people, especially poor people, like vermin, while economic forces encourage them to treat every single money making venture in town as immaculately conceived and without sin.
Instead of holding politicians’ feet to the fire, our media looks for helpless poor people to humiliate. You can see it everywhere, from reality TV to our local TV news, newspapers and websites, and it doesn’t stop there. We allow mass surveillance. We let merchants videotape us, governments spy on us and online companies track our every keystroke. We allow them to monitor our behavior and use the information they collect to uncover our psychological weaknesses and exploit them. You have the right to remain at home, if you have one, and off-line, but everything you say and do in public or online will be used against you.
In the same way that we should not conflate what is illegal with what is wrong, we should be equally careful not to conflate what is legal with what is right. I used to make a lot of video documentaries. I understand the power of images, and how context can change how they are perceived. I also know that being on TV can be empowering and helpful, but it can also be cruel and humiliating, sometimes all at the same time. Turning pictures of people into a piece of media, any media, is a kind of magic, and it is never undertaken in complete innocence. The producer always has a perspective, if not an agenda, and for everything an image shows, it hides a thousand other things.
Some friends of mine, who also make documentaries, told me that they wanted to name their film company, “Potlatch Pictures” after the famous gifting feast. I told them that I found it hard to see any of what we do, as media producers, as generous or benevolent, especially if we somehow manage to get paid for it, because we’re always taking, and we’re always intruding. I think that’s true of all media. None of it is generous or benevolent. The media is always taking, and always intruding, and it always hides more than it shows. No one in this field is innocent. This is a war, and the battlefield is your mind.
The trimmigrants really snuck up on me this year. A few Fridays, maybe a month, ago we were all talking about how dead it was in town. I recognized every face in the Garberville Town Square that day, strictly locals. The following Thursday evening, however, at home, almost 20 miles from town, 3 miles from the nearest county road, I heard a faint “halo” outside my window. I looked up to see two young women with big backpacks, looking at me with hopeful eyes.
“Do you think you could maybe, please, give us a ride to where the dirt road meets the paved road?” one of them asked with an accent I didn’t quite recognize. It was about 7:00pm, dusk. I asked them what they planned to do when they got to the end of the dirt road. “Hitchhike back to town.” she told us. I advised against hitchhiking after dark. I told them that they were welcome to camp around our place until morning, and that we had planned to go to town ourselves, the next day. “No” she replied, “We want to get out of here now.”
I could tell she was frightened. I asked her how they got here. She told us that one of our neighbors had hired them. He told them he had a few weeks work for them, but after two days, and one night, he had completely freaked them out. He had scared them so badly that they decided they would rather hitchhike back to town, after dark, than spend another night at his place. We understood completely. We gave them a ride to town.
By Southern Humboldt standards, we live in a pretty good neighborhood. We don’t know everyone in our neighborhood, and there’s some we know that we wish we didn’t, but I do know that we have a lot of dangerous men around here, who live alone on large tracts of land. I believe these women had good reason to be frightened, and we were happy help them get away from a scary situation.
On the way to town they filled us in on more of the details. One of them was from Belgium and the other, Argentina. They had met in Mexico, and came here together looking for work, in hopes of extending their travels. Originally, they were a group of five, with three guys, but my neighbor singled out the two women, and they got into his car. He told them he lived on a “peace community” where they “practice permaculture and green building techniques.” They became suspicious when they didn’t see anyone else there. He also became more unpredictable, and went from peaceful, green, eco-hippie, to angry psychopath without warning, and at the slightest provocation.
They both seemed very shaken by the experience, and were kicking themselves for their poor judgment. I could tell that they had never met anyone like this guy before, and he really scared them. We commiserated. I explained that a lot of people who live out here, alone, on large tracts of rugged land, do so because they don’t get along with people very well, and living out here doesn’t really help them develop those skills. We warned them that there are more guys like our neighbor out in these woods, and encouraged them to be more careful.
We wished them luck as we helped them unload their packs in Redway, where they headed straight into Deb’s for the wifi, and something to eat. All around us there seemed to be dozens of young, hopeful-looking people, with big backpacks, getting in and out of vehicles. Suddenly, we have trimmigrants everywhere. Since then, several people have asked me, in a variety of accents, if I know where they can find work. I’ve seen people hitchhiking at every conceivable intersection, and there’s a lot more young people in town, not as many as in years past, I think, but still a good showing.
I see them shopping all over town. Local merchants should be happy about that. Things had been pretty slow in town, for a while, before all of these kids arrived. Trimmigrants have got to make up a significant portion of the tourist dollars spent here in SoHum. Still, I see “No Trimmigrants” bumperstickers all over the place.
How bad do things have to get, economically, before we start to appreciate the people who come here and spend their money in our stores, restaurants and hotels? I’ve got a feeling we’re going to find out. Let’s hope we haven’t scared them all away by then.
I hate to write about the Mateel Community Center, because there’s a baby in that bathwater, and because we really need a community center in Southern Humboldt. Much as I enjoy criticizing the gross excesses, pathetic deficiencies and laughably dishonest mythology of this community, I don’t want to be the one to tell us that our baby is dead. However, the Mateel Board’s decision to suspend the Mateel Meal program indicates to me that this latest trip to the Intensive Care Ward might be too little too late.
As a community center, the Mateel has always been exceptional. I don’t know of any other community center that could pull off an undertaking like Reggae on the River, or even Summer Arts and Music Festival, in it’s present incarnation. As we now see, big festivals are a big gamble. They have the potential to make a lot of money, but they cost a lot to produce, and if attendance falls, the losses can be catastrophic. Most community centers would never take that kind of risk with the community’s resources.
Summer Arts and Music Festival used to be the kind of event a community center would put on. In fact Summer Arts and Music Festival predates the Mateel as a community function. Before SoHum became a marijuana mono-culture, a lot of people around here made and sold art, pottery, cabinetry, candles, clothing, musical instruments and other handcrafted items, and relied on that income to survive. I know because I was one of them. I used to make a living selling my crafts at, mostly community center sponsored craft shows, all over Northern California and Southern Oregon. SAMF used to be one of the better ones.
Since the Reggae Wars, however, the focus of SAMF has changed. I wouldn’t call it an arts and crafts show anymore. I’d call it a music festival with arts and crafts. Now, instead of sponsoring a festival for the benefit of local artists and craftspeople, the Mateel expects artists and craftspeople, increasingly from out of the area, to finance a music festival, for the benefit of the community center.
Artists and craftspeople need community support, and they rely on institutions like community centers to survive and thrive. Helping local artists is an important function of a community center, and it pays to help artists in your community thrive. Supporting the arts builds economic diversity; it builds local culture and it encourages creativity. The goal of Summer Arts and Music should be to help local artists, craftspeople and musicians get their careers off the ground, not to make money off of them. If the local arts scene diminishes while the community center thrives, something’s wrong.
Reggae on the River also used to help people in our community much more than it does now. ROTR used to bring a lot more people from out of the area, and more of those people needed weed. Local growers sold A LOT of pot at Reggae on the River. Today, everyone in California has easy access to cannabis, and there are plenty of reggae festivals to attend. Now ROTR relies on local people to buy tickets, and since it’s just us, nobody needs weed, so growers don’t make much money at Reggae on the River anymore.
Reggae On The River is a massive undertaking that consumes people’s lives and our community center’s resources, and now it demands that we, as a community, make a commitment to spend a bunch of money to attend a four-day drug orgy where we drink way too much beer and chain smoke fat spliffs of ganja while he choke on dust in the August heat. That’s a lot to ask of a community. What’s more, it probably isn’t very good for us.
Things change, and sometimes we forget why we do things. One thing that hasn’t changed very much is the need for a hot nutritious meal. Every community has hungry people, and ours is no exception. The need for a hot free meal in Southern Humboldt remains as strong as ever. People in our community would feel better, think better and make better decisions if they got a good nutritious meal that day. Children in our community would do better in school and have a better chance for success, and mom would have an easier time making ends meet if they could get a free meal every once in a while. A free meal could help a lot of self-employed people get through a rough month or two, and really help unemployed people stay strong while they look for work.
Besides that, we benefit from sitting down to a meal together, as a community. We have a lot of lonely people here in SoHum. A lot of people around here are hungrier for company than they are for food. In many ways, bringing people together to share a free meal is the essence of community, and the Mateel used to do it pretty well.
Bob Binairs invited me to help out in the Mateel Meal kitchen back when we first moved here, and it was a great experience. Good food, good company and good vibes. The Mateel had enough of that revolutionary radical hippie spirit that made people proud to eat there. I was proud to eat there, and I met some great people there. Every free meal strikes a blow against capitalism and feeding people is a revolutionary act. It felt good to share a meal with comrades at the Mateel.
Over the years, however, those radical, revolutionary hippie ideas like “community” have steadily withered away in people’s minds in the face of an onslaught of even more radical, right-wing “free-market” rhetoric from corporate mass media. Fewer people understand ideas like “community” anymore, let alone believe in them. Unless the idea of “community” lives in people’s hearts and minds, they’ll never understand the importance of a community center, or what they should expect of one.
This constant barrage of disempowering messages from corporate media, and a changing culture, not to mention the greed that sparked the greenrush, has changed the way people around here think and see the world. Today, a lot of people want to make Southern Humboldt more exclusive. They don’t want to help their neighbor; they want to exclude needy people from their neighborhood. Here in SoHum we have a lot of people who want to use hunger as a weapon to drive poverty out of town.
The Mateel Meal program has been under attack for years, by a growing faction who believe that feeding hungry people only encourages more of them to come here. They don’t want to see needy people, let alone eat with them. They prefer to use their money to exclude people, rather than support their neighbors, and they intend to make Southern Humboldt more exclusive and upscale by starving poor people out.
The Mateel Hall is overflowing with donated food. The kitchen remains there in the hall, mostly unused, and all of the labor to put on the Mateel Meal is done by unpaid volunteers. At the most recent Mateel meeting, it was reported that the reasons for suspending the Mateel Meal included: the donated food is taking up more than its allotted space, and that the Mateel Meal puts extra wear and tear on the floor because the floor has to be mopped after every meal.
The easy solution to too much donated food is to feed more people, and if we wear-out the floor of the Mateel Hall by providing free meals, that floor will have been well used indeed. I don’t see any excuse for preserving the floorboards at the expense of hungry people in our community. People here need this food, today, before it goes bad, and the people who donated it, wanted it to be eaten, not thrown away. The Mateel Board has not only gambled with the community’s resources, they’ve used their bad decisions as an excuse to block this genuine volunteer effort to feed hungry people in our community.
Things change, and after 30 years of devicive rhetoric, gangsta rap and the rise of Randian, libertarian social Darwinism, there might not be enough people left around here who even understand that radical, revolutionary hippie idea we call “community,” let alone believe in it enough to support a community center anymore. Today we see that even a majority of the Mateel Board of Directors seems unclear on the concept. What are the chances they can convey it to the rest of us, convincingly? If the Mateel Community Center fails, it won’t be because they lost too much money at ROTR, it will be because we no longer understand, or believe in, the revolutionary concept of community.
It really amazes me that we draw such strong class distinctions here in SoHum, where so few people have any class at all. On one side, we have cracker drug dealers posing as middle-class suburbanites, who wouldn’t know class if it bit them in the ass, but if you can buy a symbol of it, they have four. On the other side we have poor white trash for whom class is what we dropped-out of school to avoid. Is there really any difference between us? I sure don’t see it.
We all drink too much, take too many drugs and make big messes in the woods. We’re mostly ugly and unpleasant to be around, and very few of us can hold up our end of a conversation for long without dropping an F-bomb. We dress like shlubs, and barely speak in complete sentences, but instead of recognizing our similarities, we search for petty distinctions that allow us to look down on each other, demonize each other and blame each other, rather than work together to find a solution. That’s the cracker way.
That’s why white people make such great fascists. Without the strict discipline of a strong leader, we all just turn on each other, like overcrowded hamsters, but if a leader can frighten us of a foreign enemy, we instantly become the most vicious killing machine that has ever stalked the planet. We don’t know how to look for common ground or a win/win situation. For us, the only way we know we’ve won, is when we see you lose. It’s a cultural thing, and it goes way back.
Usually, this kind of white cultural ugliness takes the form of racism, but we just don’t have enough non-white people, here in SoHum to blame all of our problems on. Because of our lack of diversity, we’ve had to learn to hate each other based purely on perceived economic status. This has lead to a lot of “cracker on cracker” crime, as tensions flare between two groups of practically identical people who attack each other over differences they would pity each other for, if they weren’t so pitiful themselves. That’s how it is with white people. If they don’t have their foot on your neck, you have to pity them.
Here in SoHum, we have a housing shortage, so we make a distinction between those who manage to find a place to live, and those who get left outside at night. It’s a cruel distinction, and one that could be eliminated with a little compassion cooperation and imagination, but that’s not the cracker way. Instead, we prefer a military solution. Like fools, we beg for more cops, stricter laws and harsher punishments. If we can’t solve the problem with violence, we won’t solve it at all.
When I hear our dope yuppies complain about the poor and homeless, they complain, very vociferously, about very minor offenses. They don’t like people standing on the sidewalks, smoking cigarettes, with their dogs and backpacks. They complain about people sitting on park benches for too long, and in too large of groups. They complain about people’s appearance, or about the appearance of their vehicles. They complain about open containers and smoking marijuana in public. They basically complain about people trying to live their lives as best they can.
On the other hand, when I hear homeless people complaining about the people who harass them, they complain about serious crimes and abusive behavior. They complain about having their tents slashed and their belongings stolen. They complain about being shot with paintball guns, threatened with firearms, and being physically assaulted and beaten up. They complain about having the Sheriff called on them because they were standing on the sidewalk talking to their friends, or about being photographed and videotaped by people who treat them as though they have no right to exist. They complain about being run off of the road when they are walking, or about trucks that slow down as they pass, and then hit the gas to spew a big cloud of diesel exhaust in their face. They complain about being profiled and blamed for things that they did not do, and they complain about collective punishment, violence and open hostility.
I understand class war, and I think class war is worth fighting, but if it weren’t for the weed industry, we’d all be poor, and on the same side. I like poor people. I don’t like to see people suffer, but I do enjoy the company of people who know how to make themselves happy, and enjoy their time on Earth without feeling the need to blow a ton of cash along the way.
The rules of class war are simple. If you aren’t on the side of the people who have less than you, you’re on the wrong side. Here’s why: The people who have less than you, need you, and they will remember you when you need them, but to the people who have more than you, you will always be expendable.
Crackers never figure this out no matter how many times they get fired, laid-off, snitched-out, or otherwise hung out to dry. Crackers always fall for shiny material objects, fancy pageants and big crowds, and will buy into any kind of idiocy that makes them feel like part of it.
Now that the dope yuppies have money, and have gotten chummy with the trust-fund kids, this little drug ghetto they’ve created here has become an embarrassment, so they’re doing everything they can to ditch their poor neighbors and gussy-up the place to impress their new rich friends. It’s exactly what any stupid cracker would do. It’s in our blood. Crackers have sucked up to rich, phony friends for a hundred generations or more, and those rich, phony friends have never given us anything except poorer people to look down on. These days, I guess that’s all that most crackers expect from life.
Since we’re all white, none of us have any idea what respect is all about, and none of us knows how to solve anything except with violence. We’re pathetic. Unless we, pitiful, stupid, white crackers, can find some compassion in our hearts, the vision to see our commonalities over our differences, and the imagination to find a new way to live together, it’s a hopeless situation. I always thought that marijuana would help us rise above the pitfalls of our cracker heritage, but here in SoHum, I have to admit that it has only made things worse. We’ve seen it a million times, from the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s to the Jerry Springer Show, and now on the streets of Garberville. Cracker versus cracker just leaves a lot of crumbs.
Someone who left a comment in LoCO’s “Thunderdome” last week thought I showed poor judgment in who I associate with because I have friends who are “homeless.” I realize that “homeless” is a bigoted term, as is the term “dope yuppies” which I also used to describe other friends of mine. I don’t usually talk about my friends in such pejorative terms, but in the context of the piece, those terms brought their legal, economic, and political status into focus. I used the term “homeless” to emphasize the level of disenfranchisement and prejudice my friends endure.
I didn’t use the term because I think they are bad people, quite the opposite. Most of the good, decent and interesting people in Southern Humboldt lack adequate housing, or are subject to the fickle whims of SoHum’s notorious slumlords. On the other hand, the real monsters in this community all seem to have nice, comfortable, stable homes. Gary Lee Bullock is a good example of the kind of people who live in nice homes, and come from respected SoHum families.
Gary Lee Bullock was high on meth, as usual, and started terrorizing his neighbors, who called the cops. He fought with the cops, who arrested him and took him to jail in Eureka. In Eureka, they charged him, booked him, and released him on his own recognizance. After that, while aimlessly wandering the streets of Eureka in the middle of the night, Bullock broke into the rectory of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, and then tortured and killed Father Eric Freed, the Priest who lived there, before stealing Father Freed’s car and driving it back to his cozy SoHum home.
Zachary Brown makes a fine example as well, last Fall, Zachary, and a teenage accomplice beat an old man they did not know, almost to death, in the Garberville Town Square, with baseball bats. Zachary then walked back to his comfortable Garberville abode, leaving a trail of his victim’s blood all the way to the front door.
Then there’s Estelle Fennell, who works tirelessly to undermine the rights of poor people with new laws that criminalize poverty, ignores violent crime, as long as it is directed against poor people, and who appointed an unqualified Public Defender to make it even easier to railroad poor people into false convictions. These are the kind of people who have homes in Southern Humboldt. How could the people without homes be any worse?
I know that we have a few decent people living indoors here in Southern Humboldt, and a lot more who think they are decent people, and probably would be decent people, if they lived somewhere that encouraged them in that way, but if you are looking for genuinely decent, interesting people, you have a better chance of finding them among the people who pay rent, or can’t find a place to rent, than you do among the landed gentry.
That’s why I advocate for affordable housing and better treatment of the poor. I don’t do it out of charity. I do it because we need better people in SoHum. We need better people in SoHum, not richer people, or greedier people. We need better people, and better people have better things to do than squeeze bloody profits out of political corruption. Better people aren’t afraid of honest work, but they don’t want to work themselves to death either. Better people have better things to do. Nonetheless, better people deserve to be treated like human beings, and they deserve an affordable place to live.
The more we do to make life easier for people at the bottom end of the economic spectrum, the easier we make life for everyone, and the more attractive we make it for better people, and that’s how we build a better community. The problem is: the people at the top of the economic scale don’t see it that way.
Greed is a character flaw. It’s a kind of blindness connected to an inferiority complex. Greed creates a yawning chasm of need that enslaves greedy people who always want more. It comes across as pitifully coarse and shallow. Greed is insatiable, and it makes greedy people insufferable, and that’s a large part of the problem around here.
Greed takes a further toll when greedy bosses inevitably try to squeeze more work out of their employees. Overworked, poorly treated workers become bitter and resentful. Instead of resenting their greedy bosses, who they continue to suck-up to, they resent anyone who doesn’t work as hard as they do. Overwork tends to make people dull, and bitterness and resentment are not exactly attractive.
Finally, greed creates poverty. The needfulness of the greedy drives them to exploit the underclass, mercilessly, and the bitter resentment of overworked workers gets expressed in punitive attitudes and overt hostility towards the poor. Greedy people are too stingy to share, and resentful people like to see other people suffer, Together they they maximize the destructive power of poverty and inequality to destroy the lives of good people. Then they complain about all of the traumatized, and addicted people lying around who have no respect for this community.
You see how greed can really undermine the quality of the people, and the quality of life, in any community, but the black market in marijuana adds a whole new dimension to the sick, death-spiral of greed here in Southern Humboldt. As long as we remain focused on squeezing every last dollar out of each other, things are just going to get worse around here. On the other hand, everything we do to make this community more livable for people who don’t enslave themselves to greed, or work themselves to death, makes this community a better place to live, and tends to attract better people.