Sunday 25 August 2019

Why those with powder up their noses tonight will have blood on their hands

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Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Law enforcement's implacable onslaught on the Kinahan international crime cartel has gained such momentum that those of us who have witnessed this in the past can confidently predict the end is in sight for its monstrous murder machine.

The unending litany of seizures of drugs, money and guns, and the arrest of so many drug lords, combined with the fact Kinahan and his associates are now pariahs in the criminal community, is proof their hegemony is coming to an end. However, before we - in 'respectable' middle-class society - say good riddance to the 'stars' of the horrifying gangland soap opera we have witnessed over the past 21 months, we should take stock of our own role in this appalling drama.

The seizure of drugs worth €10m is damaging, but not fatal to massive criminal organisations like the Kinahans. It is only when it occurs alongside scores of other similar busts that it affects the criminals' all-important bottom line.

But the truth is this: the €10m market that was available for the seized shipment this week has not gone away.

For organised crime is fuelled, sustained and made possible because human beings will always want to get inebriated, high or stoned.

'Respectable society' takes considerable reassurance by being able to pick up a paper and look at the faces of the 'bad people' whose paths we would never deign to cross.

This psychological self-delusion offers reassurance that these perfidious, immoral thugs are way down the social hierarchy. But the inconvenient truth is that it is cash flowing from the middle classes that has helped make the drug lords rich and powerful.

The reality of the situation with regard to the Kinahans is that, as sure as death follows life, market realities will ensure that another criminal organisation is in the process of preparing to fill the imminent vacuum. All that will change are the faces in the pictures, and the names in the headlines.

The basic principles of the free market come into play in a situation such as this: if there was no demand for illegal narcotics, then there would be no supply, and the bad guys would have to find alternative sources of ill-gotten gains.

The global drugs trade is a massive economic beast. The demand for product - cocaine, cannabis, heroin or otherwise - dictates the volumes outputted by producers. It is an alternative economy unto itself.

Unlike practically any other product or commodity on the international market, illegal narcotics generate prodigious profits and also defy the vicissitudes of market forces. It is on a par with oil and weaponry as the most lucrative source of income in the world.

So where does that put the 'respectable' middle classes in Ireland who are delighted to see the imminent demise of the Kinahan gang?

What they view as their harmless, indulgent taking of so-called recreational drugs this weekend ultimately translates into huge profits that go into the pockets of people like Christy Kinahan. It results in the horrendous bloodshed and loss of life we have witnessed on our streets. The reality is that there are plenty among the 'respectable' population who pay their taxes and despise gangsters but still take drugs.

Without them, Christy Kinahan would be back being what he started off as in life: a low-class, cheapskate conman cashing dodgy cheques for a living.

While those enjoying a few lines of the 'Devil's dandruff' this weekend may consider it a 'victimless' crime, this is nothing more than an attempt to rationalise and detach themselves from the evil they help perpetuate. Those with powder up their nose tonight have blood on their hands.

Irish Independent

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