Editorial: 'In the underworld, life is cheap ...there is no glamour in crime'
In terms of wanton wasted life and human debasement it is difficult to think of anything more diabolical than the drugs trade.
On Sunday, a fourth young man in his early 20s died after being shot multiple times in a drugs feud. There have been 10 drug-related murders here this year.
In 'No Country for Old Men', Cormac McCarthy wrote: "I think if you were Satan and you were sitting around tryin' to think up somethin' that would just bring the human race to its knees what you would probably come up with is narcotics."
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The innocent bear the cost: the grieving relatives, and those who get drawn in, and preyed upon.
The illusion of a fast-track to fortune peddled to the young needs to be exposed for the dark fantasy it is.
More often than not the journey ends in a premature violent death, and ruin.
The murder spiral accelerates as gangs get more merciless, and the spoils more captivating.
The irony is, the greater the riches in crime, the cheaper life becomes.
Poet Robert Frost was not a young man when he told an interviewer: "In three words I can tell you all I have learned about life: It goes on."
But for far too many, too young it doesn't.
Those who lived through the '70s and '80s in this country became familiar with what was called "an acceptable level of violence". The Troubles were at their height and the headlines were full of senseless death.
But so long as it was contained within certain limits there was, allegedly, an understanding within security circles; a degree of bloodshed could be tolerated. There can never be an acceptable level of violence.
Just as there must never be acceptance for gangs or organised crime.
Those who might murder for profit must be made feel the pain and fear they visit on others. With the crime comes the consequences.
Gardaí do what they can with scarce resources, but they are up against it.
Those who buy drugs for personal use need to understand they are contributing to the descent to the bottom the gangs depend upon.
Yet, at some point in the future, it could be your child that gets lured, hooked, and trapped in a desperate space few escape.
So long as it pays, the crime czars will carve out their turf in headstones.
Last summer, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the gang murderers "merit nothing but rejection and disdain". The "unprecedented level of depravity" must end, he pleaded. It hasn't. There is no glamour or value for life in crime.
In 2014, 'Fat' Andy Connors was buried in a gold-plated casket reported to have cost €28,000.
In 2016, David Byrne's coffin was reported to have cost €12,000.
In the underworld life is cheap: yet a thousand times the price of a casket could not buy one precious day alive on Earth. Crime will buy you nothing except an expensive coffin.