Updates: Drug Wars (2013) and the gangster genre

I’ve written about The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973 (2013), have posted updates regarding the topics addressed in the study by Kathleen J. Frydl, and have posted items about gangster literature.

I’ve also related these interconnected topics to military history.

When I first began to write blog posts about these themes, it didn’t occur to me that several narratives related to these topics are interrelated – and that writing posts about them can serve as an aid to the organizing of a person’s thinking about them.

Hypertext was invented around 1965, as I understand

With regard to the organizing of one’s thinking – which I see as a key benefit of blogging and micro-blogging (as with Twitter) – the use of hypertext, a term that was, as I understand, invented by Ted Nelson around 1965, is helpful.

It occurs to me, as well, when I think of hypertext, that an analog version of it – as used by Peter Burke, for example, in his study of the relation between history and social theory – is also available, and has valuable applications.

Alice Munro’s approach to the reading of short stories also comes to mind. Her approach has features of hypertext – in that a person, metaphorically speaking, is spending time in one “room” after another, when reading a story by starting anywhere, and by moving in any direction from the starting point.

To an extent, each such “room” has the features of a blurb.

In this post, which will be no more than 750 words in length, I’m starting a new series of updates.

Mexico’s drug war

A March 6, 2014 CBC news analysis article is entitled: “The ‘get Shorty‘ course change in Mexico’s drug war.”

An excerpt from the article reads:

That could mean that Pena Nieto now sees that modern Mexico will only become a mature democracy if it refuses to tolerate any challenge to the authority of elected governments.

A June 12, 2017 ProPublica article is entitled: “How the U.S. triggered a massacre in Mexico.”

Environmental effects of the world wide web

I have previously added updates to a Machine in the Garden post.

Rather than adding any more updates to that post, I’ll add one here.

An excerpt from a March 9, 2014 Guardian article, entitled “25 things you might not know about the web,” reads:

The web is largely powered by huge server farms located all over the world that need large quantities of electricity for computers and cooling. (Not to mention the carbon footprint and natural resource costs of the construction of these installations.) Nobody really knows what the overall environmental impact of the web is, but it’s definitely non-trivial.


In a previous post I’ve noted that the War of 1812 brought the first Ukrainians to York. An update related to the history of Ukraine, a topic that is highlighted in that post, is a March 17, 2014 New Yorker article entitled: “Putin’s Pique.”

An April 3, 2015 Guardian article is entitled: “Can Ukraine save itself from Vladimir Putin and the oligarchs?”

Culture of a community

The organizational culture of a community is a source of fascination for me.

That reminded me of the fact that, over the past close to twenty years that I’ve lived in Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey), I’ve begun to learn a few things about the local culture, and about how the culture is changing.

What applies to Long Branch applies to southern Etobicoke and the City of Toronto. Over time, in chance conversations or interviews, or in addressing organizational matters related to community organizations, a picture emerges, regarding the culture of a community, that a person can readily pick up. From the culture, a person can learn many things.

I’m thinking of this not in an academic sense, as something that a sociologist or social theorist would study – although such study is beneficial, and I like to read about such research, as it applies to Etobicoke, for example. I’m thinking of it more as something that one picks up, through a process of attunement, a process that is central to the history of the Findhorn Community in Scotland.

In a sense, the culture of a community is something that a person explores in the context of initiatives such as the Jane’s Walk. A feature of Long Branch is that the culture is changing.


Placemaking offers one way, among others, to attune to the culture of a community.

Additional updates

A March 24, 2015 New York Times article is entitled: “To See Ukraine’s Future, Recall Crimea.”

A March 26, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Bill Browder’s nasty glimpse into the black heart of Putin’s Russia.”

A March 26, 2015 New York Times article is entitled: “Inside America’s Toughest Federal Prison: For years, conditions inside the United States’ only federal supermax facility were largely a mystery. But a landmark lawsuit is finally revealing the harsh world within.”

An April 22, 2015 New York Times article is entitled: “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company.”

Also of interest:

Extremely Violent Societies: Mass Violence in the Twentieth Century (2010).

The State Within a State: The KGB and its Hold on Russia – Past, Present, and Future (1994).

A Jan. 15, 2016 New York Times article is entitled: “Why Cartels Are Killing Mexico’s Mayors.”

A June 19, 2017 London School of Economics and Political Science article is entitled: “Book Review: Sharing This Walk: An Ethnography of Prison Life and the PCC in Brazil by Karina Biondi.”

A July 26, 2017 Columbia Review of Journalism article is entitled: “Photos reveal media’s softer tone on opioid crisis.”

British Columbia gang culture

An Aug. 26, 2019 CBC article is entitled: “The unusual suspects: How B.C.’s middle-class gangs are unlike any other in North America: Many gangsters driven by desire to belong, to be protected or to emulate gang lifestyle, say police, experts.”

An excerpt reads:

The task force also shed light on the complex reasons why kids are joining gangs.

They might be experiencing trauma or domestic violence, substance abuse at home, lack of parental supervision or have delinquent peers or siblings. Or they might be getting bullied at school and turn to a gang for protection, or just to feel like they belong somewhere. And some might simply be lured by the promise of profit and luxury.

“What we’re seeing is surprising to us and unexpected,” says Joanna Angelidis, director of learning services for the Delta School District.

“It seems to be that it’s young people who you wouldn’t necessarily expect would become involved in gang life,” she added.

“So, what we’re thinking is that it’s young people who are maybe looking for a feeling of connection or inclusion and they’re looking for that in ways that are clearly unhealthy or dangerous.”

An Aug. 27, 2019 CBC article is entitled: “‘There’s no rock bottom anymore’: B.C.’s evolving gang landscape causing spike in violence.”

An excerpt reads:

Officials say many of the middle-class young men stepping off school and career paths to pursue criminal businesses see it as a legitimate career opportunity.

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