Why are illegal drug-related street deals associated with violent acts like murder/shootings.



Why are illegal drug-related street deals associated with violent acts like murder/shootings.

In: Culture

When you are doing some illegal as your business you lose the ability to rely on the system of laws to keep the landscape of customers, competitors, suppliers and so on conforming to normal social expectations.

So…the escalation to violence is easy to see happening. If I know that you can’t call the cops on me coming and stealing your drugs because getting caught having the drugs is a big problem for you then I know that I can “steal” with impunity. Take this idea and extrapolate it and the person willing to be more violent can do what they want to the person unwilling to be violent, within the context of whatever illegal business is going on.

so…a business might defend it’s territory and market through fostering partnerships with retailers, through reducing prices. Those are _legal_, and they can’t go up to store owners and say “sell my product and not my competitors” with a gun to their face because the store owner who runs a legit business has the entire police force at their disposal to stop that. If that retailer is a drug dealer, they can’t make that call.

This is because sometimes you get groups of people (gangs) that like to sell drugs in a certain area, and if another group decides they want to sell their product in that particular area it makes the other group angry. The other group will send warnings and have talks and if they don’t listen and keep selling their product on the other groups area, confrontation will break out. They can’t exactly call the cops to get rid of someone so they handle it themselves. Another less common thing that will happen is that people will attempt to buy drugs but not have enough money. They’ll attack the dealer which is generally regarded as a bad idea. Lastly when you have an area known for selling drugs you attract a group of people that generally aren’t known for their rational thinking. Conflict can arise, crime can go up etc.

being illegal – is the answer – the violence comes from peoples greed. there is no other option for dealers or users to get ‘justice’ for a bbad deal. also dealers have ‘territory’ – competition is bad for business

There are two sides to this coin.

First, the reality. When you’ve got a market that is unregulated, extremely high value, and has a very desperate/addicted customer base, you’re going to have some violence. Broke, desperate addicts are going to try to rob other users or dealers. Dealers are going to attempt to scare off competition, or worse, assault the competition for their product or market share. Gangs are going to form for protection or better profits.

The there’s the political side. Talking up the violence around drugs has historically been a very good way to keep them illegal and keep the general public scared of drugs and their influences.

There are large financial stakes involved, easy access to valuable commodities, and a lack of legal protection for operating that govern how legitimate businesses interact.

Money leads to greed and people will do a lot to protect their access to money, particularly when it’s their only option out of poverty or bad situations. Drugs are expensive, so valuable. Sale of drugs means lots of cash, which is valuable. So it’s easy to get others’ valuable stuff through force. And because there are competing “businesses” and no legal protections, violence is the way to protect territory, scare away competition.

Let’s think about this by the inverse:

The only reason *legal* deals are *not* strongly associated with murders and shootings is because law and public scrutiny make it inconvenient to openly and routinely use these to intimidate business “partners” (who are really more like cattle than they are like ranchers.)

In some countries like China or Mexico, the appropriate laws are much looser either on paper or in enforcement, so even these “legal” deals are considerably more dangerous than in the US or UK. You know the Godfather and all those other romantic movies about “the mafia” who are just accepted as a regular part of society? Once upon a time the real US wasn’t too different from that, and there are still some places with cartels or other equivalent “powers that be”.

To some extent, contraband is contraband and the same smugglers and crime lords are interested in it as long as the cost warrants the risk. Controlled substances are incredibly easy to conceal and move compared to stolen paintings or illegal firearms, and they can be ludicrously expensive, so they’re a chief temptation for the kind of people who, as the saying goes, “would sell their own mother for a nickel”.

1) A drug dealer’s business is all cash. He doesn’t take credit cards, debit cards, or checks. So he’s gonna have a lot of cash on him, meaning he’s a profitable target to rob.

2) The underground economy has no police or laws. If someone steals from you, defrauds you, cheats you, or defaults on a loan, you have no recourse. You can’t go to the police and complain “some guy stole all my cocaine!” And you can’t sue someone in court for not holding up their end of a business deal. So all your protection has to come from the violence you yourself can muster (or the violence of your gang or mafia). You and your gun are all you have to protect yourself and protect your drug business.

3) In this violent, unstable environment, business deals are not negotiated between equals. Whoever has the backing of more violence (the more powerful gang, for example) gets to set the terms, no matter how unfair, and the weaker party usually just has to take it or get out of the business. If the weaker party *won’t* take it, then their only way of standing up for themselves is through violence.

4) Criminal underworlds often have complex rules about territory, tribute/protection money, and respect/deference that must be paid to certain powerful people. All of these as well are enforced by violence. Someone who sells in another’s territory, refuses to pay protection money, or disrespects the authority of a high-ranking gang leader, will be punished with violence.