Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Number 2047: Every good criminal enterprise must start somewhere

 As long as heroin has been illegal there have been smugglers bringing it across borders. The tactics used by the gang in “‘H is for Heroin” seem crude by today’s standards, but the smugglers have gotten much better over the decades since this “Drug Racket Exposed!” — as the cover banner calls it — in Down With Crime #3, in 1952. The good guys are still using undercover cops to infiltrate the gangs. The gangs have gotten very sophisticated, and much more deadly.

The story was drawn by Mike Sekowsky. The Grand Comics Database doesn’t guess at an inker or a writer.

The publisher was Fawcett, a company which also published a full line of magazines and paperback books, besides comic books. Crime has always been big business, whether writing about it, showing it in popular media, including novels, television and the movies, or being a criminal (not advised).


Daniel [] said...

Various people have noted that criminalizing heroin and other drugs restricts supply (causing prices to be much higher than otherwise) and greatly reduces quality control (so that much more dangerous substances are substituted).

Far fewer people consider that the reason that the pharmaceutical industry doesn't develop intoxicants and hallucinogens with less in the way of other undesirable effects is that these firms couldn't then legally sell those drugs. Alcoholics suffer organ damage, people develop addictions, and so forth because an insufficiently challenged crypto-mortality is driving our laws.

Our state ostensibly saves people from drugs by making drug-use far more personally destructive than it otherwise would be. (Perhaps the extreme of this approach is the government-mandated poisoning of alcohol, which killed tens of thousands of people during Prohibition.)

Don't get me wrong. I don't use present intoxicants or hallucinogens; I won't even ingest cough medication with alcohol in it; I've never smoked or snorted anything. I wouldn't use safer drugs if they were developed. But I'm not entitled to make those choices for other adults, nor do people acquire such entitlements by grouping together into majorities.

I suppose that the Federales might have agreed to a staged escape by Haines/Candler. Otherwise, what would follow as the court case proceeded would have been a diplomatic crisis.

Arizona was mostly empty with lots of places that the package could literally have been buried, making the use of a locker something that should have invited questions.

Without more motivation, it is really stretching things to have Savine stick his neck out for just one package, after he had adopted a policy that recognized that packages would be forfeit to circumstances, and that placed a premium on distancing himself from their contents. And, unless Savine presumed that he were a mystery to the authorities (which presumption would be foolish given that the authorities had seemed unexpectedly to have other important information), he should have seen himself and not just Gee-Gee as a give-away.

Most of the visuals are well laid-out for delivering the story, though the final rendering is crude.

The cover image seems to show a person in uniform firing at a perpetrator who is neither attacking nor actually in flight. Dramatic, but the legality is doubtful. Was there a story of a wicked doorman in this issue?

Pappy said...

Daniel, glad you brought up the poisoning that government officials did to liquor during Prohibition, killing thousands. No government officials were ever held to account for what is really mass murder.

The rich people of the time could afford the good stuff, so it was the poor who suffered. We humans, born hypocrites that we are, like to punish others for failings we don't recognize in ourselves. If people die we say, "they brought it on themselves."

Jeez, I think I'd know if I read a wicked doorman story...but I don't think so. Spare me from having to backtrack, and read the issue for yourself at the Digital Comics Museum. No book report is necessary!

Darci said...

The cover doesn't match any story in the book. There's a doorman in "The Signs of Doom" but all he does is notice the lights are on in an apartment while the tenants aren't home.