In 1991, the government of Somali fell like the Statue of Liberty in a dystopian sci-fi action movie. In its place came a 15 year nothing sandwich. During that time, Somalia existed not as a recognized state but as a land populated by a bunch of tribes, sort of like an infinitely less awesome Road Warrior.
To help the situation, European and Asian companies gallantly decided to start dumping their toxic waste in Somali waters. Piggybacking the poison dumpers came illegal commercial fishermen, who went bonkers helping themselves to delicious Somali fish to the tune of about $300-million worth per year. What could a nation in ruins possibly do to defend itself?
This guy looks like he has some ideas.
In the absence of a coast guard, raggedy Somali pirates stepped in to protect their waters. And it turns out that the buccaneers are getting the job done--Kenyan fishermen are reporting massive increases in their catches now that the commercial trawlers are too fucking scared to approach the East African coast.
Not only that, but these pirates are spreading the booty love around with the coastal communities that support them. Reinvigorated by pirate money, villages are now able to afford schools and generators so their children can get both an education and lights.
"And a pair of blue pants for every child!"
But before you get the wrong idea...
So that was the good news. The bad news is that these guys are pirates, which means they steal things and kidnap and murder people, and spend a great deal of their resources funding Somalia's other bad guys, the militia warlords.
Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have been killed by armed militias over the last 20 years, while millions more have been exiled. They intercept supplies intended for starving children and, in an ironic twist, were the ones who negotiated the shady toxic dumping shenanigans that begat the pirates in the first place. It's like hiring the man who killed your brother to murder the man who killed your father, and then inviting him to hang out in your treehouse afterward.
The world was undoubtedly a better place after the 1993 death of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Envigado, Colombia, however, was not. The world's richest drug kingpin did some truly incredible things for his community. Escobar paved roads, provided clean water and sewer systems, and built new airports and schools. He funded churches and sports arenas, gave everybody a $40 personal budget for medical expenses.
He even constructed a free zoo for the masses, because even poor people need to see some monkeys once in a while. If that wasn't enough, under the banner of his pet project "Medellin Without Slums," Escobar built over 400 houses for people who previously lived, literally, on piles of garbage.
Also, he sold cocaine.
The guy was beloved for his efforts, which is how Escobar won an alternate seat in the Colombian House of Representatives in 1982. That's right--a world famous drug dealer was given a seat in the House of Representatives.
But before you get the wrong idea...
As good as Escobar was at the charitable part of philanthromurderism, he was better at the murdering part. His rise to power hinged on how he dealt with authorities by offering them silver or lead. Silver as in money, lead as in bullets. The lead offer was also extended to family members.
"Yeah, on second thought, we'll take the money."
Over 600 police officers were murdered under Escobar's watch. And they weren't just shot by ordinary drug thugs, either, no sir. Escobar recruited young boys to do it for him, and paid them nicely for every cop they killed.
He was also the first guy to order the assassination of a Colombian government official, a trend we're sure every Central and South American politician would give his firstborn hovercraft to go back in time to reverse. When Escobar was finally arrested for his heinous douchebaggery, he had a mansion-esque prison built for himself, from which he eventually escaped to do some more murder.
So, yeah, on the whole the world probably would have been better off without him.
"Kick him! Kick him to make sure!"
Kristi Harrison is both murderous and humanitarian at Here-in-Idaho.com.
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