January 4, 2020

Torture 101 at DEA University

prerequisite: Subverting the U.S. Constitution

professor teaching Torture 101 at DEA University PROFESSOR: Welcome to Torture 101 here at DEA University. I'm Professor Himmler. Check your schedules, people. "Subverting the US Constitution" is across the hall with Professor Goebbels.

There's no use in taking the roll while so many DEA recruits are wandering around the hallways like so many drug-addled zombies, so I'll just start lecturing and see what happens.

Earth to the students loitering at the door: this is Torture 101. Either shit or get off the pot.

Now then, what comes to mind when I say the word "torture"?

WILLIAM: A Justin Bieber concert.



WILLIAM: I beg your pardon

PROFESSOR: Get out of my class. You disgust me.


PROFESSOR: This is a teaching moment, class: There is no room in the DEA for humor.


PROFESSOR: No, wait, I lie. It's okay to let your hair down and laugh at the folks whose rights you have trampled...

But we must reserve that talk for the break room, where we can gloat in peace over the lives that we have ruined.

Ach! More zombies loitering at the door. I can see that we're going to get nothing accomplished today.

Well, at least I can assign tonight's homework: I want you folks to go home and watch "Running with the Devil" starring Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne and Natalie Reyes.

Notice that the DEA agent (played by Natalie) takes her drug suspect to a nondescript storage hangar and suspends him from a meat hook.

MIKEY: Isn't that illegal, sir?

PROFESSOR: Well, if you had taken Dr. Goebbel's excellent course on subverting the U.S. Constitution - which, by the way, is technically a prerequisite for this course on torture, young man - you would know that the DEA scoffs at the outdated precepts of the Constitution and wastes no opportunity to snicker at its impotent allusions to suspect rights.

Let's show Mikey some examples. Suzie, you're interviewing me and I demand to see a lawyer. How do you answer in such a way as to heap scorn upon my appeal to Constitutional protections?

SUZIE: That's easy, Professor. I just say, as incredulously as possible of course: "Lawyer? Here's your lawyer," and with that, I slap your forehead with the back of my gun, whereupon you fall bleeding to the floor and I kick you in your all-too-insolent ribs!

PROFESSOR: She shoots, she scores! Excellent, Suzie. You were really paying attention in Dr. Goebbels' knowledge-fest, aka "Subverting the US Constitution: How the DEA can get away with literally anything."

Still, Mikey does have a point, in spite of his seeming cluelessness about DEA values. You see, technically speaking, it remains wrong to torture suspects in any way.


I know, it's a real drag. But the good news is, the DEA is such a big and authoritative organization that we can get away with almost any anti-American behavior, provided that we all keep our stories straight and have each other's backs when we... how shall I put this... "bend" the law a little. Wink, wink, wink!

Suzie, you're good at this stuff. What would you say if I'm a reporter and I ask you: "Did you ever violate a drug suspect's rights?"

SUZIE: I'd say, "We read him all his rights, sir," forgetting, of course, to point out that the exposition in question took place while the drug suspect was suspended from the ceiling by a meat hook!

PROFESSOR: Ha! Now that really IS funny. I bet the suspect was even wearing a Speedo, which you had thoughtfully supplied him for the purpose.

SUZIE: You know it, sir! Anything to humiliate the beggar who presumes to sell naturally occurring plant substances to a fellow human being.

PROFESSOR: Mind you, it's the kind of thing that we should only laugh about around the water cooler, though... for legal reasons, you understand.

SUZIE: Word.

PROFESSOR: Now, of course, when you're in the field, you may have no access to a meat hook - but the point of the movie still holds: that the good DEA agent will make a suspect talk, Constitution or no Constitution.

NANCY: But doesn't Natalie Reyes end up actually murdering the drug king pin at the end of the movie?


PROFESSOR: Brilliant, Nancy. You just ruined the movie for everybody in the class.


But she makes a fair point. Torture may indeed always work, but there are times when torture is just not enough.

BOBBY: When is that, Professor?

PROFESSOR: Well, suppose that an American has been selling naturally occurring plants to his fellow Americans for decades and decades, in brazen defiance of the American Sharia against the use of Mother Nature's pharmacy.

BOBBY: Oh, that's horrible.

PROFESSOR: I know, right? And when a citizen thus makes a mockery of our belief in the evilness of naturally occurring substances, there's sometimes nothing left for us to do but to murder him.


BOBBY: Serves him right.

PROFESSOR: Still, we must remember that murder, technically speaking, is still not condoned by that pesky Constitution of ours.


That's why it's important that the DEA come together as a group and deny that it's doing anything wrong, while meanwhile trashing the hell out of civil liberties in private, in ways that conduce to plausible deniability.

*bell rings*

Speaking of plausible deniability: I did not say anything in this course that encouraged illegal behavior, did I, class?


DID I, Class?

CLASS: NO, Professor Himmler, you did not!

PROFESSOR: Good for you, class. Now you're catching on! Just be sure to refrain from snickering cynically about our anti-Constitutional predilections until you reach the break room down the hall! In public, the DEA must remain as American as apple pie.

SUZIE: Apple pie suspended by a meat hook, that is!

PROFESSOR: Stop it, Suzie! You're gonna make me laugh before I reach the break room!

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