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Dear Mr. Blakeslee.

I ‘ve just stopped reading your book, “Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town”. The story is shocking to me even as I’m going on my twentieth year as the spouse of a law enforcement officer. The Tom Coleman story did shock me and saddened me, not only for the unfortunate victims of Coleman’s moral failings, but also for those law enforcement officers who perform their job ethically and with a belief that they do make a difference in a difficult, controversial “drug war”. Such a thankless job, the law enforcement job.

What struck me about your book was this:

“High-profile agencies like the DEA get the headlines and inspire the gritty Hollywood dramas, but it is the thousands of Byrne grant-funded narcs in rural and suburban America who do the dirty work of the day-to-day drug war.” Blakeslee, Nate. (2005). Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town. New York: Public Affairs.

What the fu…?!

After reading the above quoted line on pages 211-212, I couldn’t continue to read your book because those words were so distracting. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else you had to say. I just kept thinking…”…..Bryne grant-funded narcs in rural and suburban America who do the dirty work in the day-to-day drug war.” Wow.

Uh, buddy, tell that to my children. Tell that to Kiki Camarena’s wife. Tell that to ANY agent’s spouse or family who has had to put their life on hold because their husband/father/wife/mother’s job took precedence over everything else.

Please, Mr. Blakeslee, could you explain to my children that when their father missed all those important family dates while he was out on the street doing his job, he was actually planning how he could take credit for something he wasn’t responsible for or that when they did not hear from their father when he was undercover, he was actually sitting on his ass. Could you explain that to them? Or, how about the time when their father was met at the door by a gun toting, low-level drug dealer whose gun was directed at their father’s stomach. Would you say their father was actually being a federal asshole in that situation and letting the local guys do all the day-to-day dirty work? I’m just asking.

I guess the biggest question I have for you Mr. Blakeslee is this, did you contact the DEA and request an interview with the Texas office before submitting your book to the publisher? Your book leaves me wondering if given the opportunity, would you have written about the day-to-day job of DEA agent if it didn’t fit in with your idea of a misguided, uncaring, we’ve-got-the-blinders-on-now Drug Enforcement Agency? Maybe I should give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you did contact the DEA but the muckity-mucks in the administration refused to play. Some people in the administration can be jackasses, that goes without saying. If that was the case maybe you should have disclosed that you tried to talk to the DEA but you were rebuffed. Then your words would have more credibility with those of us who actually LIVE the day-to-day life of the “drug war”, so to speak. Administrative jackasses, I can believe that scenario.

Perhaps you did disclose all that. I’ll never know because I can’t get past page 211-212. Such a shame.

Very truly yours,

Listening to: Hapa – Pride (In the Name of Love)


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