At first glance, the images look as if they were ripped from the bedroom wall of an angst-ridden teenager of another decade, when bands like Megadeth and Nuclear Assault masterfully employed the use of post-apocalyptic illustrations to compliment their recordings. After all, who else but these outliers would have the guts to brand themselves with depictions of death, destruction and dope?
You might be surprised to learn that the hammerheads of the Drug War, more often referred to as the Drug Enforcement Administration, maintain various divisions which they use to rid the streets of civil society from the plague of illegal drugs. A recent article in The Washington Post reveals that the uniforms worn by these soldiers of destruction are decorated with morbid embroidery as a means for boosting the morale of its combatants.
Perhaps the most twisted icon of the War on Drugs is one designed for the battle fatigues of the Dangerous Drugs Intelligence Unit, a department that fights against drug smuggling rings operated by the cartels. This colorful design shows a skeleton wearing a tuxedo, a top hat, and sunglasses, juicing a syringe into the air with its left hand. It is just one of many emblems associated with DEA missions.
Although some of these patches are no longer in use, there have been potentially thousands of them manufactured throughout the years, according to the Post. And if you ever thought, for a second, that the DEA was not filled with a bunch of trigger happy, cut throats ready to unleash the wrath of Satan against the drug culture, these artistic representations should be enough evidence that blood, guts and brainwashed sarcasm supersedes any level civility in the field. Yet, the DEA claims that “death” is represented on their patches only because drugs are dangerous and associated with violence.
The DEA began using patches in the 1970s because agents needed a way to tell the drug dealers apart from their colleagues. “In the ‘70s, everyone looked like drug dealers,” Raymond Sherrard, a former agent with the criminal division of the IRS, told the Post. He said everyone had long hair, mustaches and dressed as if they had just stepped out of Studio 54, so it became necessary to employ a method for separating the good guys from the bad.
While these badges may have originated as a means for ensuring that agents did not shoot the wrong person, they eventually transitioned into arrogant symbols for the failed policies that have led to one of the largest atrocities in American history.