If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal what humanity is left in the law of this country

It's a real battle, every man for himself

A boy was walking in the forest in Madhya Pradesh India this month when he found nine dead Rhesus monkeys. What the fuck he said in Hindi I’m guessing and then the authorities came and they found another six dead monkeys and they were like what the fuck also because it was more dead monkeys than one might typically expect to encounter on a given day.

The region has been undergoing an extraordinary heat wave reaching 45°C recently which is 115°F and so the monkeys died of heatstroke which is another way of saying multi-organ failure following hyper-thermia. There is a river nearby but it had dried up in many parts due to the heat a forest officer named P.N. Mishra told local news outlets. There are numerous groups of monkeys that would normally drink from the river without any problems but in this case a group of larger and stronger ones may have been guarding it for themselves he said.

“Certain groups of monkeys which are large in number and dominate that particular part may have scared away the smaller group of monkeys from the water bodies,” he said.

“It is shocking that this herbivorous species has developed the tendency of dominating a water source,” he said. “This is rare and strange as herbivores don't indulge in such conflicts,” he said.

When I read that this morning I was like oh man now that’s a metaphor I gotta open with that in my famous newsletter Hell World but it’s not a metaphor is it it’s just a direct 1:1 parallel to what’s already happening among humans. It may not be common for herbivores to engage in conflict like that over resources but it comes very naturally to us.

Here are some headlines I just read on NDTV the Indian news outlet: Water Crisis Deepens, Residents Lock Containers In This Rajasthan Village; Amid Acute Water Crisis, Schools In Shimla Shut For 5 Days; In Shimla, Water Being Distributed Under Police Protection As Crisis Looms.

Here’s another story I just read

When the water truck finally chugged into the Delhi slum, there was a stampede. It is a scene repeated daily across the country as temperatures rise and the vital resource gets ever scarcer.

Young men clambered onto the roof and jammed a tangle of multicoloured hosepipes inside, passing the other ends to friends waiting with containers in the shouting crowd below.

All 10,000 litres were gone in minutes, lugged away in jerry cans and buckets dangling on bike handlebars. As the lorry left, people ran after it, desperate for any last drops.

”It's a real battle, every man for himself,” Raj Kumari, one of dozens of people in the Sanjay Camp slum who wait hours for this brutal daily ritual, told AFP.

”There are fights and arguments, even injuries,” the young woman said. “We have to get (our containers) filled even if someone gets crushed or loses an arm or leg.”

The forest guy who looked at the dead monkeys said that the ones who died were found hiding inside their cave. They were too scared of what the stronger ones might do to them so they just hid until they died anyway.

Everyone likes to think that when the water goes away they’re going to turn into Mad Max (but not anti-semitic) but in reality we’re probably just going to sit there and die and that’s the best case scenario I sometimes think when I think about the end of the world. It would be better to die quick and not have it be drawn out I think sometimes. Most deaths are real slow and drawn out I guess but you know what I mean.

I wrote this a couple years ago and it was a metaphor about the future of journalism but I also think it’s true for this particular thought experiment:

There’s a trope in dystopian fiction and apocalyptic films where it’s almost worse to have survived for just a little longer than everyone else wiped out in the original disaster. Better to be consumed in the nuclear blast than to live rummaging among the ruins. Those of us still left in the business are the poor survivors. We’ve peered into the cannibals’ cellar.

What’s worse is that we are still pretending it didn’t happen. We’re fighting over pools of shit-water that have settled into the craters and bartering with dog meat under the mistaken impression we’re carrying the fire.

And then at the bottom of that piece it said Luke O’Neil is a writer-at-large for Esquire and after it came out I had to take a call from my bosses saying what the fuck was that you gotta let us know when you say some true shit about the industry we work in because it makes us look bad and then I didn’t work for Esquire for too much longer after that.

There’s a tricky balance I need to strike in order to write a good Hell World and it seems like it requires a reasonable level of hangover to get into the correct headspace but it can’t go over a certain line at which point it becomes impossible to think and write with any clarity and I’m not sure I’m in that sweet spot this morning due to being just regular ass sober. We watched the Bruins win last night and we watched Big Little Lies the show about pretty rich ladies jogging and covering up murder and I was so tired all day I didn’t want to drink so I didn’t which is what I’m told normal people do almost every single day of their lives. The only thing I did yesterday aside from go for a swim in so much water was get a tattoo of the Hell World bunny devouring a heart and maybe all the bleeding took something out of me I don’t know it wasn’t all that much bleeding to be honest.

One thing about Big Little Lies is that the music is pretty great all around although a lot of the songs have gotten overplayed since it came out and last night they seemed to be trying to jam as many in as possible like the success of the soundtrack was on the line. One song they used for about five seconds was this one and it’s so great and man this is just about as perfect a band as it gets right here I think we can all agree.

As she walks in the room Scented and tall Hesitating once more And as I take on myself And the bitterness I felt I realize that love flows Wild, white horses They will take me away And the tenderness I feel Will send the dark underneath Will I follow? Through the glory of life I will scatter on the floor Disappointed and sore And in my thoughts I have bled For the riddles I've been fed Another lie moves over.

That’s some shit right there but in this case they used it to introduce the scene where the rich teen yells at her mom about how she doesn’t want to go to college she wants to help homeless people and then her mom who is Reese Witherspoon goes I don’t give a fuck about homeless people then realizes how that sounds and is like you know what I mean.

“This is the song of my divorce, both a sad and happy moment frozen in this song. I am still ambivalent about that time,” one person in the comments on the Portishead video wrote. “Me too,” someone replied. “It makes me happy, but nostalgic. Miss that nights with him, we listened this song at his house. I'm happy because it happened and ended so quickly. Probably i'll never forget that.”

“i don't know you, I know this song. I want you to know, I'm some how there for you dude,” added a third in response and then someone else wrote this:

“Pretty sure this song is about over coming depression, or being at that vulnerable state where your depression could either break or relapse. A point where you gain enough clarity to look inward at self and out ward at world at what has made you bitter, taking inventory, and then either overcoming or sinking again. Beautiful song.”

On Saturday we went to Fenway Park the century old building they keep around to sell chicken fingers in due to some of Michelle’s parents’ got her tickets for a teacher appreciation thing and that was nice of them. Some nice kids with their whole lives ahead of them who don’t know anything about divorce and death and injury asked us to take their photo on account of they were excited to be at the game and then an old man next to me yelled at another boy to sit down.

There’s one really good way to get me to not give a shit about a Boston sports team in the moment and that is to sit me in the stands at the game next to the translucent cave people from The Descent who make up the Boston fanbase stuffing their faces with pizza with one fist and saluting the brave troops with the other just back and forth pizza troops over and over. Luckily we went after they’d already sung the National Anthem so we didn’t have to deal with that.

Before that we went to a bar where they sold these little Ritz cracker snacks for two dollars each with like a dead skin off the bottom of your foot sized sliver of meat and a crumb of blue cheese you might drop off your plate and not notice in other circumstances so you tell me who the real fucking asshole of consumer culture is.

It was a nice night though and the weather was beautiful and I really don’t have standing to complain about anything in my life even the parts that are awful. I’m still going to but you know what I’m saying.

That other thing in the background is all butter and I don’t have a good explanation for that.

The next day someone went and shot Big Papi in the Dominican Republic which is fucked up and then I saw the famous sports blog for guys and dudes posted a video of someone who was maybe the shooter getting his head kicked in by a mob and everyone was sharing it like hell yeah don’t mess with Boston and that made me feel real sick to my stomach for a lot of reasons I’m not sure I can articulate. Chuck D of all people shared it and was like this is how it used to be done but I don’t know if I had to guess I would say Chuck D probably doesn’t actually want a return to vigilante justice.

Speaking of Papi and Esquire I interviewed him about his impending retirement in his final season a couple years ago and about his foundation the David Ortiz Children’s Fund that helps children in the DR and in Boston receive life saving heart surgeries and part of it went like this:

ESQ: Tell me about Big Papi's Retirement Party.

David Ortiz: People are always asking me what I would like for a retirement gift, and it came to my head, What's better than the gift of people giving to my foundation, donating money? There are a lot of kids waiting for us to get them taken care of. I've been very blessed in life, and helping is where the happiness comes from. I see kids here, and in the Dominican Republic, walking around and having a regular life now because they had surgery. I'm a guy who doesn't really need much from anybody, but I want to try every day to make sure those kids are safe and get their surgery done.

The foundation is for children's heart surgery?

Yeah, here in New England and the Dominican Republic, together with Mass General. Every year more than 2,000 kids are born with this situation. Some of them need two, three surgeries because as you grow, your heart grows. The idea came in 2005 when I was visiting a hospital in the Dominican Republic. 2007 was when I first committed myself to provide health care for children back home, and by 2009 I formed my partnership with Mass General for kids in New England who also need care. It's a wonderful thing, man. If there's one thing I can be proud of, it's what we do with my foundation.

Anyway I hope he doesn’t die and I also hope nobody else dies.

Someone wrote to me on Twitter today saying it was about time for another free Hell World and said I come on buddy you’ve just missed the last couple of paid ones like this one from Friday about the horrors of watching both of your parents succumb to dementia at the same time. It was a really funny one and a delight to read. Another paid-only one was this one where I talked about the conviction of a group of people who were found guilty of the crime of leaving humanitarian aid for migrants along the Arizona border. They were volunteers for a group called No More Deaths and they got in trouble for despoiling the sanctity of our pristine nature by leaving water and food so people wouldn’t die.

“If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?” asked Catherine Gaffney of No More Deaths after the verdict.

I wrote back then:

Five other people affiliated with the group will go on trial in the next couple of months for similar crimes because there comes a point in the swift descent into fascism where it’s no longer satisfactory for the state to merely injure an undesirable class of people eventually they have to start making an example of the ones who are trying to help them lest the rest of us go and get any wild ideas about what sort of humanity we have left.

Anyway that was a good one although I don’t remember what level of hangover I had that day probably a reasonably decent one.

Since then the original group I mentioned have entered a plea in which the government agreed to drop criminal charges against them in exchange for $280 each which is very generous of the government you have to admit. Not everyone is out of trouble just yet however and one of those people is activist and humanitarian Scott Warren who testified on his own behalf last week at his trial. Warren is facing up to twenty years for “two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants and one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor them.” He denies he was conspiring to help them cross the border or hide from authorities but they want to make an example of him all the same because fuck him and fuck you and especially fuck the migrants.

Warren explained his story in part here:

After a dangerous journey across Mexico and a difficult crossing through the Arizona desert, someone told Jose and Kristian that they might find water and food at a place in Ajo called the Barn. The Barn is a gathering place for humanitarian volunteers like me, and there the two young men were able to eat, rest and get medical attention. As the two were preparing to leave, the Border Patrol arrested them. Agents also handcuffed and arrested me, for — in the agency’s words — having provided the two migrants with “food, water, clean clothes and beds.”

Jose and Kristian were detained for several weeks, deposed by the government as material witnesses in its case against me and then deported back to the countries from which they had fled for their lives. This week, the government will try me for human smuggling. If convicted, I may be imprisoned for up to 20 years.

In the Sonoran Desert, the temperature can reach 120 degrees during the day and plummet at night. Water is scarce. Tighter border policies have forced migrants into harsher and more remote territory, and many who attempt to traverse this landscape don’t survive. Along what’s become known as the Ajo corridor, dozens of bodies are found each year; many more are assumed to be undiscovered.

Local residents and volunteers organize hikes into this desert to offer humanitarian aid. We haul jugs of water and buckets filled with canned food, socks, electrolytes and basic first-aid supplies to a few sites along the mountain and canyon paths. Other times, we get a report that someone has gone missing, and our mission becomes search and rescue — or, more often, to recover the bodies and bones of those who have died.

People like him used to have an understanding with Border Patrol he wrote. “Glad you’re out here today,” he remembers an agent telling him one time. “People really need water.”

That’s not the case anymore. You’re more likely to see agents doing things like kicking over or emptying bottles of water so no one can have them.

“In Ajo, my community has provided food and water to those traveling through the desert for decades — for generations,” Warren explained. “Whatever happens with my trial, the next day, someone will walk in from the desert and knock on someone’s door, and the person who answers will respond to the needs of that traveler. If they are thirsty, we will offer them water; we will not ask for documents beforehand. The government should not make that a crime.”

They are doing that though and look at how proud of himself this guy is.

Here read this from a piece I am still shocked to see ran in the New York Times opinion pages last week since that’s usually the space where they complain about how college kids are being too rude to a Nazi. “Immigration quotas should be based on how much the host country has ruined other countries,” it reads.

Today, a quarter of a billion people are migrants. They are moving because the rich countries have stolen the future of the poor countries. Whether it is Iraqis and Syrians fleeing the effects of illegal American wars, or Africans seeking to work for their former European colonial masters, or Guatemalans and Hondurans trying to get into the country that peddles them guns and buys their drugs: They are coming here because we were there.

Before you ask them to respect our borders, ask yourself: Has the West ever respected anyone’s borders?

A vast majority of migrants move from a poor to a less poor country, not a rich one. Immigration quotas should be based on how much the host country has ruined other countries. Britain should have quotas for Indians and Nigerians; France for Malians and Tunisians; Belgium for very large numbers of Congolese.

And when they come, they should be allowed to bring their families and stay — unlike the “guest workers” who were enticed to build up the postwar labor force of the colonizers and then asked to leave when their masters were done exploiting them.

The Dominican Republic, where the United States propped up the dictator Rafael Trujillo for three decades, should be high on the American preference list. So should Iraq, upon which we imposed a war that resulted in 600,000 deaths. Justice now demands that we let in 600,000 Iraqis: for each death we caused there, someone should get a chance at a new life here.

Here’s roughly what happens when you die from the heat based on me reading about it for about ten minutes just now and therefore becoming an expert. At first you begin to get tired from heat exhaustion which leads to excessive sweating and rapid breathing and a weak pulse. Your nervous system kicks into high gear and it tries to divert blood from your internal organs to your skin but if it’s too hot the sweat won’t be able to evaporate on your skin which is how we’re supposed to cool ourselves down. Once heat stroke begins your skin becomes hot and then dry to the touch as the blood vessels dilate. You might become dizzy or nauseous at this point leading to headaches and vomiting as your blood pressure continues to drop. Eventually you will become confused or angry almost as if you are drunk. Your skin might begin to turn blue. At some point a protein released from damaged skeletal muscles may lead to kidney failure. In any case if it gets bad enough you’ll progress through seizures then organ failure then a coma then death.

There are a lot of ways I don’t want to die but that is pretty far up on the list and another thing I don’t want is to cause anyone else to die like that by depriving them of water that might save them. I suppose it’s one thing if we’re all fighting for our own lives which we very well may get to find out about some day in the near future but what’s it like to cause someone else to die that way for nothing? To come across a bottle of water left in the desert meant to prevent just such a thing and to kick it over onto the ground with a shit-eating cop grin on your face feeling happy about a job well done protecting America from nothing. An animal doesn’t know any better it’s just trying to survive because it needs the water but what’s lower than an animal?