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  • Writer's pictureartahammer

Body Count

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

“The war on Drugs a travesty

The toll, our edict’s victims mount

What’s the price we really pay

As we increase the body count”

(On Sunday, March 23, 2014 my nephew Dustin was killed in a suspicious single vehicle accident. At the time and subsequent, the suggestion was that this was a drug related incident, possibly trafficking. This perception led to my composition of the lyric, which led to the creation of everything that lyrics lead to when I am motivated. As to the actual cause of and reasons for the crash, I am still in the dark.)

In 1970, Richard Nixon, neck deep in the war he set the stages for in the 1950s while he was Vice President, decided, with much assistance, that Vietnam wasn’t sufficient to America’s global policing demands. We needed more hostilities closer to home to assure that conflict money would be spread about more locally. While bombing Vietnamese people to death was profitable for most of our war industry scions, still too much of our hard invented money was going to prop up the South Vietnamese regime.

So he declared a War on Drugs.

Obviously in a nation as drugged up as we were and are, this necessarily becomes a war of epic proportions. But Nixon wasn’t a war monger (he was); he only declared war on some drugs. And by some drugs, we of course realize that the focus of this war would actually be upon some drug users. Usually poor ones of high melanin content.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA’s Scientific Intelligence Division ran a program called MK ULTRA. The Supreme Court characterized their program as, "the research and development of chemical, biological, and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior." MK ULTRA was one of their earliest and most successful programs of social engineering – they got us hooked on drugs. All kinds of drugs.

LSD had been synthesized in the late 1930s by Albert Hoffman at Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland and it had been used in psychotherapy with considerable efficacy (over 40,000 applications before it was outlawed in 1970). It and other entheogens (originally termed the pejorative hallucinogen or psychedelic) offered not only therapeutic value but, in the desires of our social engineers, the potential for mass mind control.

So, while therapists were helping people using these demonized substances, the CIA was testing them for military applications. Among other things they sought to create were assassins who would put themselves at horrible risk to kill someone they cared little or nothing about. Men who would walk right up to a public persona, pull out a pistol, shoot them until the bullets ran out, then either surrender or be killed. Guys like Sirhan Sirhan, David Hinckley or Mark David Chapman, all who coincidentally killed (or wounded) people the CIA wanted neutralized.


In the late 1950s and all through the 1960s, drunk America started getting high. All manner of dangerous and not so dangerous drugs appeared not only on the streets, but in the zeitgeist. We were silly with them, literally. The staid and conservative media started allowing for and advancing counter culture messages. While ostensibly reviled, the drug culture was in fact being promoted to America.

The government wanted to isolate those they could deem as extremists, enemies of the state. Those that illegal drugs appealed to were that targeted demographic. Fostering the allure, the demonization concurrently was used to arouse disgust in normal God-fearing drunks who would posit as programmed that, “They should all be locked up, deported to China or Russia to hang with their comrades, or taken out and shot.”

Darrel Gates, Los Angeles police chief in the 1980s, said that about pot smokers: “They should be taken out and shot.” Then his son got busted for smoking pot. Don’t know what ever happened to him. Imagine for a sentence or two: the police chief of one of the biggest cities in the world expresses that over 20 million of his fellow citizens should be murdered by the government for smoking cannabis, a drug with no definable body count.

That’s some programming.

After drugging us up good and proper through the 60s, the 70s was when the Police State announced its real objective: create the American Gulag – the Prison Industrial Complex. Police would have unlimited support in their efforts to eradicate the scourge befalling our nation at the hands of our nation. In this was the recreation of the UnCivil War: the War Between the States of Mind. We would battle the enemy within our walls and brains. In this war our darker hued brethren were again front and center, just as they were when they were the original targets of the cannabis prohibition of 1937. The War on Druggies gave the state a legitimate justification for their re-enslavement – they're just a bunch of drug crazed criminals. Lock ‘em up!

As 40% of our prison population yet only 14% of the civilian population, America has a use for its black populace – keeping law enforcement busy, earning those pensions. As to the other target of the original cannabis laws, the marijuana smoking Mexican, their bodies are stacking up nicely (for the system) in Mexico while they provide us food and lawn care within our mighty porous borders.

The cost of this war is our freedom along with hundreds of thousands of lives laid ruin. Our police have become a military force, assaulting, invading, killing people for using unsanctioned substances within the privacy of their own homes and minds. Our nation has become just another of our expanding and unyielding battlefields as we wage war on everything except the source of our problems – war.

No nation that is truly free kills its citizens because they use inebriants.

Body Count is this observation through the lens of personal tragedy. The lyric characterizes particulars of the crash framed within the social collapse wrought by this escalating madness. Everyone killed because of this war is not the victim of drugs but the victim of law. Everyone imprisoned or ruined financially owing to this war on us is not felled by drug but by man. The personal and social cost is incalculable. Profits, through the roof.

Musically I went in with Heavy Metal intent and after wrassling with it a while I realized that no matter how I attempted to adapt it to my will, as with all my art, it had a will all its own and had willed itself to be Acid Rock. Sometimes my songs know better than I what they need to be. Good then that we are able to work together for harmonious resolution.

I felt that as it wouldn’t let itself be metal that I could at least create subtext to some of my themes. Leads are followed by even more complex leads as the machine struggles to rout out the corruption within. The first few play to the lyric, then I affect a little Irish (cops) as the main lead goes chasing its tale all over the place ending right back where it started. At the end, the primary leads are pursued again but a secondary lead, improvised as the means to a new approach, gets caught in the chase as they conclude by tangling themselves in their own cleverness, again ending right back where they began.

At one point I use a little of the Perry Mason theme to represent the courting aspect of the relationship and at the end, after all attempts to preserve the patient nation fail, it collapses with a resounding ‘thunk!’ just as we shall if cooler heads don’t prevail.

As it is a fine piece of music for a fine lyric it certainly deserves some fine artwork to represent it. Body Count the artwork is a brutal, unflinching monster. I created a triptych incorporating the prime offenders of liberty, then layered it in such a manner that all kinds of social comments can be found for the astute observer. To drive the hard reality of this crime against humanity I incorporate actual victims of the Drug War in all their horrid gore. I am particularly pleased with the accuracy of my altered Supreme’s sloganeering.

Body Count is a shot back in a War that has consumed our lives for over 40 years. It came with some personal cost and is offered as an intellectual protest to our escalating madness.


Arturo Hammer


Body Count

Speed kills

Stasis enervates

Heed shills

Bias validates

Feed pills

Appetite it sates

Breed ills

Tragedy awaits

Greed chills

Devalue inflates

Bleed fills

Blood lust propagates

Seed spills

System masturbates

Need stills

The News never waits

The War on Drugs a travesty

The toll, our edict’s victims mount

What’s the price we really pay

As we increase the body count

Drunks set the standard

The standard is low

Maintaining the booze

And capital flow


The tragic tableau

Establish the means

To eternally owe

The nascent pig state

Internal eyes foe

Immoral outrage

All part of the show

Culture of reason

Apart it will blow

Society sunk

In the undertow

The War on Drugs a tragedy

Another endless struggle mount

War in perpetuity

And we increase the body count







A tradition

Our submission




Crime commission


More suspicion

No contrition

Bad condition





Truth omission

Lie transmission

End ignition


The War on Drugs a travesty

The toll, our edict’s victims mount

What’s the price we really pay

As we increase the body count

The War on Drugs a tragedy

Another endless struggle mount

War in perpetuity

And we increase the body count

© 2014

For Dustin

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