tv Book TV CSPAN November 27, 2009 4:00pm-5:00pm EST
and in many -- and not to, i mean, america's not free of any responsibility in pakistan's lack of development by supporting military dictatorships and what not. so the conversations with the elite were too easily predictable, if you will. and i think that when i first arrived in pakistan, a woman o said to me, a very conspiracy-hawking anti-american woman -- >> host: your sponsor, by the way. >> guest: the irony of that, of course. she said, there's no way that you, you know, there's no way that you is going to understand pakistan because you don't speak the language, you don't dress locally, you don't ever leave islamabad. a year later when i would rather speak with the tea boys at my office than the other fellows who were working at this institute, and she said, she came up to me and said there's no way you can be a journalist. you speak urdu, you dress locally, so you must be doing
something else. >> host: wherever there's plumbing the cia does get blamed. [laughter] i think it essentially was right, nick. sometimes word fails us, vocabulary doesn't reach. but you could call this book a work of journalism, but it's much better than that. there's too much serious artistry and maturity and objectivity. and really i keep coming back to that, the amazing objectivity of an american writer, a young american writer, let's face it, was able to achieve in a portrait of this incredibly complex society. so i do have to warn you of one thing, i think you may be in real physical danger. not from the pakistani intelligence agency or anyone else, but from your peers who didn't go to pakistan or anywhere else, who stayed home on a campus and are trying to write the great american novel. this may not -- it's not a novel, it's nonfiction, but it's a great piece of writing.
nicholas schmidle. the book is "to live or perish forever," and as a fellow writer, i am just plain jealous. congratulations, nick. >> guest: thanks, ralph. >> nick reding examines how the crystal methamphetamine trade is encroaching on middle america. this event is about an hour. >> thank you for having me and thank you for all coming. and i'm glad there are people from oelwein here. i'm sure there'll be plenty of questions afterward, and i certainly welcome them. i'm going to just read to you for a little while about, from the third chapter of the book which, in fact, is largely about a woman who lived in ottumwa,
iowa. and the name of this chapter is the inland empire. lori k. arnold is ottumwa, iowa's most famous daughter. ottumwa's most famous son is lori's brother, the comedian tom arnold who is perhaps better known as the ex-husband of rosanne barr. lori is 45 years old with shoulder-length light brown hair and a longish blunt nose like a skinning knife. with tom she shares a crocodile yang smile and the low center of gravity and powerful legs of a middle weight wrestler. since 2005 i have corresponded with lori who's in federal prison in greenville, illinois. one of seven step and half siblings, lori was born and raised in ottumwa in a family
that she describes as studiously normal and benign. despite this, lori dropped out of high school as a freshman and began living in an ottumwa rooming house where in the evenings there was a running poker game. the landlady was also a madam. in exchange for room and board, lori and her young cohorts could either agree to sleep with the men who played cards or deliver illegally-prescribed pills, an early form of pharmaceutical meth, to the landlady's clients. lori chose the latter. thus, her career along with her legend was born. lori kept herself housed by delivering and selling brown and clears, as pharmaceutical meth was called during the 1970s when it was prescribed by the millions as a weight loss aid and antidepression drug. the landlady got most of lori's
profits though and to make ends meet, lori still had to work six days a week at a local bar. by 15, lori was married. by 16, she was divorced and attending high school once again. by 17 she had dropped out for good. her peers, she told me, seemed to her like children. by 18, she was married to floyd stocktell who had come to ottumwa from des moines in order to retire at the ripe old able of 37 as the president of the grim reapers motorcycle gang. lori and floyd moved into a cabin along the des moines river outside of ottumwa where their only child, josh, was born. left alone to raise a son while floyd pursued his retirement hobbies of drinking, playing pool and selling cocaine, 19-year-old lori became suicideally depressed.
the bar, she now realized, had been her lifeline. in addition to the money she made, the people there were her people, the only family of which lori ever felt a true part. without the bikers and the factory workers with whom she had all but grown up, lori felt horribly lost and alone. her life had become an interminable slog. worse yet, floyd was an alcoholic, she now understood, and beat her whenever he drank. then one day floyd's brother stopped by the cabin. he, too, was a grim reaper, and he had brought with him some meth methamphetamine which had been illegally synthesized at a lab in southern california. this was 1984, and the reapers were just beginning to sell meth whenever they could get it from long beach. there, according to dea, former
hell's angels had gone into business with maverick pharmaceutical company chemists in order to produce salable quantities of highly-pure powdered meth. lori's brother-in-law cut her two lines on the table on a sunny, clear afternoon. of the experience lori, who was no stranger to narcotics, says simply that she had never felt so good in all of her life. the singularity of that feeling is what would soon connect ottumwa to a nascent california drug empire. in doing so, a major piece of the meth epidemic puzzle would fall into place. the first day lori got high, she went to the bar. she says she'd been given a little meth to sell because floyd's brother wanted to see what kind of a market ottumwa might prove to be. lori gave away half the meth
knowing intuitively that this would help her hook customers. the other half quickly sold out. and in the process, she made $50. what she found, though, was worth millions, for lori arnold knew almost immediately that dealing meth was what she'd been born to do. it was the answer not just to her prayers, but to ottumwa's which for three long years had been pummeled by the farm crisis into a barely-recognizable version of its former proud self. thanks to meth, she says, the workers worked harder, and they played harder too. and she became rich. within a month lori was selling so much long beach crank in ottumwa that she went around her brother-in-law and dealt directly with the middleman in des moines. a month after that she was buying quarter pounds of crank for $2500 and selling them for
10,000. unsatisfied with the profit margin, she began dealing directly with the supplier in long beach dispatching floyd to california once every ten days with instructions to return from the 3700-mile round trip with as much meth as he could fit in the trunk of the corvette that lori bought him. lori, meantime, stashed money in the wall of her cabin. only six months after she had met floyd's brother, the wall held $50,000. twice the median yearly income in ottumwa today. by the late 1980s, people like jeffrey william hayes and steve of oelwein were buying massive amounts of dope from lori and establishing their own meth franchises in iowa, illinois, missouri, and kansas by selling to the likes of roland jarvis who yet to start making his own
meth would take whatever he could get in order to work extra shifts at iowa ham. lori in turn was dealing directly with what she likes to call the mexican mafia, a somewhat loose group of traffickers who manufactured large amounts of that era's most powerful dope. made predominantly in long beach and orange county, california, in large clan detin laboratories, this stronger form of meth was more addictive, cheaper and easier to produce than any other form of the drug available at the time. as much, it increased lori's already burgeoning sales many fold. the so-called mexican mafia with whom lori dealt was built on the vision of two brothers, jesus and luis who had been born in mexico and lived in san diego.
for years, according to the dea, they had been nothing more than midling cocaine dealers until, that is, they perceived the convergence of two seemingly unrelated events. one was that aided by former pharmaceutical engineers, the brothers could access an enormous, completely legal and unmonitored supply of the necessary ingredients to make meth, every green and red process produce. the second insight was that they could move large kwanties of the drug throughout california and the west thanks to the increasing numbers of immigrants who picked fruit in the central valley, cleaned homes in arizona and built roads in idaho. further more, the brothers could access the midwest via the ballooning population of midwesterners who eat been chased off their farms all the
way to southern california. during the 19 80s, large numbers of people from the corn belt left in what sociologists call outmigration. within the space of just a few years, many iowa towns, o ottuma and oelwein included, lost from 10-25% of their residents many of whom headed for the booming labor markets of los angeles and san diego. family and social connections became business sessions as iowa yang and kansas san, da coa tan and nebraska can laborers sent loads of the meth back home. or, like jeffrey william hayes in oelwein and lori in ottumwa, either drove out to get some themselves or sent someone instead. meth has been, perhaps, the only
example of a widely-consumed narcotic that might be called vocational as opposed to recreational. the market for meth in america is nearly as old as industrialization. poor and working-class americans had been consuming the drug since the 1930s whether it was marketed as men si green, meth green or o bead run for the simple reason that meth makes you feel good and permit you to work hard. thanks to the brothers and lori arnold, these same people no longer needed to rely on expensive prescriptions and were able to get a stronger form of meth at a much better price. this at a time when the drug's effects were arguably more useful than ever. so, too, did meth become more widely available at exactly the moment that rural economies collapsed and people left.
under those circumstances, those who remained felt they needed the drug most. by 1987 if you wanted meth and you lived in southern iowa or in northern missouri, you went to the bar that lori arnold now owned, the wild side. there the increasingly beleaguered ottumwa police whose numbers were shrinking alongside county and city tax revenues had little chance of interrupting lori's profitable crank business. at that point, says lori, in addition to floyd she had a dozen runners going back and forth to long beach to buy meth from multiple so-called super labs which could produce up to 20 pounds of meth every 36 hours. an astounding amount of crank in those days. because the cars that lori's runners used were a drain on her profits, lori bought a car
dealership. [laughter] that way she could have access to as many vehicles as she needed. she could also have her runners trade the cars and their tags with car dealers at any state along the way thereby making themselves harder to follow. then to house her employees and further launder the money that she was making, lori bought 14 homes in o ottumwa. this was just the beginning of the means by which lori, who had not made it past the tenth grade, laundered her drug money at the same time that she moved to fill new markets around the region. in 1989 she bought 52 racehorses along with the 144-acre horse farm from which to run her ever-multiplying and synergistic empires. people from kentucky to the dakotas and from indiana to colorado race, breed, buy, trade, and sell horses making it
the perfect cover for a narcotics distribution business. lori's runners, tooling along in their duallies with a couple of geldings munching hay in the trailer and the wheel wells packed tight with crank, became the down home dukes of hazard version of coke-laden speedboats making a run to key biscayne. lori's true stroke of genius, though, was to build under a series of military tents hidden in the wooded hills of her horse farm what for almost 20 years would be the only meth super lab ever known to be in production outside the state of california. by then she was in such good graces with the two brothers that they had let her borrow a chemist whom lori flew to iowa to teach her associates how to make meth in 10-pound batches every two days, a state of the
art, up to the minute operation. the effect was remarkable. up until now lori had controlled sales of meth in iowa and other parts of the midwest while still having to rely on the brothers for her product. once lori opened her own super lab, she was in control of the entire value chain. manufacture, distribution and retail. and while she still bought meth from the brothers, principally to maintain good relations, lori had no real competition to speak of. in just the two years between 1987 and 1989, an unassuming high school dropout from little ottumwa, iowa, had succeeded in cornering part of what was becoming one of the world's most lucrative narcotics markets. what's more amazing is how close she came to never getting started.
according to several former agents, back in 1987 there was deep institutional ambivalence within the drug enforcement administration toward meth methamphetamine. these were the reagan '80s, and as tastes ran for big, deregulated corporate successes, so ran america's taste for drugs. cocaine was king. as such, dea whose job is to curb the excesses of the period as they are embodied by america's choice in narcotics, wasn't interested in anything aside from the medellin cartels. drug trafficking organizations run like multi-national corporations, capable of exceeding their host nation's gdp. who could have imagined the business being built by two lowly coke dealer brothers in the part of los angeles called
the inland empire? or that this business would be connected with the kind of narcotic prince pate in ottumwa, iowa? only one person, it turns out. gene hayslip, the deputy administrator in dea's office of compliance and regulatory affairs. hayslip knew that large amounts of e fed run which was imported in bulk to make nasal decongestants, were being directed with no oversight. processing took place in only nine factories around the world, all of them in india, china, germany and the czech republic. to hayslip, the narrow processing window posed a perfect opportunity to siphon off the meth trade. all that would be required was the cooperation of those nine factories along with the
pharmaceutical companies that depended on the e fed green made in them. what hayslip proposed in 1985, two years before lori arnold went into large-scale meth production, was a federal law allowing dea to monitor all of the drug imports into the united states. according to a 2004 investigative article written by steve in portland's oregonian newspaper, hayslip got the idea based on his earlier work on the illicit u.s. trade in quaaludes, a legal sleeping pill widely available on the black market. the manufacture of quaaludes depend on the synthesis of another legal drug which was predominantly produced in germany, austria and china. what hayslip noticed was that an enormous proportion from these
nations was being shipped to colombia. there the cally and medellin cartels were making it into an illegal form of quaalude which they sold in tandem with cocaine in the same market, one as an upper and one as a downer, in the same way that meth markets today are offer saturated with oxycontin, a painkiller that smooths out the impending tweak of a meth high. in 1982 hayslip visited the nations whose factories made the drug and asked that, and asked for their help in monitoring its sale. congress then banned the use of prescription quaaludes which were manufactured by only one american company. by 1984 according to dea's annual narcotics threat assessment, quaaludes no longer constituted a significant danger to the illicit u.s. drug market. with meth hay have been slip
simply hoped to keep organizations like the brothers and to a lesser extent lori arnold from legally procuring every green without hurting the cold medicine without hurting the makers of sudafed. inserted it into the controlled sub instants act which would be debated by congress in the fall of 1986. what's important to understand is that despite the fact that hayslip's job was to write legislation, dea is not a political entity. according to the cliche and one of which most de, agents with whom i spoke seemed proud, the administration occupies a place which is all but outside of the law. while fbi agents stereotypically tail potential bad guys in their sedans and cia agents listen to
phone conversations, dea agents are supposedly assassinating major narco figures in the world's more inhospitable environments. whether or not this is a fantasy is unclear. what it suggests, however, is an institutional frustration regarding the governmental process. it's easier to shoot people in other places than it is to write legislation here. [laughter] dea's proposals are subject to long, withering debates and years of compromise, and that is where the administration if not actually a political entity, is a highly politicized one. back in 1986 even as nancy reagan gave her famous just say no speech, hayslip had to bow to pressure from democrats and republicans alike not to raise the ire of pharmaceutical
lobbyists whose job in part is to comb through legislative bills looking for anything that could be potentially upsetting to their clients' sales. that's how hayslip's bill, according to the oregonian article, came to the attention of alan rexinger who was in the employ of a trade group called the proprietary association on behalf of warner lambert. and rexinger didn't like what he saw. for several weeks during 1986 according to rexinger, he worked to change the language of hayslip's bill in a way that would exempt warner/lambert from the potential bane of federal importation oversight. when dea and hayslip continued to resist his pleas, he had no choice but to get the white house involved by making, as he says, a phone call to the highest levels of the united states government.
by the time that attorney general edwin meese iii presented hayslip's bill to congress in april 1987, five years had passed since hayslip had initially imagined nipping meth production in the bud. meantime, the brothers' cartel had spread throughout california in the desert west and had linked up with lori arnold's organization in iowa which by now was well on its way to producing its own industrially-manufactured meth. the language in hayslip's bill proposed oversight of the drug had been drastically altered as well allowing for the drug to be imported in pill form with no federal regulation whatsoever. all that meth manufacturers had to do in order to continue making the drug would be legally to buy a pill form in bulk and crush it into powder, a small added-in convenience.
what hayslip had imagined as an early answer to a still embryonic drug threat instead became both a mandate and a road map for meth's expansion. in 1987 the year that cargill cut wages at its ottumwa meat packing plant from $18 to $5.60 with no benefits, lori arnold sold a pound of pure, uncut crank for $32,000. this meant that with the first ten pounds produced at her super lab, she had paid off the $100,000 initial investment in equipment and chemicals and had cleared a profit of nearly $250,000. over a decade's worth of median wages for an ottumwa adult that year. meanwhile, she was still buying
mexican mafia dope from california which she then sold for three times the price. again making nearly a quarter of a million dollars every time one of her runners returned from the west coast. where crank's personality converges with its mathematics is this: no one with whom i spoke, and this includes varsity-level addicts like rohland jarvis, can physically handle smoking snorting or shooting 98% pure methamphetamine. so each pound once it was distributed equated to three or four pounds of ingest bl crank and probably more given that each dealer along the line was likely to continue cutting it. seen that way, lori's lab wasn't producing ten pounds every two day, it was producing the eventual equivalent of 30-40
pounds. in one month alone during lori's prime, that's somewhere on the order of a quarter ton of meth being distributed in a relatively underpopulated envierchs of the central midwest. add to that the dozen or so big loads that she was getting from california each month, and it's easy to see how lori was by her own admission involved in one manner or another with thousands of people in making hundreds of thousands of dollars every month. when pushed for an answer, lori admits that she had no idea how much she made in pounds or dollars. when lori first got into meth, a gram would last her an entire weekend. three years later in 1990, lori was snorting up to three grams a day. she remembers not sleeping for weeks at a time. she wore, she says, a lot of
hats, multiple business owner, mother, and drug baron. without the meth she could never have done it all. she was, she says, one of the main employers in ottumwa and a benevolent one at that. she donated plenty of money to the local police and to the county sheriff. she planned to open a day care center and a video game arcade next to the wild side so that local kids would have somewhere to go while their parents were in the bar. together, lori and meth, she says, were an antidote to the small town's sense of isolation, the collective sense of depression and low morale that had settled on ottumwa since the farms went belly up and the railroad closed and the boys at the meat-packing plant lost their jobs. if you ask her, lori arnold will say she did more for the state of iowa that be all the politicians -- than all the politicians put together.
[laughter] people were proud of her, she says, and they should have been. she gave them back the life that the government and the corporations took away. if there was ever a problem with meth, says lori, it wasn't with the clean dope that she sold. her dope wouldn't do anything freaky to you. it was the rot gut that the batchers cooked up that made people crazy. and it was always lori's pleasure to put those people out of business be. it was her civic duty to keep the likes of roland jarvis from selling too much crap batch and blabbering on about black helicopters.
case it was real. it hovered over her house one day in 1990 while agents from the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms took photographs of the meth lab and the bloods. later that day, lori was driving around town in a green jaguar sovereign who doing errands when she got a call from the stableboy that things were getting a little bit weird out at the horse farm. there were cars parked along the country roads, said the boy, and men with binoculars trained on the place. that night, lori says, the fed sent in an army, atf, fbi, you name it. by the morning, she was in the local jail telling jokes to the agents who stood guard. after all, she says, if you don't have a sense of humor, what do you have? six months later, lori arnall's
crunk empire was crumbled when she was convicted in federal court district filed. one count of continuing criminal enterprise, two counts of money laundering, one count of carrying and using a firearm in conjunction with drug-trafficking and multiple counts of possession, distribution and manufacturing of methamphetamine. floyd stockpole was tried separately and sentenced to 15 years and leavenworth prison, where he died of a heart attack two months before he would have been on parole. lori got ten years in the federal penitentiary in alderson, west virginia, and was released after serving eight years on july 2nd of 1999. her son and only child, josh, was 15-years-old. lori had been gone for half of his life. by then, the meth business in the midwest had mutated into something that lori couldn't believe. though she was quick to
comprehend that it was a new much more fully developed phenomenon than that which she had created along with the damascus. and once lori identified a spot for herself in the new order she did it the thing she had been doing all of her life. she went right back into business. [applause] thank you. >> it's question-and-answer time. >> okay. >> i see a hand over there. >> [inaudible] i was wondering if you had the chance to talk to the parents of these addicts? >> yeah, in fact there's a character -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah, the question is did i have a chance to talk to any
parents of addicts, and the answer is one of the principal characters in the last part of the book is a recovering meth addict, who at the time that the book was written he had a 2-year-old boy based on the hair follicle content of the meth in his system had the highest content of any child in iowa, and his stepsister, who was also at one time under the control of this man, had the second-highest careful, however, and the part of the book is about him is also not just him as a parent but it is about his parents as well. and they live up in independence, iowa. islamic but lori arnall's
parents -- >> no, i didn't speak with lori's parents. >> anybody else? how about somebody from oelwein? >> there's got to be a question from oelwein. >> i've been down here 18 years now, but i wondered why you centered on rowland, on what was your -- i haven't read it, i'm going to buy it tonight and read it. why was he chosen as a main character versus some of the other meth addicts that you talked to from oelwein? >> that's a good question. i -- the question was why did i center the character of the addict in the book on roland jarvis as opposed to any other
addict in oelwein, and the answer to that is that because he would talk to me. [laughter] and he was, you know, willing to let me into his life for three and a half years. and one of the reasons that he would talk to me is that at one point his doctor had been the man who is sort of one of two principal characters in the book, cui holbrook, and you know, i was looking for people to write about and clay put me in touch with him and he said it would be okay. so that's why. i mean, i certainly met many others, but, you know, i don't know. it's like when your fishing, you don't leave fish to go find fish, you know? [laughter]
>> just tell us how you entered this community of oelwein and got connected with people. what that experience was like in oelwein. >> okay. the question is how did i get involved with the people of oelwein -- >> and get them to trust you and talk to you. >> -- and get them to talk to me and trust me and with that experience was like. you know, the number one strategy i think is hang around. and in fact, on a was an oelwein for about three months over the course of several years, and i -- they got to the point where i would just show up and i the file with the super eight would
say to 11 is waiting for you. i always stayed in the same room. and you know, really it's just some of it -- its i think predicated largely on, you know, relationships that i was able to have with people who i really liked, and roland was one of those people, and clay holbrook was one of those people, and the prosecutor who why write about and the mayor. and leading up to getting to oelwein i probably spend about us three months searching through newspaper archives and for anybody who said anything interesting about methamphetamine, and i would call them and this includes, i mean, you name it from former dea agents to other town dr. max to other mayors, and when i got
on the phone with clay, again, the principal -- one of the principal characters in this book we just hit it off, and i've only done this twice now, but the thing that is clear to me is that you know, to me you have to like and respect the people about whom he wished to write, and once that happens it's really not that hard. yeah? >> after the book was published than what feedback did you get from the community and those you wrote about? >> the question is now that the book has been published what kind of feedback have i had in oelwein. all i was -- i was up there on monday night at the town library
, and the library and had set up -- she wanted to have like a town hall meeting, and there were about 400 people that showed up. [laughter] the memory of it i wish this was whiskey. [laughter] i tell you a very frustrating fact, there were 400 people there and there were only 12 books for sale. [laughter] which is fine, because the point was not to sell books. it was -- the point was, you know, the town of oelwein is really the principal character in this book, and there are, you know, depending on what the census number you believe, there are either 6100 or 6700 people
in that town, all of whom certainly have an opinion, and all of whom i thought deserved the right to tell me to my face what they thought about this. and what i came away with is, you know, there are plenty of people that do not like the fact that their town is in a book. and i understand that completely you know, at one point at this town hall meeting there was a lady who stood up and said something to the effect this is true and this has happened and if you haven't read it then you have to read it before you can criticize. and that seemed to me about what but to separate constituencies were, which is either we just don't like it or it's true and
you need to read it. so that's about as close as an answer as i can give you. >> [inaudible] >> yeah, i think so. i mean, you know, put into context i think my first book sold, i don't know, maybe 2800 copies in four years. and then went out of print. so i certainly expected for people in oelwein to have a little bit of an allergic reaction. what i didn't expect was for there to be quite so much attention on the book, and i think that, you know, a lot of the attention has focused on, you know, the roland
jarvisification of this thing, when in fact i consider it to be a book not as a talmadge with a meth problem but a town that overcomes or begins to overcome its meth problem and it's sort of the economic difficulties. so, i knew that -- anybody who gets written about singularly or collectively i don't think it can be prepared for that, and so i did expect for there to be trouble. what i didn't expect was for me to be as deeply and prepared for the attention that it's garner. [laughter] but, you know what are you going to do, you know? [laughter] >> so we were working on this book about four years.
>> yeah. >> as the police started late 04 comer early 05. i was working for the national media at that point in time and everybody had their eyes on this. so about 06 when the ondcp came out and said that the meth war is effectively over, how much of it -- did you freak out? did you think the story like incorrectly at that. budget to freak out, karina's? >> and so the question -- >> [inaudible] >> well, at that point -- the question is was it troublesome to me when the meth epidemic was declared to be over in 2006. and, you know, to say that i did four years of reporting on this is a little bit of a mischaracterization because i actually did about ten years or
nine years, and one of the reasons that the reporting moved from a small town in idaho to oelwein, on the allies because i couldn't sell the book. once i had sold the book and i had gotten deep into the reporting, the notion that nobody would buy it was not a source of fear because i was already getting paid for something that had taken me a long time. so, that wasn't as worrisome. the other thing, too, is by then i think it was clear that the combat methamphetamine act was destined to fail, so whether or not the media coverage ended was not as important as the fact that by my conviction that this was a bad call we and a silly
law it gave me much more to write about. i think there's another woman from oelwein -- >> additionally from oelwein. and i would have to concur coming to the consensus i felt reading the book and talking to oelwein people as well is that the ones that have not read it are the ones that are the most against it. but the interesting part about it is growing up in oelwein and then being in this community and being close to oelwein are those events, the recall of those events. the funeral ceremony you talk about in the book, the roland jarvis evin, those are issues i am aware of, so to be able to read that, being able to figure on the aliases in the situation was fascinating to me. one of the things i think was very well done and i applaud obviously is the part about looking at oelwein, which after getting over the initial shock that is about your home town and being able to move forward with that, but looking at what was happening across the nation with
meth and everything that was happening, as well as lori arnold, and i guess the lori arnold part i was most fascinated about this here is this person that graduated from tenth grade and how that an empire just went crazy. and then knowing people that lived with her from the oelwein community and how that expanded. so could you talk a will but more about lori arnold and how she had the means to be able to, besides the money, obviously money is a huge factor, but were there other individuals or other issues that came out in interviewing her that really supported them and ottumwa being able to explode in this arena? >> and so, let me try to paraphrase the question. is it something like how did lori do it kind? [laughter]
and i think that -- i mean, first of all lori we probably wrote i don't know, five, maybe 600 pages of letters back-and-forth to each other and she is out of prison. when i say she's in prison in greenville illinois that's because this part of the book takes place in 2005. lori is a very smart woman and quite a charming woman i have to say. you know, and my telling i'm not sure if it was -- if it was completely conscious that she was able to put together the pieces in terms of their sociology, meaning that as people are moving away and there
is this vacuum that's opening, sort of culturally and emotionally in some ways, but lori just knew a good way to make money when she saw it. and it is too bad i guess that it didn't turn out that she could do it in a legal way because she is a hell of a business woman is what it comes down to. and there was an fbi agent i was kind of a sounding board for me for four years, and he said to me a number of times people get in trouble understanding the drug business when they treat it as anything other than what it is, which is just a business. and you know, i think until lori's actual addiction caught up with her she just treated
like a businessman, businesswoman, and so that's i think the answer. >> i am just curious the main characters as you got to know them over the course of your research how he felt personally about seeing that self-destructive drug abuse continue and what kind of discussions you might have had with them about the desire to quit and so forth. >> the question is how life felt about sort of watching some of this -- watching the pathology of drug abuse and how did that make me feel, i would say that it was not a parochial in my life i could have been counted on to quit smoking cigarettes because it was a little depressing. it was not -- it just wasn't
easy to watch. but again, i think going back to a former question why did i pick roland jarvis, and the subsequent question might be why did i pick the guy down in independence, and the reason i picked him is because he was a recovering addict, and whether there was -- with a that was indicative of my own sort of emotional state in all of this i think it probably was because, you know, i kind of needed something -- i wanted something to feel good about. and this guy in fact gave me that and also, you know meth the diction is and just about people who beat this, it is about people that do.
and for the sake of a good story but also for the sake of the truth, i mean, you have to -- you have to have that in there. yeah, there is a woman in the shadows. >> do you think your book, relating to the answers you just gave to you think your book could [inaudible] help recovery? >> do i think the book might be used by using drug addicts as a help for recovery? >> if you think the drug addicts could be reading this book that could be helpful for them during the recovery knowing how difficult it is to recover. >> i do hope this book will be helpful to people trying to
overcome this. you know, one of the things, it's becoming this sort of scientific colloquialism if you will or this accepted piece of knowledge that meth is harder to overcome the and everything else, and one of the things that was certainly my pleasure to put in here is there is no longer term research that says meth is harder than alcohol or anything else. i think that's a piece of information that if you are addicted to meth you need to know because it is not something that is often talked about, and so just from that standpoint alone i would hope that people would have derived some hope from what they've read in here and not just the addicts with
the people involved with them because it is foolishness to say you're never going to get over this. then why ever stop? you know. >> i am from oelwein, i grew up to hausas from clay. >> god, you are all over. [laughter] >> what does your t-shirt say? >> positively oelwein. i have a two-part question. one is how did you research the personal information that was given to you by clay, and i also, my husband and i once summer lived next door to roland when he was a small boy. so we know a lot about the family. how did you research the information they gave you, or did you, and i noticed that you've changed some names and not others, changed the names of some places. was that -- their choice or how did you decide that? >> so, the question is with regard particularly to the town
of -- to clay and the doctor back in town, who she knows and also roland jarvis, how did i do my reporting on their lives, particularly the personal details, and the second part of the question is -- [laughter] why are some names changed and other ones are not. and you might have to remind me again about part to if i get to deepen to part one. you know, the principal means by which i did this kind of firsthand reporting was to spend a lot of time with clay. and i mean, went to the office with him and went home with him
and ate dinner with him and did the things that clay does and that is true of nathan and dustin roland. so i mean it's really you know my means of recording what people say is to basically say i've got to go to the bathroom a lot and go and write down a lot of notes. and then come back out and doing whatever we are doing. i would say it's very helpful in the case of clay and nason and mayor murphy that we got to be pretty good friends throughout this. and that is a double-edged sword because it feels weird to write about people you consider your friends but there was never
walport don't think anybody was ever under the illusion i still wasn't -- i mean, they figured out, it's not just that i have the bladder problem, like i go right things down a lot. [laughter] and in terms of why i changed some names that was not my choice. that was not the choice of the few people in the book whose names were changed. that was because when your book is about to be done and you get appointed a publicist and you get appointed a lawyer, and without going too deeply into it, i was compelled over the course of a week of uncomfortable phone calls to change some of these names, which i was very unhappy with
because to me that completely undermines the integrity what a guy like roland jarvis, the trust he has placed in me to then go change his name at the end of it? i don't think that's fair and i don't think it's right. but, you know, when dutch ways is presented the third this book will be published or won't, then there isn't a lot of wiggle room, you know? yes, sir, in the back. >> thank you. i have lived in iowa all of my life and i wondered about who was going to write about the land, so i wanted you to talk about, you wrote about meth but also hinted about what the big agriculture does
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