According to a report attributed to Reuters, the year 2016 saw 25,000 murders in Mexico. The United States, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, saw nearly 17,250 murders in the same year. The population of Mexico is 128 million, with the United States has 228 million.
Earlier this year, the United States issued its most stringent travel warnings to the states of Colima, Michoacán, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Guerrero, ranking them as dangerous as war-torn Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The question is, what is the reason behind a murder rate nearly 70% greater than ours?
As we find in Chicago, the root of evil resulting in murder is drugs; people using addictive drugs needing money to purchase drugs, and rival drug bands fighting for territory to sell drugs. An interesting result of our efforts to destroy the large drug cartels in Mexico has produced results, in that the drug gangs have been decentralized. The drug kingpins worked to reduce the level of violence because it was bad for business.
Please do not get me wrong — the cartels were violent and ruthless, but the number of rival cartels were few. Enter our successful effort to imprison cartel leaders, decentralizing the gangs, and we see an increase in violence. As long as drugs are extremely profitable, as long as we continue to have a demand for illegal drugs, people will produce and sell drugs.
The battle for the drug trade in Mexico and in Chicago, now d
ecentralized, is more violent and vicious. The road to hell is paved with good intentions; decentralizing the drug trade results in more death.
I sincerely wish a solution to the drug problem existed; perhaps it does, but I’ll be damned if I know what it is. In the days past, when fighting the international drug trade in Asia and south of our border, my philosophy was that education that reduced demand was the key. We as a nation have spent millions if not billions on drug prevention programs; they may have worked to reduce the number of our young who start using drugs, but the aggregate number keeps increasing.
One thing I blame is the misinformation people put out concerning drugs; “Methamphetamines used once will addict you for life.” Our young will know someone who has used the drug and is not addicted. “A certain drug will cause your instant death.” Again, the young will know people who are alive who have used the drug. Honesty with our youth is the best policy.
Decades of education may have reduced potential for drug use, but it has not stopped it. Popular culture will tell us that drugs are socially accepted, encouraging one to be a member of a desired subculture like the Hollywood/music elite.
Capitalism will not be stopped. The law of supply and demand is absolute; as long as we have a demand for illegal drugs, we will have a drug trade. As long as trainload amounts of money are to be made in the drug trade, the drug gangs will exist, and drug violence will flourish.
Mexico does not have the Posse_Comitatus_Act, a law that forbids the American military from assisting law enforcement. They have sent the military to assist the federal police in fighting the now decentralized drug gangs. The predictable outcome will be the movement of the drug trade to areas the law enforcement effort is not present. Supply and demand is again, unstoppable.
The opiate problem shows the resilience of the Mexican drug industry. Americans want opiates, so the drug gangs are now concentrating on opiate production. The law of supply and demand rules (oh by the way, no evil corporate marketing program makes folks purchase drugs); if drugs are socially acceptable, we will have drug use.
Prescription opiate abuse, starting with a legal prescription and growing to illegal use, is a small but tragic percent of the problem. Most of opiate abuse starts with recreational use.