El Paso (foreground) and Juarez (background) are on the front line of a border war between law enforcement and Mexican cartels. Photo via Flickr.com (Paul Garland).
On April 23, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a much publicized speech in Juarez, Mexico addressing the murder of a U.S. consulate worker and her husband in that city. These two were the most recent victims of the Mexican drug war declared by President Felipe Calderon in 2006. As many as 23,000 victims have been killed on the Mexican side, including 5,000 who died in drug violence in the city of Juarez in the last two years. This war affects us all.
The word "war" is not just hyperbole; it correctly describes what is going on. It's estimated that the violence—kidnapping and murder—has driven 400,000 locals out of the Juarez area with an estimated 30,000 fleeing to El Paso and beyond. A U.S. border sheriff claimed that the cartels printed fliers ordering his residents to evacuate their homes in the border area or they would be murdered.
In keeping with the Obama administration's past rhetoric, Hillary Clinton blamed Mexico's problems on the U.S. She quoted the infamous statistic—90 percent of the guns recovered from Mexican cartels came from the U.S. This has been proven to be another false statistic used by U.S. and Mexican politicians opposed to the Second Amendment. The statistic was derived from a number of confiscated weapons in Mexico, a portion of which were checked through ATF. Of those, only about a third had serial numbers that might be traceable. Of that small remaining number, 90 percent could be traced to the U.S. We know this to be true, because we keep good data, and this information is closely regulated.
However, the favorite weapon of the Mexican cartel is the "cuernos de chiva" (horns of the goat)—the Sino-Soviet AK-47. But the Chinese and Russian weapons are not easily traced. The hand grenades and rocket propelled grenades used by the drug cartels are not purchased in American gun shows or gun stores either.
There are some U.S. systems that do contribute to the Mexican drug-gang violence. The greatest of our contributions is the American appetite for mind-numbing, mind-altering intoxicants. We are about 5 percent of the world's population, but we consume 50 percent of the world's drugs. We are a drug culture. Drug abuse is the symptom of our dysfunctional society. America needs an intervention; the U.S. needs to go through rehab.
Whether it's the heroin addicted prostitute in the alley or beer-guzzling jocks who watch the Super Bowl on a wide-screen TV, we can't seem to work or enjoy ourselves sober. I have seen and heard many excuses for our need to blur our minds, but imagine how the rest of the world sees us. In our society, 43 percent of American children are born outside of marriage. To other cultures, we appear weak and immoral—hypocrites preaching American ideals while we are drunk or high. This is the corrupt U.S. image described by Muslim extremists as "the great Satan."
In my opinion, this need for speed and other drugs does not originate in our ghettos and barrios. It is not poverty that causes the addiction, although this is where the addiction takes her victims. America's dysfunction and abuse problem stems from its bored and spoiled children. Maybe even our poor have too much. Yes, too much, too soon, and too easily obtained "disposable income." I have seen this even in the homes of "poor" gang members. The children in these homes suffer from a lack of nutrition, poor health and dental care, hygiene and proper clothing, yet they seem to have the latest cell phone, iPod, video games and hottest new name-brand tennis shoes. They start using drugs at an early age.