More than 5,000 people will die in the Mexican drug wars this year. Many of them will be non-combatants; innocents caught in the crossfire, or the parchment on which terrorist messages are sent.
The Mexican government has promised to do something about the killing, and tens of thousands of federal troops have been dispatched in a vain effort to stop the flow of drugs and the escalating violence. Perhaps they have been successful; perhaps the situation would be much worse without the intervention, though such speculation is horrifying in itself.
Their government increasingly blames the United States for the problem, or failing to do anything about it, and the charges are not unreasonable. First, we are the market for most of the drugs; 90% of the cocaine consumed in the U.S. comes from Mexico.
Second, Mexican gangs are also producing a great deal of their methamphetamine here and that scourge is destroying tens of thousands of lives in both rural and urban America. By some estimates, ten percent of the population of Baltimore uses meth.
Third, a considerable amount of the marijuana sold by Mexican gangs is actually grown here, much on public lands, which are despoiled in the process.
Fourth, the gangs are getting their guns from American dealers. Thousands of retail gun peddlers have set up shops on the border. Sales are soaring; one Phoenix dealer was recently arrested after having sold 650 assault weapons that wound up in gang hands.
We can pour a billion dollars or more into border control but that would have little effect; the border is porous, as we know from out immigration crisis.
There is a simple solution. Decriminalize drug use. It would remove the profit and dramatically reduce the amount of smuggling, dealing, and killing, on both sides of the border. It won't happen, of course, because our politicians are narrow-minded cowards.