Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Border Violence

I have a very good friend who has been married to a woman from Chihuahua, Mexico for 30 years. They have a great family here and in Mexico. Bobbi and I have visited them. They hold dual citizenship in the US and Mexico. Every Christmas our friends , and thousands like them, journey to the family home in Chihuahua City for Christmas. They have done it without fail for thirty years, but not this year because of the danger of violence on the border.

This year more that 4300 have died in gang/drug wars in Juarez and the border states. About equal to the Americans who have died in Bush's war in Iraq. There are also gangs preying on everyday citizens, tourists and businesses. Extortion and kidnapping are common place. Children are also killed in the cross fire. Lots of them.

Yet, we hear little about this violence just 250 miles from our city of Albuquerque. We have an estimated forty thousand Chihuahuan natives living here with family south of the border and yet the media here ignores this heartbreaking story.

We may like to think this is Mexico's problem, but it is also our problem. If this lawlessness continues our own safety is also diminished. Of course the violence is caused mostly by the drug wars and culture that it inspires. Think about this. The fastest way to stop this culture is to legalize drugs. Will it happen? Not anytime soon because our criminal justice system seems built around criminalization. However, taking the profit out of drugs would do a lot of good overall. It is just common sense.

This escalating violence and the failed government it has engendered in Mexico can not be ignored any longer. Our country must assist in helping our neighbors to the south.

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