The Santa Ana Sentinel

On the Mexican Drug War

Posted in Opinion by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on February 1, 2012

This topic is one that took off today, igniting a back and forth between a reader, Juan González, and myself. What do other readers think?

Omar Ávalos, Santa Ana Sentinel editor:

It wouldn’t surprise me that people, whoever, higher-ups, law enforcement, politicians are on the take over here. But don’t take it from me, take it from a retired U.S. judge.

Juan González

The reason for all that machine gun fire in Mexico is because first, the draconian drug laws put in place by this government in the name of the public good which then creates this police state where the government and the private institutions that jail non violent drug offenders benefit from putting drug users in jail. Secondly, the reason for all that violence is due to the cartels’ desire to control the drug market that supplies American’s insatiable appetite for drugs so maybe the ” war on drugs” is closer than you think.

Sentinel

The fact that there is no war zone here, over drugs, like there is in Mexico leads me to say that there is no comparable “drug war” here. If government on this side of the border doesn’t do enough to eradicate drug demand, then they are contributing to the violence in Mexico. Then there are those types that think that government here is “attacking” or “assaulting” them for busting them for their drug use and or sales. The way that things are right now, in my view, if you are a drug user then you are directly or indirectly contributing to the violence in Mexico. I think people would agree if they had a conscience. If legalization will stop the violence in Mexico, fine I don’t care, do it. I care more about stopping the violence in Mexico, of which I am a citizen, than some addict on this side that needs to get his or her fix.

JG

Its not only people “on the take,” but a deliberate systematic inolvement in drug dealing to fund whatever warped agenda they have. You wouldn’t call billions of dollars and millions of people (most of which are non violent drug users) being wasted($) and jailed a drug war? I agree that the violence and bloodshed should no doubt end but to not look at all the implications that a very publicized “war on drugs,” I’m only playing devils advocate here since I in no way blaming Mexico or Mexicans (by the way I am Mexican) but don’t you think those directly responsible for that bloodshed (though the reasons for this bloodshed can be debated) have a bigger burden on their conscience?? Most people who use drugs aren’t on the streets and why is alcohol and tobacco and every pharmaceutical out there ok to sell? And yes it is an assault on my freedom to live in a police state where any government thinks that they can tell me what I am allowed to put in my body.

Sentinel

That’s why it’s called the black market and it probably involves some corrupt officials at the border. As far as having a larger burden on their conscience, those professional killers in Mexico are cold-blooded so by default, they have no conscience. All they care about is making that buck to get that drug to that user in this country.

JG

By default? Really? I think you ended the thread with that one.

Sentinel

Oh I’m sorry, I forgot that the types of people dipping their enemies in vats of acid and calling it pozole had a conscience. Or the ones spraying machine gun fire at teenagers indiscriminately killing innocent and guilty alike, because maybe one of them saw something or knew too much. What goes through the mind of someone like that? One kid knows too much, he’s in that group of people there, screw it we’ll kill them all. Does that seem like a person of conscience? Would you then ask a person to all of a sudden have a conscience after committing an atrocity like that? If it isn’t the cartel gunmen who are the reason for the bloodshed then who is? Who exactly are those who are directly responsible as you say? Wouldn’t they be the users that are the ones pushing the demand to begin with?

JG

Your sense of responsibility and accountability are a little off to say the least to compare a drug user to a murderer is a little off. I don’t have a sure fire to end the violence and corruption in Mexico but I know that it’s not criminalizing drugs and drug users so that politicians’ careers can further by pumping the people full of fear and misinformation and not by building more prisons for non violent drug offenders.

Sentinel

The truth is that there is responsibility on both parts, users and pushers / cartels. As things are right now, in our present reality and not in a hypothetical future with legalized substances, users also contribute to prolonging violence in Mexico because of their demand. I know what someone would counter with, users can produce their own substances, and take sales from cartels. The way that the system is set up presently, users and dealers know what they’re risking, even if they produce here. We’re talking about the use and sales in the present tense that have real consequences in Mexico, not how things should be or could be in a hypothetical world with legalized substances. I want to know who would sell what substances in a regulated environment. Big tobacco? New entrepreneurs? Farmers? Even if there was a legalized, controlled environment, production and sales would be taken out of the hands of ordinary people, which would upset many who are “do it your self” types. There would still be people getting arrested for growing and selling.

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