The Drug Problem in Mexico is Ours
by Ned Wicker
The news is filled with reports from Mexico of drug cartels murdering scores of innocent people, assassinating government officials or holding entire towns captive in fear of open warfare against the military and police.
The violence is so common that we in America are numb to it.
We BLAME everyone else
We rationalize and blame it all on corrupt police, evil drug lords and of course we remind ourselves that this is America and nothing like this would ever happen. We take comfort in that.
We, after all, are the good people. We do not accept any measure of responsibility that our hunger for illegal drugs is Mexico’s biggest headache.
OUR drug problem is somehow different
Our drug problem is different, or so we think. We watch television and see that Paris Hilton has been arrested, again, and charged with cocaine possession. We express our concern and reason that she must be very foolish and arrogant to think that she can get away with her habit.
We do not think about the fact that her appetite for drugs, and that of countless thousands of people with too much money to spend, is what fuels the drug lords and keeps this disgusting, inhuman enterprise thriving. We do not think that the teenager who scores some pot today is the one who will develop an addiction to heroin tomorrow.
We don't think that the mothers and fathers who turn a blind eye to their children’s “experimentation” is actually a parallel action to pulling the trigger in the mass murder at Tamaulipas in northern Mexico.
No market no drugs it's that simple
The drug problem in Mexico is car bombs, murders, kidnappings and turf wars. If there was no market in the United States, this problem would diminish significantly.
The risk is high, the stakes are high, and with that comes the unchecked violence and unthinkable reign of terror inflicted on the Mexican people.
It's not us!
We think drug use is just for the seedy underside of society, but it is in the upper economic strata occupied by Miss Hilton and her celebrity friends, or the wholesome streets of middle America, where hard working people go to church and serve on civic committees.
We see ourselves as “good” and if we wander off the straight and narrow it is because we were in error, not because we were not good and chose to indulge in self-gratification.
We do not see the direct link between our drug use and the unspeakable horror in Mexico. We don’t see it, probably because we can’t face it without having to take a long look in the mirror and accept responsibility. Maybe we’re not the good guys after all. Maybe we are a big part of the problem and we have some work to do.
We ignore and avoid
We sugar coat our difficulties. Those who have slipped from recreational use to addiction invariably will deny they have a problem and refuse treatment, despite the fact that their world is collapsing all around them.
They see the world in terms of themselves, their craving to get high and piece-by-piece the mosaic of their life will fall apart.
Who cares where the money goes
They don’t care where the money goes as long as they can buy the drugs. There is no other concern. They may have to deal with their family and the concern others have for them, but they certainly don’t equate getting high with someone dying in a foreign country, or even on the streets of their hometown in a drug deal gone bad. That’s somebody else’s problem.
I once visited an amazing forest in northern California. Trees everywhere, as far as the eye could see and the amazing thing that was explained to me is that they were all connected.
It was one, enormous organism. So it is with humanity. We are one organism, so the suffering of others is our suffering.
The cocaine user in Des Moines, Iowa is equally as guilty as the cocaine producer in Colombia, the traffickers, the sellers and the gun-toting animals that kill at the behest of their master.
From time-to-time we deal with the issue and we always get angry. We need tougher sentences for drug users and we are willing to lock them up and throw away the key.
Treatment is the solution
Treatment is much more cost effective and with the redemption that comes with recovery, we get a useful and productive citizen. But the first step is taking personal responsibility. It’s not just the drug users, it’s the families that support them and enable the behavior.
We look at the news from Mexico and our inclination is to send the marines down there and clean them up, but the answer is right at home. If we can stop the need to use, we can stop the killing.
The user, the addict is actively involved in the killing. The addict may not die from a drug cartel bullet in Mexico, but left untreated, he will die slowly over time, or even in an overdose. He is a part of that large organism. He is connected to the criminal enterprise, to the innocent victims, to the murders of government officials and the misery of millions of people just trying to live their lives.
Strangely, we get angry over other forms of injustice, such as learning that some clothing items promoted by Kathy Lee Gifford were produced by children in a sweat shop.
Are we as outraged at people buying cocaine, heroin and other illegal street drugs, knowing that the cartels control the distribution and sales, knowing that there is a very likely probability that somebody died as a direct result of that activity?
Would we be as inclined to use drugs if we had to see, first hand, the stark reality of the business? We are mysteriously removed and feel no connection to the murders in Mexico.
It’s all one organism. We are all connected. We are all responsible.