Yes, There’s Bad News in Mexico. And: Alabama!

So my dear friend Marc read a recent news article coming out of Mexico, and emailed me: You’re being careful, right?

I wrote back what I think many of us Americans in Mexico write back when asked about violence in Mexico: Yep, I’m being careful, but, overall, I feel pretty safe. And: Did you hear Alabama is going down in flames, too?

Not long after I wrote him back, I went to and discovered that Germany is no longer safe, either, at least not if you know any German teenagers.

What am I getting at here? I’m not making light of violence. Instead, I’m saying I’m exhausted by journalists who are coming up short when it comes to providing context about the drug war in Mexico.

This context is not hard to provide. I’ll help: Here’s how to do it. Write a paragraph that covers the following points, in your own words:

1. It’s bad. It’s a war. Especially along the U.S. border.

2. It’s bad because AMERICANS want drugs. Mexicans and others are providing an expensive and sought-after commodity that happens to be illegal.

3. But most of Mexico remains downright lovely, and dare we say, relatively safe. Few Americans have been caught up in the violence, despite what the Houston Chronicle says.

4. Now, let’s talk solutions. Wait, there’s only one: Legalize drugs.

5. But Americans don’t want to hear that (*inserting fingers in ears, singing nanny-nanny-boo-boo*), we’d rather let people die from violent acts than legalize a commodity that people will use no matter what, for the end of time, all over the world.

6. Meaning, that, this is a fucked-up mess we’ve got on our hands, Americans share the blame, and that if Mexico somehow manages to expunge the drug cartels from the border, the violence will simply move elsewhere.

8 thoughts on “Yes, There’s Bad News in Mexico. And: Alabama!

  1. arturo says:

    De acuerdo con todo lo que dices, excepto con el tema de la legalización. Hace diez o quince años hubiera sido viable, pero hoy… Los cárteles del narco ya han diversificado su campo de acción; ahora se dedican además al secuestro, a la venta de protección, incluso a la política. Sería algo como cuando en USA se legalizó el licor: las mafias ya estaban operando en otros negocios. Por cierto, claro que estoy de acuerdo con la legalización de las drogas.

  2. DKN says:

    AWESOME post, Joy! (And oh how I wish I could read those first two comments) 😉 I’m gonna have to get Mayra over here to my desk to translate for me.

  3. Joy says:

    That the drug cartels here are more than drug cartels, more like the mafia, b/c they’re also involved in all layers of organized crime, like bribing/coercing top government officials, and of course, the police.

    The two commenters are skeptical that legalization would work, at least initially, and that the cartels would simply find something else to exploit.

  4. Zannie says:

    I am with you 100%. Even if legalization wouldn’t solve all of the problems with the cartels, it would mean a huge drop in their income (if there’s little personal risk in producing and delivering drugs, there’s no need for “hazard pay” prices for them). It would also mean that people with addiction problems could seek medical help without fear of arrest.

    The vast, vast, vast majority of violence associated with drugs is a direct result of their illegality.

  5. Taina says:

    Here is to wishing journalists would provide context for the violence in Mexico, South Africa…, and actually get the situation right for once. But unfortunately horror stories, along the lines of ‘this could have happened to you’ seem to be in vogue.

    I’m so sick and tired of everyone thinking I’m suicidal because of the countries I choose to make my home in. We love SA, as we loved Mexico and have so far always felt safe in both countries. If international journalists were more interested in the actual causes of violence in SA: corruption leading to poverty, lack of education leading to AIDS, the still ongoing transitional phase of the nation, etc maybe my parents would actually want to visit.

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