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 CNN.com 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.