You would think that sitting here under a palapa (palm-frond roof) deep down in Mexico a hundred yards from the beach, with some American surfer-dudes around and with the frigatebirds soaring languidly overhead, one would experience true peace and tranquility.
And in fact I did enjoy it until I happened upon a CBS News article that said “In the past few years, Mexico has become one of the most dangerous places on earth.” I didn’t know that.
I thought the most dangerous part of my day was suffering hypothermia from the cold showers in this particular campground (It’s a good thing that the air temperature is about 80.).
On this continent anyhow, US (and Mexican) highways are the most dangerous places. (Well, a lot of people die in bed, but I mean public places.) Over 41,000 people died on US highways last year. But I guess I’m in danger, according to CBS. So I read further, comparing the CBS article to known facts about the US.
CBS: “Drug gangs have killed more than 5,000 people this year – more than the entire American death toll in Iraq.”
Fact: 16,000 people are murdered annually in the USA.
CBS: “About 40 San Diego residents were kidnapped in Mexico this year – double the number three years ago. Many more go unreported.”
Fact: Statistics are uncertain, but there were about 100,000 kidnaps in the USA last year.
Mexico’s looking better, and of course I’m not going to be walking around Juarez or Tijuana any time soon.
What does the future look like in the drug war? The Tijuana police chief is quoted by CBS: “If the cartels only understand the language of violence, then we are going to have to speak in their language … and annihilate them.”
And a US FBI agent adds: “”The violence is absolutely spilling across into the United States.”
Sounds bad, but who needs depressing news? I’ll listen to George Bush, he’s always so upbeat about the worst disasters.
“There will be more work done after I’m out of here,” President Bush said last week after a meeting on drug use reduction, “but we have laid the foundation for a successful effort against drug use, drug supply and helping those who have been addicted.”
See? They’ve “laid the foundation.” It is nice to know they’ve finally got going since the “War on Drugs” started in 1971.
Now if all that violence DOES spill over into the US I might just extend my stay in this “dangerous place,” order me another Cerveza Tecate and take up surfing.
Don Bacon is a retired army officer who founded the Smedley Butler Society several years ago because, as General Butler said, war is a racket.