Ultra violence, societal collapse in Mexico has echoes in the US

borderlandbeat

Borderland Beat ponders the deranged violence in Mexico, fueled by drug cartels and corruption, and wonders how it ever got so crazy. What they say applies here in the States. No, we don’t have the same sickening levels of violence, with thousands of young teen torturers and killers. However, too many of our financial institutions benefit hugely from laundering drug cartel money. And that is one reason why Mexico went off the tracks. The elites in Mexico  initially profited from the drug trade and corruption (and still do) so they were willing to be complicit. Then their own children got addicted, tortured, and murdered – or became killers themselves – and suddenly they were in far too deep to get out.

Today, our outlook is dominated by poverty, inequality, social exclusion, lack of opportunity, corruption, impunity, weak institutions, and meager economic growth. Thanks to these variables, the violence associated with organized crime and drug trafficking found favorable footholds to flourish and obtain million-dollar earnings at the cost of the destruction of forward-looking perspectives and the development of the entire country.

Inequality, as we all know, is rising fast in the US too. A protected 1% elite has corrupted the government and remains mostly above and outside of) the law.

The family ceased to be the cornerstone of society, social ties became increasingly fragile, and our values—which once distinguished us in the world—were replaced by anti-values such as hatred, intolerance, and individualism.

This is happening here too. What used to bond and hold us together is disappearing.

The Polish philosopher and sociologist Zygmunt Brauman states in his book Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age:

“When an electric circuit is overloaded the first part to burn is the fuse”¦ The effectiveness and the duration of the entire circuit—and as a consequence, the electricity that it is capable of absorbing and the work that it is capable of performing—cannot be greater than the resistance of the fuse. Once the fuse blows, the entire circuit fails.”

Are the circuits about to fail here too? We also need to ask, just why does the United States have such an insatiable demand for drugs?

Mexican cartels now primary source for U.S meth

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0KeidjfM0E
Thank you, Mexico. Thank you, China. Thank you, corrupt money laundering US banks and hedge funds. The youth of America salutes you.

A legitimate pharmaceutical company in India exports cold pills to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where they are falsely labeled as herbal supplements and shipped to Belize, and then to Veracruz by cargo container.

Dubai has long been known as nexus of smuggling and money-laundering.

The Chinese government concedes that it has no idea how many cold tablets its state-run companies sell each year. The Mexican government is unsure how much phenylacetic acid is used by legitimate manufacturers, such as Proctor & Gamble, and how much is diverted to the meth labs.

Golly, how could it be that the rigidly centralized Chinese economy, where the government often has controlling interest in private companies, just has no freaking clue whatsoever how much meth precursor its factories are cranking out or where it is going? The same logic applies to the apparently gobsmacked government of Mexico too, who appear suspiciously dazed and confused by the whole thing.

Border shooting video of 15 year old killed supposedly for throwing rocks

From Naked Capitalism

This video from a Mexican news broadcast… illustrates one of the mechanisms of propaganda: how the non or under reporting of key facts is used to manage popular perceptions. This video appears getting play only on CNN and some local newstations in the US.

The newswoman says the teenagers were throwing rocks, but as you can see from the video, unless they were using slingshots (and there is no evidence of that) they were so far away as to pose no threat to the border cop.

From the comments

This story is big, big news in Mexico, and it comes on the heels of another detainee who died in Border Patrol custody just a couple of weeks ago. And it’s all playing out with Arizona SB1070 as a backdrop.

The video offers ironclad evidence that the Border Patrol is lying.

The politicians here are playing this thing to the hilt to try to draw attention away from their own dismal record on human rights. Meanwhile, politicians in the US, most notably in Arizona, are whipping up anti-Mexican sentiment, trying to project their own failings onto Mexican immigrants who had almost nothing to do with causing Arizona’s severe economic downturn.

It really is a race to the bottom by unscrupulous politicians on both sides of the Rio Grande.

That’s a race no one wins.

One thing that some may not know. Many Border Patrol officers are Latino heritage themselves. This isn’t just about White supremacists, not hardly at all.

The border, as I’ve said before, is mostly out of control. We need a sane immigration policy. Now.

On that 90% of guns used in violence in Mexico coming from the US

bullets

CBS News

The problem with that statistic is that it is only partially true.

There is a word missing – and that word is “traced.”

The U.S. is responsible for over 90 percent of the traced firearms found in Mexico, but the vast majority of guns recovered in Mexico are not sent back to the U.S. to be traced because they are obviously made somewhere else.

Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar with weapons, like their illegal drugs, pouring into Mexican ports. And most importantly, the most powerful weapons like rocket propelled grenades, hand grenades and fully automatic assault weapons – are all illegal in the U.S. These are not weapons that can be bought over the counter in Texas and smuggled illegally into Mexico.

The article goes on to say, and I agree, that the real problem is drug use in the US. That’s what’s fueling the violence.

It’s time to seriously consider legalizing drugs. Before the insurgency spills over into the US. And it’s already in Phoenix and Tucson.

Tip: Reader Russell King, who emails:

The 90% story didn’t hold up. Now the NRA/Fox goons are using it as “proof” of how we — the Left, the media and the Obama administration — all conspired to spread this “deliberate lie.” These sons of bitches don’t need us to help them. From what I’m reading, the cartels are getting most of their full-auto weaponry from other countries, and some significant portion of their fire power is from Mexican cops/military who jump sides to the drug lords and take their weapons with them — weapons the US gov’t supplied to the Mexican gov’t.

I’m with you:  Legalize what they’re selling and their power will dry up.

Fudging statistics on Mexico

Two 9mm pistols available in any gun store-- even in California.
Two 9mm pistols available in any gun store-- even in California.

I’m an accountant, and by nature I analyze numbers.  So when Bob reported the oft-quoted statistic that 90% of the guns recovered in Mexico originated in the U.S., that statistic bothered me.  Don’t get me wrong: Bob accurately quoted his sources.  But his sources were fudging their numbers.

One commenter responded by quoting Fox News’s figure: only 17% of the guns recovered in Mexico originate in the U.S.  I sought the source of that statistic and found, without too much shock, that it too was wrong.

Annenburg Political Fact Check reviews the available statistics, debunks both figures, and comes up with their own.  They report that in 2007-2008, ATF traced 11,055 guns captured in Mexico and found that 10,347 of them originated in the U.S.  So more than 93% of the guns ATF traced originated on this side of the border.

But they didn’t trace every gun.  Mexican authorities say they captured 29,000 guns over the same period, but only submitted those they thought likely to originate in the U.S.  That means about 36% of the total number of guns captured originated in the U.S.

Annenberg warns that hard numbers are scarce, and this is at best a good estimate.  But it does suggest (as I suspected) that people on both sides of the issue are fudging their numbers.

While we’re on statistics, ATF reports that they have analyzed weapons seizures from the U.S. and come up with the following list of weapons favored by Mexican gangsters:

9mm pistols;
.38 Super pistols;
5.7mm pistols;
.45-caliber pistols;
AR-15 type rifles; and
AK-47 type rifles

As with everything else related to this issue, this report is ambiguous.  My best reading is that they analyzed seizures of weapons headed for Mexico, and that this list is in order of volume.  (It’s not listed by order of caliber, size, or name.)  If true, it suggests that 9mm, .38 Super, and .45 pistols are far more popular than assault rifles. Â That again is my best guess.  But it is clear there are an awful lot of ordinary (non-tactical) pistols heading for Mexico.

Is ten thousand weapons from the U.S. in two years too many?  Of course it is, and I support efforts to reduce the smuggling of weapons across the border.  (ATF offers this helpful list of the characteristics of a likely smuggler.) 

But take note: The most numerous weapons being smuggled are the same common pistols homeowners use for self-defense– nothing special.  And 2/3 of the weapons captured in Mexico came from somewhere other than the U.S. Â If we think we can stop the border violence by banning assault weapons here– or even all guns– we’re fooling ourselves.