Mexico Debates New Security Bill

by hromero @, Monday, December 04, 2017, 08:51 (10 days ago) @ Labrat

I would like to interject a different idea to see if this helps understand how the U.S. has a shared responsibility with the drug violence gripping Mexico and much of the rest of the Americas.

I have seen many conversations on this board about the turtle egg poachers on our beach and I believe that is mostly uncontroversial that the poaching of the turtle eggs is a problem that is threatening that species. So why are the poachers going out in the middle of the night to wait for the turtles to come on to the beach and search for their nests in order to harvest them? Because there is a market where they can sell those eggs for personal profit. There are thousands of KM of beaches to monitor to go after the people who are poaching the eggs and the resources required to successfully monitor those beaches and prevent poaching would be vast. If we could instead educate the populace about why buying turtle eggs and eating them is bad for them and for the environment and encourage them to NOT buy them then we would remove the incentive for the poaching. The consumers of the turtle eggs have a shared responsibility in the declining viability of the sea turtle population.

The sea turtle scenario above has a lot of parallels to the drug problem.

U.S. citizens are by far the largest consumer of illicit drugs. We made a decision as a country, 40 years ago, that the way to fix that was to "go to war". We have devoted ever more resources to that war during that period only to find out that every time we apply pressure in one place the suppliers move someplace else. If we instead focused our efforts on treatment for the users at home so that the demand could be reduced it would rob the suppliers everywhere of their source of money. As the consumers we have a shared responsibility. When U.S. consumers spend approximately $100 billion on illicit drugs per year and the entire Mexican economy is about $1 trillion it is easy to see how the dollars spent on consumption would be VERY difficult for the Mexican people to combat that pressure. Mexico, a country with many people that I love in it, has its own issues that need to be addressed and require self reflection.

I have two family members who have succumb to addiction to meth and I know from seeing what it has done to them that it is a terrible drug that we should by no means encourage. Our insistence on a military approach to combating that has been an abject failure from my perspective that not only hasn't helped ourselves but has inflicted a lot of pain on our neighbors. We have an example of a successful education/treatment program that brings down usage in the form of cigarette smoking. We didn't prohibit it but instead created revenues for the state from the sales that were at least partially used for successful campaigns that have vastly reduced smoking. People who wish to continue smoking may still do so at their own risk but they don't have to go to an underworld organization. The U.S. is a country that I can be proud of because we created a system that can recognize when we make mistakes and change course to improve ourselves. I think we can do better in this case.

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