Guns, drugs, and La Barbie: Why America is responsible for Mexican drug cartels
Drug lords like La Barbie threaten Mexico's security with American-bought firearms, and finance their violent empires with American drug money.
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Through rampant kidnapping of employees, the cartels even shut down major northeastern operations of Pemex, the state oil company and largest source of national income. Their goal was not free oil – they’ve been stealing it for years – but rather, regional control.Skip to next paragraph
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While it’s clear that certain members of our community are complicit to the situation south of the border, why does this morally implicate the entire nation and federal government? Surely, no US leader supports our illegal drug purchases and weapon sales. The response is that there are huge numbers of fellow citizens involved, and the government does little to combat the problem. A nation can be responsible for its inaction, too.
If we take our moral status seriously, both as a people that supports young democracies and as one that doesn’t inflict fatal damage on allies wantonly and glibly, then we need to prioritize this problem. From a more self-regarding perspective, consider that the chaos in parts of Mexico creates greater incentives for illegal immigration. And narco-states are not friendly neighbors.
As to the guns, there aren’t any magic policy bullets, but closing down the gun shops arrayed at the border, possibly though zoning laws, is a good start. The 2nd Amendment doesn’t cover Mexican drug lords, gladly. We should also increase the penalties for smuggling weapons.
As to the money, we need to think harder and faster about stemming the demand for drugs, and find the maturity to discuss the legalization and regulation of some recreational drugs, which would funnel the funds away from the cartels, even if we ultimately reject such arguments. A less dramatic start, however, would be a public advertising campaign that informs people where the money goes when they buy cocaine.
We must also fulfill our pledge under the Merida Initiative, signed by President Bush in 2006, to donate $1.3 billion worth of helicopters, police training, and other assistance for the war against the cartels.
Here’s the deal we’ve signed on to. In return for dangerous drugs and illegal immigrants, we give brutal drug lords billions of dollars and enough weapons to take on a major army, terrorize millions of civilians, and threaten a democracy. There’s no subtlety to our misdeeds. It’s moral philosophy for kindergartners.