Weir Only Human
Each year in our country, about twice as many people die from illegal drug overdoses than from firearms. Moreover, the overwhelming number of deaths from firearms is perpetrated by those with illegal guns. Yet, all we hear about are efforts to take guns away from those who own them legally. We also hear about the Mexican drug cartels that flood our country with their poisons and make hundreds of billions of dollars annually for, essentially, murdering American citizens. In addition, those same malevolent gangs are responsible for human trafficking that destroys thousands of other lives.
Mexico’s brutal drug and human trafficking-related violence has been dramatically punctuated by beheadings, public hanging of corpses, car bombs, and murders of dozens of journalists and government officials. Organized crime groups have splintered and diversified their crime activities, turning to extortion, kidnapping, auto theft, oil smuggling, human smuggling, retail drug sales, and other illicit enterprises. For more than a decade, Members of Congress convened numerous hearings dealing with the violence in Mexico and border security issues. A few years ago, during a CIA investigation into Mexican drug cartels, two CIA workers were shot by Mexican federal police with ties to the cartels.
These vicious criminal gangs use car bombs, grenades, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, such as the one used to bring down a Mexican army helicopter in May 2015, which raised concerns that some Mexican drug traffickers may be adopting insurgent or terrorist techniques. Potential harm from Mexico’s criminal groups, or transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), as the U.S. Department of Justice now identifies them, is due in large part to their control of and efforts to move illicit drugs and to expand aggressively into the heroin and synthetic opioids market. Increasingly Mexico has become a transit country for powerful synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.
The ruthlessness of these cartels is underscored by the large increase in political candidates that were murdered during the 2018 electoral season in Mexico. The terror they spread caused some candidates to withdraw from their races in order to avoid violence to themselves or their staffs and families. This poses a serious threat to civil order and the justice system throughout Latin America and the US. Crime linked to violence, such as extortion, kidnapping and violent robbery, has also risen as the criminal gangs have diversified their activities. The U.S. Congress has expressed concern over the violence and has sought to provide oversight on U.S.-Mexican security cooperation. They are evaluating how the Mexican government is combating the illicit drug trade, working to reduce related violence, and monitor the effects of drug trafficking and violence that challenges the security of both the United States and Mexico.
In March 2017, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in support of both Mexico and China and their efforts to achieve reductions in fentanyl production and trafficking. Meanwhile, the Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) are the major wholesalers of illegal drugs in the United States and are increasingly gaining control of U.S. retail-level distribution through alliances with U.S. gangs. The DTOs use the tools of bribery and violence. Violence is used to discipline employees, enforce transactions and limit the entry of competitors. Bribery and corruption help to neutralize government action against the DTOs, ensure impunity, and facilitate smooth operations.
The proceeds of drug sales are used in part to corrupt U.S. and Mexican border officials, Mexican law enforcement, security forces, and public officials either to ignore DTO activities or to actively support and protect them. When corruption fails to achieve cooperation and acquiescence, violence is the ready alternative. Police corruption has been so extensive in Mexico that law enforcement officials corrupted or infiltrated by the DTOs are the ones carrying out their violent assignments. One wonders why our country doesn’t go to war against a criminal organization that’s causing about 75,000 deaths of our citizens each year. We lost about 58,000 soldiers in the Vietnam War over a period of several years.
Essentially, we sent Americans halfway around the world to fight a country that wasn’t killing Americans and it resulted in the death of a massive amount of Americans. Given the power of the US military, which costs taxpayers over $500 billion annually, why not use some of that power to eradicate drug cartels that are killing Americans right here on our own soil? Is it possible that the cartels’ system of bribery and violence has corrupted some of the more timorous folks that run our country? With their massive amount of cash and their propensity toward violence, are they capable of bribing or scaring key members of the Senate and House of Representatives? The safety of our citizens is the most important role of government. Losing untold thousands of our citizens every year to drug and human traffickers means the government is failing us big time.
Bob Weir is a veteran of 20 years with the New York Police Dept. (NYPD), ten of which were performed in plainclothes undercover assignments. Bob began a writing career about 16 years ago and had his first book published in 1999. He also became a syndicated columnist under the title “Weir Only Human.”