Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”     Robert A. Heinlein

March 2, 2009

The Root of the Mexican Drug Cartel Violence Spillover Into the U.S.

by Stephen Littau

For those of you who believe that Libertarians focus too much on the War on (Some) Drugs, perhaps it’s time to pay attention to the escalating violence in Mexico which is spilling over into the U.S.

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Hit men dressed in fake police tactical gear burst into a home in Phoenix, rake it with gunfire and execute a man.

Armed kidnappers snatch victims from cars and even a local shopping mall across the Phoenix valley for ransom, turning the sun-baked city into the “kidnap capital” of the United States.

Violence of this kind is common in Mexico where drug cartel abductions and executions are a daily feature of a raging drug war that claimed 6,000 lives south of the border last year.

But U.S. authorities now fear that violent crime is beginning to bleed over the porous Mexico border and take hold here.

“The fight in Mexico is about domination of the smuggling corridors and those corridors don’t stop at the border,” Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said.

Execution style murders, violent home invasions, and a spiraling kidnap rate in Phoenix — where police reported an average of one abduction a day last year linked to Mexican crime — are not the only examples along the border.

This is so disturbing on so many levels. In a time when SWAT teams conduct midnight no-knock raids (sometimes on the wrong home) on unsuspecting occupants, its especially distressing to think that even if the occupants comprehend an announcement and see that the intruders are wearing police gear that the occupants must then determine if the intruders are in-fact who they say they are. Either way, all parties involved are placed in a dangerous situation.

What is a resident to do?

To surrender is to take the chance that the intruders are the police. If s/he is wrong, s/he risks kidnapping, robbery, raping, torture, and/or death.

To stand one’s ground and take the chance that the intruders are not the police escalates the situation which can result in death and/or loss of freedom (imprisonment).

This potential for confusion in itself suggests to me that all SWAT drug raids should be immediately halted at least until this spillover along the Mexican border is under control. The question is: how?

Conservatives suggest building a fence or wall along the border. While this approach might slow down the flow of drug and people trafficking, this in itself does not deal with the root problems and would not stop the spillover. If drugs can get past the walls of a maximum security prison, how is it possible to believe that a wall would prevent drugs from making their way into our country?

Some on the Left believe that greater gun control measures would make acquiring firearms more difficult for the drug cartels. Besides the obvious infringements against the Second Amendment, the bad guys always manage to get their weapons of choice. This approach also does not deal with the root of the problem.

This brings me to the root of the problem:

While some Americans may feel victimized by the spillover of violence, others are contributing to it. Americans provide 95 percent of the weapons used by the cartel, according to U.S. authorities. And Americans are the cartels’ best customers, sending an estimated $28.5 billion in drug-sale proceeds across the Mexico border each year.

As long as there is a demand for these drugs, there will be someone willing to supply these drugs. In the days of Prohibition, Al Capone supplied a particular demand; today this demand is supplied by Jack Daniels, Anheuser-Busch, and many thousands of others. When Anheuser-Busch has a dispute with competitors or customers, the dispute is settled in a court of law rather than the streets. There is every reason to believe that lifting drug prohibition would work the same way.

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5 Comments

  1. Remember back a couple years ago when you weren’t allowed to bring up the border situation without being a secret Nazi racist nativist?

    Comment by CriminalJustice — March 2, 2009 @ 2:38 pm
  2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Someone no-knocks my house, I’m assuming they are criminals, and they are going down.

    The “come back with a warrant” door mat is not a joke.

    If I die in the process, oh well. I’d rather not take the chance that my wife and daughters get kidnapped and raped thanks much.

    Comment by Chris — March 2, 2009 @ 2:59 pm
  3. Chris,

    How concerned are you about this issue, living in the kidnapping capital of the U.S.?

    (It wasn’t that long ago that I lived in Phoenix. Have things really changed that much since I left in 2006?)

    Comment by Stephen Littau — March 2, 2009 @ 3:04 pm
  4. Yeah, A couple of my friends want to go camping in the Chiracahuas. I told them we could go, but I was gonna be armed to the hilt.

    Comment by Nick M. — March 2, 2009 @ 5:00 pm
  5. Stephen,

    Am I specifically worried about the kidnap threat? Not really. Though it is publicly known that I am an exec at a bank; it is also publicly known that I am armed at all times, as is my wife.

    Having it well known that you have a shotgun at arms reach at all time while in your home, is a wonderful deterrent.

    Comment by Chris — March 2, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

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