In Drug War, cartels are winning

So far this year 324 police officers and soldiers have been killed as a direct result of the drug war. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

So today I read an article in USA Today about the Mexican drug war escalating. Even further. Apparently cartels are luring officers into ambushes and traps, then opening fire and mowing them down. To give you an idea: on Monday there were 95 drug-related deaths in Mexico, a record since President Calderón’s infamous crackdown in 2006. But the most baffling part of the article was the complete and total absence of any legalization discussion. It even offers a quote from a supposed “crime expert” from a Mexico City graduate school who appears to be puzzled by the behavior of the cartels, saying “These are war-fighting tactics they’re using. It’s gone way beyond the normal strategies of organized crime.”

No shit? The people who traffic drugs, on whom you’ve declared A WAR, are now using war-like tactics against you? I have no idea how this is surprising. What I find surprising is the lack of any logic in this battle against drug trafficking. Here’s the scenario the governments of the U.S. and Mexico are participating in:

Step 1: Ban substances, thus creating a lucrative black market that creates a huge profit motivator to sell these otherwise cheap and available substances (marijuana being the main source of revenue and the most popular among consumers).

Step 2: Declare a war on those who grow, sell, buy and use these substances.

Step 3: Provide as much firepower and armed policemen and National Guardsmen as possible without compromising security to go after the drug traffickers- who are purchasing even more guns and hiring even more men with all of their black market profits.

Step 4: Act really, really confused when these people start killing all of your policemen and stealing all the big guns you bought for them to use to kill more policemen.

Will our governments ever wake up to the real solution to the problem here? When alcohol prohibition was repealed, it was because of a depression. In a depression, statistically drug and alcohol use tends to go up, and of course federal and state budgets tend to go down. Thus the illegal traffickers are raking in more money while law enforcement agencies earn less and less. The scales eventually tip, and the traffickers gain an enormous advantage  in both money and firepower. The only way to successfully end the violence in Mexico and to prevent any violence related to the buying and selling of drugs is to legalize and regulate these substances in some manner. With marijuana, regulation similar to alcohol would be appropriate, and with other substances of course some other method might be preferred, such as allowing doctors or psychologists to prescribe them. But no one should be subject to arrest for possession or sale of any substance. The black market prohibition creates is literally killing our bravest law enforcement officers. End prohibition now, before more cops are needlessly slain.


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