Patterico's Pontifications


Juarez Violence Continues (Updated x2)

Filed under: Crime,International — DRJ @ 10:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Almost 2,000 people have been killed this year in Juarez, Mexico — just across the border from El Paso, Texas — including fifteen in one day:

Authorities say a 7-year-old boy, three women and a university professor are among 15 people who were killed in a single day in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez.

State prosecutor’s spokesman Arturo Sandoval says the child was traveling with his father in a pickup truck when gunmen opened fire Friday, killing them both.

Sandoval says three women were shot to death in two separate incidents. A university professor was killed in a residential area.”

Joint Mexican police-military operations are viewed as a failure so Juarez businessmen have asked for UN peacekeepers:

“This is a proposal … for international forces to come here to help out the domestic (security) forces,” said Daniel Murguia, president of the Ciudad Juarez chapter of the National Chamber of Commerce, Services and Tourism. “There is a lot of extortions and robberies of businesses. Many businesses are closing.

The government has sent more than 5,000 soldiers to the city across the border from El Paso, Texas, but killings, extortions and kidnappings continue.

Ciudad Juarez has had 1,986 homicides through mid-October this year – averaging seven a day in the city of 1.5 million people.

“We have seen the U.N. peacekeepers enter other countries that have a lot fewer problems than we have,” Murguia said.”

Juarez reportedly has one of the highest homicide rates of any city in the world.


UPDATE 11/16/09: The 7-year-old boy was an El Paso resident visiting his father. Police believe the father was shot first and his son was shot several times in the back as he tried to run away.

UPDATE 11/17/09: The Houston Chronicle reports incidents of vigilantism may be on the rise.

36 Responses to “Juarez Violence Continues (Updated x2)”

  1. It would be a mistake to think any of this was culturally rooted. It’ll be super helpful that the little president man is gonna search 100% of everything what we ship to Mexico. You’ll see.

    happyfeet (b919e7)

  2. Since I’m in a speculative mood (given that post at the Jury), does a situation like this merit US intervention (in light of the geopolitical significance of such chaos so close to our own borders)?

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  3. I say we have to turn off the flow of guns to Mexico. This wouldn’t require searching every single thing we ship there, but simply regulating the gun industry properly. By this effort we’d be doing ourselves a favor too.

    mikeb302000 (bb6117)

  4. They need to call in Chuck Norris.

    Gina (9ec8ce)

  5. I say we have to turn off the flow of guns to Mexico.
    You can search everything that crosses from the US to Mexico and get every gun. The only issue you have is 90% of the guns come from sources through Iran and China.

    Sanmon (319c0c)

  6. And mike let me guess, by regulating the gun industry you mean shutting it down, banning the sale of firearms to US civilians and confiscating weapons in the hands of law abiding US citizens.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  7. Maybe Obama should go bow to them and then everyone would get along.

    mortus (0081ac)

  8. I am sure Hillary will be on her way to let everybody know that these problems are America’s fault.

    Baxter Greene (af5030)

  9. Whatever happens, make sure you don’t control the border.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  10. UN Peacekeepers, great idea. Just make sure your cute 11 year old daughters never go near ’em.

    glenn (757adc)

  11. UN peace keepers are only a threat to underage children. The Zetas and drug dealers will slice them and dice them. It would not be pretty.

    Gazzer (f4dafa)

  12. It might help if the police and soldiers weren’t as corrupt as the criminals. If not more so.

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  13. Yea, Mike, it’s the guns that are the problem. Not the low life scum that use them. You probably believe in the Easter bunny, Tooth Fairy, and that Feinstein and Boxer have done a wonderful job with gun regulation in the Socialist State of Kalifornia. You are a boob.

    PatriotRider (1729de)

  14. Have Blue, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  15. Legalizing drugs would destroy the cartels’ business model, hence their power. I know that’s not a popular view here, but it should be considered.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  16. Baghdad by the Border.

    Maybe our little president man should go and bow to their president, and that will erase the years of our racism and imperialism that dhis. (I’m previewing the next NYT article on the subject.)

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  17. Bradley,

    I’m not against legalization in theory but I’m not sure it would help. There would still be smuggling to avoid taxes, and it would do nothing to stop the human trafficking.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  18. “…Legalizing drugs…”

    In light of the several liberalizations of immigration law going back 40-some years,
    how has that worked in stopping the flow of illegal-immigrants?

    Why would it be any different with the drug problem?

    The killings in Juarez should be a national disgrace for our Southern neighbor,
    even as much as the decades-old problem of disappeared-women
    (BTW DRJ, just what are the latest numbers on such women in Juarez?);
    but it doesn’t seem to be, for they refuse to take any substantive corrective action.

    AD - RtR/OS! (603f4e)

  19. DRJ, I must agree w/ Mr. Fikes. I have heard a statistic (for which I am too lazy to search for at the moment..) that something upwards of %80 of the monies generated for the various cartels are from marijuana smuggling. I’d happily see an %80 revenue reduction for those scum – and the “perfect” should not be an enemy of the “good”, especially when pusuit of the perfect has brought the situation to this horrific state.

    Oh, and HappyFeet – the assignment of this to a cultural malfunction was the first thing that crossed my mind. And I’m not very proud of that, but an electorate steeped in identity politics might start to analyize extreme situations in just that way. Come to think of it, I’m not only _not_ proud, that realization makes me a little sick to my stomach.

    JSinAZ (ae2d5e)

  20. Maybe so, JSinAZ, but I think the cartels have no incentive to become law-abiding organizations as long as they have their Mexican safe harbor to operate from. Why should they use their profits to pay taxes when they can keep those profits and sell drugs, too? It’s not like in America, where operating legally lets businesses save money because they don’t need to pay for private security, extortion payoffs, bribes, etc. The cartels will still have to pay for those things in Mexico, as well as pay American tax collectors.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  21. Oh, but if they were legal, then they could buy their guns in gunshops here in the States, paying 10-15 times what they now pay for those weapons in the International arms-trade, and getting semi-auto versions of the submachine-guns they are buying (and using) now!

    Oh, and mikewithallthenumbers…
    You’re a Moron!

    AD - RtR/OS! (603f4e)

  22. Why would it be any different with the drug problem?

    Because the economic forces in each case are opposite. Illegal immigrants work for sub-minimum wages, otherwise they wouldn’t be hired.

    Drugs, on the other hand, are priced far higher than in a free market because they are illegal. Those high prices are the reason the drug cartels exist. Legalize drugs and the high prices vanish. The drug cartels are all about making money; violence is just a tool to that end. Take away the money and the cartels have no reason to exist.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  23. Fundamentally, isn’t the call for UN Peacekeepers is really the same thing as a declaration that the government in Mexico has failed (in the State Department “failed state” sense)? That is the really frightnening and unemphasized point here – an alledgedly sovereign state declaring that they contain a metastatic cancer from within?

    I would love some Mexican offical explain how the Blue Helments with their typical “cannot engage the enemy even if they whack you with a machete” rules of engagement would have any effect on the situation. Perhaps the thought is that the loved-ones of those forces aren’t subject to the same extortion if they’re from Nepal instead of Sonora?

    JSinAZ (ae2d5e)

  24. “[…] they cannot contain a metastatic […]”. Dang it.

    JSinAZ (ae2d5e)

  25. Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 11/15/2009 @ 12:43 pm

    Then, in a “swords to plowshares” moment, I suppose we’ll take all of the DEA types and convert them to Board of Equalization agents to license, tax, and regulate all of the drug businesses?
    Just what level of taxation, Federal and State, should be leveled against drugs?
    Do we develop an “intoxication factor” similar to “proof level” to levy taxes; and what are the similarities of “uppers” and “downers” for the purposes of taxation?
    Do we legalize all drugs? Or, just the minor ones?
    If not all, doesn’t that just start the game over?
    And, if there are different levels (and amounts) of taxation (think cigarettes in various states), doesn’t that substitute inter-state smuggling for international smuggling?

    The problem here is that we have developed a Century’s worth of drug regulation that we did not have to deal with in the repeal of the Volstedt Act; and though the goal may be admirable, the road to it is laced with innumerable IED’s.

    AD - RtR/OS! (603f4e)

  26. I say we have to turn off the flow of guns to Mexico.

    Mexico suffers not from the inanimate (ie, weaponry) as much as from the idiocy of a large percentage of its voters. Elections there pretty much mimic what happens in urban or inner-city America, in that prospective candidates for a variety of political positions who are truly centrist to conservative need not apply. That is symbolized by Mexico’s Supreme Court ruling a few years ago that life in prison without parole — not capital punishment, mind you, but jailtime without parole — was unconstitutional.

    The only reason an ultra-liberal (the former mayor of Mexico City and an avowed Socialist) running for the presidency of Mexico lost the election in 2006 was because a majority of votes was split between him and another liberal in the election. So the centrist, if you will, won by default.

    When most Mexicans want to see who is most responsible for the never-ending mess of their country, they need only look in the mirror.

    Mark (411533)

  27. I’m not against legalization in theory but I’m not sure it would help.

    Even more so since the legal and political system in Mexico is so full of corruption and pourous enforcement that for all intents and purposes, narcotics already are legal in that nation.

    Believing that the legality or illegality of intoxicants is at the heart of Mexico’s crime problem is not much less naive than believing that Mexico was a truly stable, prosperous, ideal, non-impoverished society before the era of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc.

    Mark (411533)

  28. This is similar to what Mark said but how do you eliminate the cartels by reducing prices, Bradley? Liquor and cigarette smugglers didn’t go away after legalization and neither will drug smugglers, especially if the Mexican government is protecting them. Legalization would add legal drug sellers to the mix but there will always be a market for a cheaper tax-free product.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  29. Liquor and cigarette smugglers didn’t go away after legalization and neither will drug smugglers […]

    Certainly true. The relevant question is though: by how many orders of magnitude is the traffic in illegal product reduced verses the purely illegal (and extremely profitable) traffic now. Would Capone find enough money in today’s illegal alcohol market to be able to corrupt an entire city (and arguably, state) government?

    As a (tendentious) aside, I gather the best marijuana is produced in California and Canada anyway, so my bet is that the market would be slim for the Mexican product. How much Mexican Scotch do you see on the shelves, anyway?

    JSinAZ (ae2d5e)

  30. I don’t know. Logically, it seems like it would reduce the volume but that’s just a gut feeling, not something I know. Of course, logic also tells me there wouldn’t be a market for cigarette smuggling, but there is. And steep Canadian excise taxes created a market for smuggled American liquor, a “major source of revenue for organized crime.” At what point would U.S. taxes on drugs do the same?

    DRJ (dee47d)

  31. D – RtR/OS!,
    Those are all good questions. I’d like to see us get to work on answering them.
    We could start by legalizing the drugs that produce the most revenue for the cartels — after all, this is economic warfare. We could levy “sin taxes” like those on cigarettes and alcohol, with the money raised dedicated toward drug treatment programs. Even with those taxes, the legal price of drugs would plummet.

    Surviving drug cartels would be much reduced in power post-legalization, because most of their revenue would be gone. It takes copious cash to hire hitmen, bribe politicians and build what amounts to a state-within-a-state. You don’t see that kind of scale, or viciousness, with cigarette or booze smugglers.
    Illegal drug cartels are so violent because only the violent can survive to reap the enormous amounts of cash. It’s a Darwinian experiment, in which we are breeding for the most vicious, the most nasty of survivors.
    I think the reason for cigarette smuggling is that taxes have risen so considerably there is money to be made by smuggling. With legalizing drugs, even taxed, the trend would be in the opposite direction.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  32. DRJ, it is an interesting question as to where the risk / reward plots intersect. I’d be interested in an multi-dimensional economic analysis of the problem, but I’m sure I wouldn’t completely understand the data and probably wouldn’t really trust the summary (it would be produced by economists, after all…)

    Your remark about how the sort of Laffer curve phenomena where the rate of taxation can become high enough to make the risk sufficiently rewarding goes exactly to the point, but misses the secondary effects of the situation – the monies generated from the illegally sold product can be “reinvested” in the community through bribes, keeping assasins on retainer, etc. That is the part of the dynamic that really exacts the kinds of costs the citizens of Juarez are paying now, whether they are part of the drug trade or not.

    JSinAZ (ae2d5e)

  33. Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 11/15/2009 @ 5:28 pm

    A first step for me is for the Congress to fund an actual, long-term, scientific study of the effects of canabis on the human body and mind, so that we might quantify those effects vis-a-vis those of alcohol, and devise a proper regimen of regulation.
    Isn’t that what the FDA should be doing?

    AD - RtR/OS! (603f4e)

  34. UN Peacekeepers? They aren’t sent in to establish peace, but to pretend to maintain it. Only after the shooting stops would the UN send them in, and if the shooting starts back up, they’ll be forbidden to intervene.

    Remember Rwanda? UN Peacekeepers were ordered to stand aside and let the genocide happen.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  35. I’ve updated the post with more details on the death of the 7-year-old boy.

    DRJ (dee47d)

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