The Fire Down Below: an Unstable Mexico

This past Friday night there was a massacre at a birthday party in Ciudad Juarez, which has been called one of the world's deadliest cities. It's less than 10 miles from El Paso, Texas. The teenagers celebrated the birthday at home because the turf wars between drug gangs make it too dangerous to go out.

According to the Associated Press, “police found 70 bullet casings from assault weapons typically used by drug gangs whose bloody turf battles have killed more than 2,000 people this year in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.” Earlier this year, there were two similar attacks at parties in the same area. Seven people were killed at one party, fifteen at the other.

Then there was the case in south Texas, where earlier this month, a husband and wife were riding Jet Skis on Falcon Lake, and were shot at, presumably by Mexican pirates when they crossed into Mexican waters. The husband was killed when a bullet struck his head.

Concerning the increasing violence in Mexico, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said "These drug cartels are now taking on a lot of the attributes of these terrorists and insurgent groups we see around the world. For the first time, they are using car bombings. You see them being much more organized in a kind of paramilitary way."

Mexican officials were offended when Secretary Clinton compared their country to Columbia. It's a matter of pride, I suppose. That's about as petty as the concerns of Americans this past decade, with all the complaining about illegal immigrants leaving dirty diapers on their property as they traveled north. Equally petty are the complaints about Mexicans stealing our minimum wage jobs and receiving free care in our hospital emergency rooms. While we've been complaining about litter and lawn mowing jobs, and insisting people produce their green cards on demand, the able bodied men left in Mexico have been incubating what could be our biggest threat.

This is what happens when we allow selfishness and racism to monopolize our policy and political dialogue. We become so distracted by petty foolishness, that we don't even consider the importance of a stable, safe, functioning Mexico until the violence- incredibly gruesome and brutal violence- is spiraling out of control.

Years ago, when we were whining about potential amnesty for illegal immigrants, we should have been wondering what we could do to help Mexico become a place its citizens didn't want to flee. It's common decency. It's what we'd do with any other neighbor. If the lady next door began to act as though she liked your house more than hers, you'd wonder if things were okay next door. Is she being mistreated? Is there something you can do to help?

When the US has a neighbor in trouble, we don't concern ourselves with root causes. We complain about people using our schools without paying taxes. We turn up our collective nose and build fences. Fences that wouldn't be much protection against a terrorist attack.

Because we're not the only ones with a weak southern border. It's far too easy for Middle Eastern terrorists to enter Mexico by way of Central America and work their way north. I'm thinking the kind of maniacal criminals raising hell in Mexico would happily pocket some cash in exchange for facilitating a terrorist attack against this country. Even if Mexico managed to secure its southern border before that happened, there's still the chance that the country will dissolve into civil war. Their authorities are beyond overwhelmed.

The American troops we exhausted on multiple tours of duty in Iraq would better serve us closer to home. Because when the you-know-what in Mexico hits the proverbial fan, it'll fly right over those precious fences of ours, right into our slack, superior faces.

Meanwhile, we complain because Spanish is offered as an option on the automated line when we call the phone company.



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