From the 08 September 2008 Lockport Union Sun and Journal (Lockport, NY)

By Bob Confer

As a general rule of thumb, Americans are an extremely ethnocentric lot and care very little about other nations. Sure, every year our government provides untold billions of dollars in financial aid and military might to other countries, but, overall, our citizens are completely disconnected from the realities of the world we live in. Compared to the news media of other developed nations our news agencies provide very limited Ė and sometimes non-existent Ė coverage of global happenings unless they might have a significant short-term impact on America.

That way of thinking is not only unfortunate from a philosophical standpoint (why do we so devalue others?) but it can also cause some problems down the road when we finally do find out about the problem, which is typically after weíve stepped right into the mess. Our shortsightedness has proven time and time again to be our undoing, our reactions being too little too late.

A current international issue with long-term implications that weíve chosen to ignore is that of Mexicoís drug problem. To most Americans itís a given that some of Mexicoís drug problem is our problem, too. The statistics do not belie this: According to the CIA, 90% of all cocaine used in the United States is trafficked through Mexico and Mexicans produce 10,000 tons of weed and 25 tons of heroin imported into the US. They might give us our drugs, but thatís where the shared problem ends as does our understanding of the issue. The drug culture that we obsess about here in the States pales in comparison to whatís going on in Mexico.

What sets their drug problem apart from ours is the frightening drug-related violence so pervasive in their urban areas. Itís nothing like the violence on our streets. What the gangs do in Mexico makes their American counterparts Ė the much-feared Latin Kings Ė look like choir boys. So far this year nearly 3,000 Mexicans are known to have had their lives taken by drug violence. The numbers are frightening, but itís the sheer brutality of the violence thatís most unsettling. Perhaps as a means to send a message to their enemies, the drug traffickers typically beat their victims mercilessly for minutes or hours on end and then execute them in an extremely-exaggerated gangland style, most bodies ending up riddled with dozens of bullet holes. Thatís almost pedestrian compared to recent acts of violence. Two weeks ago a pile of 12 bodies was found in Meridia, a city thought to have been spared by drug violence. Every one of those bodies was decapitated.

What these gangs are doing is not run-of-the-mill impersonalized violence. Itís personalized, direct-contact butchering, a sign that the traffickers are overcome with unparalleled amounts of evil and are as completely indifferent to humanity as Middle Eastern terrorists are. And, that is when you know that youíve truly lost control of a situation; No police force or government agency has a chance of easily stopping gangs that far gone. As a matter of fact, the government is in their sights, too. These gangs routinely assassinate police officers and two weeks ago took the lives of two police chiefs in neighboring cities, only hours into their new jobs.

Americans need to keep a close eye on this breed of violence, not only because itís occurring in a neighboring nation, but more so for the reason that the chances are very good this bloodshed will soon be happening on American soil. The drugs at the center of the killings are mostly going to the USA, brought by deliverymen bringing with them their new ultra-aggressive culture. Add to that the millions of Mexicans who have Ė and continue to Ė illegally emigrate into the states and you wonder when our Southwestern cities will be taken over by the blood-thirsty pigs.

It can even happen here in the North. Think back to 2005, when numerous Hispanics posing as migrant workers used a town of Lockport home as the regional hub for distribution of Mexican cocaine. They were armed to the teeth. You donít think they would have done harm to anyone who crossed them or might have stumbled onto their drug ring? They probably did and we just donít know about it.

We need to do something before itís too late. What can we do? Sending troops to Mexico is not an answer. Strengthening our border security is. Getting illegals out of the US is. Ramping up inner-city police coverage is. Wiping the drug traders off our streets is. For now, though, itís extremely important that we just pay attention to whatís happening in Mexico, understand the beast and ready ourselves for it. Frankly, if we donít, all of Mexicoís drug problems will one day be ours, too.