Friday, October 12, 2012

The Drug War's Forgotten Children

One of the most common counterpoints to cannabis prohibition is the argument "What about the children?"

Suburban parents with teenagers can understandably overcompensate by being overly protective when it comes to their children and drugs.  In no way do I begrudge a parent for wanting to protect their children.  In fact, I'd do the same.  However, I don't believe our country's current drug policies are the best way to protect them.

If the people who support cannabis prohibition want to use the argument "what about the children?" it is imperative to take into consideration all children ... not just the children in the United States. My argument is what is the best policy for ALL of the children?  For one moment put yourself in the position of a parent in Mexico, where the drug policies of another nation affect your own children negatively, yet you have no recourse ... no way to vote, or establish means to correct the problem.

How has the United States' drug war negatively affected children in Mexico and Latin America?   I have compiled some research that demonstrates how cannabis prohibition hurts children in other countries, as well as the United States.   References and quotes are based off websites that report news:

Shootout at Mexican hospital (Youtube video, embedding is disabled)

This video shows parents with small children fleeing a hospital because two victims of drug cartel violence were being treated there, so the attackers went there to finish off the job. Doctors and nurses lives are threatened if they treat gunshot patients. Ambulance drivers and first responders take a chance every time they attempt to save someones life.

You never hear about drug cartels shooting up a hospital and assassinating people in the U.S.

Border Patrol agent fires at rock-throwers in Mexico, killing teen

In this article, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed a Mexican teen throwing rocks at  him from across the border. The Border Patrol agent was there responding to a call to investigate alleged drug smuggling activity.

Another teen died the same way just 2 years ago. According to this article, the family tried to sue the United States government for the unlawful death of their child and failed. Here is why.

"Border agents are generally allowed to use lethal force against rock throwers.
In 2010, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent firing his weapon from El Paso, Texas, into Juarez, Mexico. Some witnesses said people on the Mexican side of the river, including the teen, were throwing rocks at the agent as he tried to arrest an illegal immigrant crossing the Rio Grande.

A federal judge in El Paso last year dismissed a lawsuit by the family of the boy because the teen was on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande when he was shot. U.S. law gives the government immunity when such claims arise in a foreign country, the judge noted."

 Mexico Teen Assassin Arrested, Suspected Of 50 Killings

 "Mexican prosecutors said Thursday they were investigating a 16-year-old suspected hitman who was believed to have participated in at least 50 murders while working for a drug gang.

A spokesman for prosecutors in the northeastern state of Sinaloa said the teenager, identified as Francisco Miguel N., was part of a gang known as Los Mazatlecos, a criminal group attached to the Beltran Leyva drugs cartel.

Police arrested the teen for carrying a loaded gun and drugs. He later confessed to working as a hitman for the group, local prosecutors said in a statement.

The teenager said he had taken part in executions of police, farmers and even a musician since February.

The 16-year-old, one of whose nicknames was "El Nino" or "The Boy," said he was given an AK-47 rifle and a pistol to carry out the various attacks in Sinaloa, a violent coastal state with a long tradition of drug trafficking.

Sinaloa is home to the powerful drug cartel of the same name, led by Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman. Once allied to Guzman, the Beltran Leyva gang has fought with him since breaking from the Sinaloa cartel in 2008.

A number of teenagers have been captured working for drug gangs, lured by the prospect of quick money. In June 2011, a group of six teenage drug gang members were captured after a shootout with police in central Mexico."

U.S. teen admits to beheading 4 for Mexico drug gang   

Soldiers detained Edgar Jimenez late Thursday at an airport outside Cuernavaca, 50 miles south of Mexico City, as he prepared to board a flight to Tijuana."

"I didn't know what I was doing," Jimenez said, according to media accounts, but added that he was paid $2,500 per killing. Army officials accused Jimenez's sister, identified as 19-year-old Elizabeth, of also working for the gang. Neither has been formerly charged.

Jimenez said he was sorry to have gotten involved both with Mexican gangsters and with killing people. If he beats the charges, he said, he'll change his ways.

"I didn't join," he said of his gangland career, which reportedly began when he was 12. "They pulled me in."

 "Molly Molloy, a researcher at New Mexico State University, tallies more than 100,000 Mexicans killed to wage a war financed and mandated by American authorities and led by Mexican president Felipe Calderón.
The carnage has been so remarkable — mass executions, beheadings, mutilations, men, women, children — that the outgoing Calderón has announced he may leave the country lest he become a statistic.

And yet on July 4, the New York Times declared the War on Drugs a cruel failure, claiming that the price of cocaine, for example, is 74 percent cheaper now than it was 30 years ago. America has spent $20 billion to $25 billion a year to stem the flow of narcotics, to no good end."

Mexico's growing legion of narco orphans 

"Decapitated bodies. Murder victims hanging from bridges. Blood crusted on street curbs where an assassin has struck. These are the gruesome images the world has come to associate with Mexico's drug war. But, out of view, the plight of so-called narco orphans like Bryan is just as haunting. It may also foretell more mayhem in the years to come.

With shoddy education standards and poor career prospects already holding back Mexico's youth, people like Casas worry about the impact on society of tens of thousands of kids growing up emotionally traumatized and with their prospects for building a better life for themselves in tatters.
"There is an enormous cost because these kids aren't children as they should be. They are future criminals. What other aspirations are they going to have? What kind of future awaits them?" Casas said over an uncomfortably early supper in a brightly lit mall in Ciudad Juarez, where these days people avoid side streets and don't stay out after dark.

Neither Mexico's government nor the various independent groups studying organized crime keep track of the number of narco orphans who have lost fathers, and sometimes mothers too, to the drug war."

Gunmen kill 13 at birthday party in Mexico 

"I threw myself down on the floor and then a lot of other people piled on top of me," a young man who survived the shooting late on Friday told Reuters, declining to give his name out of fear of reprisals."

The celebration was for a boy's 15th birthday, he said.

At least four of the people killed at the house party were teenagers and a 9-year-old boy was among the wounded, officials said.

"A group of heavily armed men arrived in two minivans. At least 10 men burst into the party," Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for state prosecutors, told the Reforma newspaper.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the shooting, saying it caused "deep outrage."

Teen survives being shot, dangled from bridge

 MONTERREY, Mexico — 

A kicking, screaming teenager with a gunshot wound was found dangling from a rope over a busy highway Wednesday in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey. Police said another man alongside him was dead by the time rescuers arrived and a third was found dead below.

Witnesses told police that a group of gunmen descended from a vehicle and hanged the men off a bridge around 10 a.m., stopping traffic along one of the busiest routes in Mexico's third-largest city, which has been plagued by drug-gang violence.

All three of the men had been shot and tortured, and their hands were bound with duct tape, said a Nuevo Leon state police investigator who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.


The evidence I have presented should be compelling enough for anyone to see. The United States needs to make a huge step in the right direction, by ending cannabis prohibition.  This act alone would cut drug cartel finances by 70%, and it would make law enforcement easier there to protect it's people.

If you support cannabis prohibition then you also support this kind of activity here in the United States:

The skateboarding 17-year-old drug kingpin who earned $20,000 a month from marijuana trade 

"On the surface, he was a small-town high school student, but cops say an Ohio teen was cleaning up as the kingpin of a major marijuana operation - and even his mother was in the dark about it.

The teen, who has not been identified, had six lieutenants, selling as much as $20,000 of high-grade homegrown marijuana every month to high school students in Mason, Ohio.

Investigators said those who participated in the sophisticated operation were careful not to do business on school grounds where they knew it was riskier.

And all this before he graduated.

The 17-year-old high school student was the center of a high-grade marijuana distribution ring that operated in two Cincinnati-area schools, the Warren County Drug Task Force said Monday. 

A yearlong investigation culminated in the arrest of the teen and seven adults, as well as the seizure of more than 600 hydroponically grown marijuana plants with a street value of around $3million, the agency said."

Outside America, the "What about the children?"  argument is nothing but rhetoric and rings a hollow tone.

Ending cannabis prohibition is the best policy for ALL children.


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