I would prefer Hot Tamales.
There is really no new news here. About the same headlines that the northern press loves to blare:
- 200 Americans killed in Mexico since 2004
- Ex-general tortured and shot first day on anti-drug job
- Cancun police chief arrested in drug deaths
And all three headlines were based on fact.
That first one sounds terrible. 200 Americans killed in Mexico over the past five years. Let's see. That is 40 people each year on an average.
And who were they? A recent study concluded exactly what an informed person would guess: most of them were involved in organized crime as cartel hit men, drug dealers, smugglers, or gang members. (I am not saying they deserved to die. I am just saying that were involved in a profession that does not have a high payout in retirement benefits.)
But, at least 70 -- or a third of the total -- were killed in what appears to be innocent circumstances.
Compare that with the 43,200 Americans that died in car crashes in 2005.
Or 366 murders in Detroit in 2003.
Or 234 murders in Phoenix in 2006.
And the list could go on and on.
Americans are murdered in Mexico. Of course, they are. And they are murdered in their home towns. For almost the same reasons. Illegal drug activity and enforcement of prohibition laws top the list.
And there are terrible stories of torture and murder: the most recent being Brigadier General Mauro Enrique Tello, his aide, and his driver. The drug cartels were obviously sending a message to the government to back off on the drug wars.
Instead, the Cancun police chief has been arrested and is currently being interrogated about his involvement in the general's death. It is a good start. And it is understandable why a growing segment of the Mexican public has started calling for reinstatement of the death penalty.
And now, along comes the good Donna commenting yesterday in another post:
It seems that since I have become an avid reader of your blog I am hearing more and more about the drug cartels in Mexico and all the horrible crimes they commit. In the local newspaper I get every morning, there was an article about how far into the United States these cartel members have traveled and that the crimes continue to escalate as far inland as Atlanta. I also heard about a Marine killed by his vehicle in the Baja. Now Steve I know you are a capable man and a wonderful human being, but I am thinking your Mexican adventure might need to be re-thought. In any event, you are sure to find the best of the worst. Some of us may worry though.
Donna (and the news fairy) --
I appreciate the concern. But I am going to Mexico because it offers something that Salem cannot.
The best Salem offers is a comfortable life. I have had that for 60 years. I need something more.
And that something more is the adventure I know Mexico will offer. The weather will be a challenge. Learning Spanish will be a challenge. Learning not to be a fatal statistic on the roads will be a challenge.
But I am going to learn something about life -- and about me.
And I am finding it hard to wait for the adventure to begin.