Even by Mexican Drug War standards, last Thursday’s death inferno at Monterrey’s Casino Royale seemed a bit much.
At least 52 people died after a group of eight or nine gunmen stormed the casino, began randomly firing at civilians, doused the entrance with gasoline, and torched the joint. Trapped inside, most of the victims were thought to have died of smoke inhalation. Many of the corpses were found clutching cell phones, vainly calling for help as they helplessly perished.
This sort of psychotic public-arena violence is nothing new in Monterrey—nor even at Casino Royale. In July, 27 people were shot to death in a Monterrey bar after another group of gunmen burst in and randomly began spraying lead. In June, 34 people were murdered in Monterrey over a single 24-hour period, all of it blamed on an escalating turf war between rival drug syndicates—the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas Cartel. In May, rifle-wielding psychopaths robbed four Monterrey casinos, including Casino Royale. In January, armed gunmen opened fire on presumed rivals inside Casino Royale.
What’s truly insane is that the insanity is by no means confined to Monterrey. In less than five years, the Mexican Drug War is already thought to have stacked up over 40,000 corpses.
Try counting out loud to 40,000. You’ll likely give up before you reach 100.
And these aren’t merely shoot-’em-dead and hide-the-body murders. What’s uniquely odious about the Mexican Drug War is not only the astronomical death toll, but its exhibitionistic, eyeball-exploding brutality. People aren’t merely shot to death—it’s done on camera, with the results uploaded to YouTube. Victims aren’t just slowly tortured into nonexistence by sadistic teenagers—the perps record it while their friends laugh and then share it with the world. Victims are butchered, decapitated, and then proudly flaunted in public like hunting trophies or parade floats.
In July of 2010, the Gulf Cartel left 15 dead bodies in the middle of a busy road near San Fernando for motorists to see. A month later, four headless and hacked-to-pieces carcasses were hung by their ankles from a bridge in Cuernavaca. In January of this year, 15 headless bodies were strewn amid 15 bodiless heads outside an Acapulco shopping center. In February, seven bodies were found swinging from bridges in Mazatlan. In most such cases, the corpses are accompanied by written threats and taunts.
As with Thursday’s Casino Royale death blaze, random civilians are frequently targeted in attempts to paralyze the public will and force abject complicity. In 2008, at least eight were killed and over a hundred injured in Morelia, Michoácan after hand grenades were casually tossed into a crowd of thousands. In 2010, sixteen teenagers, none of them affiliated with drug gangs, were shot down cold at a party in Ciudad Juárez. Later that year in Ciudad Juárez, 14 were murdered at a boy’s birthday party. In October 2010, 15 people were shot to death at a car wash in the city of Tepic. According to a source only identified as “Juan” in the Houston Chronicle, the cartels have, merely for amusement, taken to kidnapping bus passengers and forcing them to fight each other in gladiatorial death matches, then dispatching the survivors on suicide missions against rival cartels.
In December of 2010, an estimated five dozen gunmen attacked the village of Tierras Coloradas in Durango, burning down all the houses and dozens of cars, causing all the natives to flee. Many villages, especially along the American border, have turned into ghost towns due to the skull-cracking violence and spirit-crushing terror tactics.
In recent years, rotted corpses have been unearthed in mass graves throughout the country. Fifty-five bodies were found in a dilapidated silver mine near Taxco. Fifty-one cadavers were exhumed in Benito Juárez. Seventy-two carcasses were discovered near a ranch in Tamaulipas. Two hundred and fourteen bodies were plucked from mass graves in Durango. Another two hundred or so were dug from pits near San Fernando. All of them are collateral ex-human debris in the endless clash over controlled substances.
Complicating matters further is an increasingly blurred line between criminals and the government. It’s not as if los Federales ever had a sterling reputation in Mexico. Los Zetas, currently deemed the most balls-out ruthless of Mexico’s cartels, was founded by Mexican Army deserters and currently includes former police officers from all levels of Mexican government. An astonishing 150,000 members of Mexico’s Army were said to have deserted between 2003 and 2009, many of them undoubtedly taking their automatic weapons with them. In November 2008, the head of Mexico’s INTERPOL office was arrested on suspicion of being the cartels’ puppet. As of June of this year, 127 US Customs and Border agents had been busted on suspicion of working hand-in-hand with the cartels. And there’s an ongoing controversy over whether the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, via “Operation Fast and Furious,” has been complicit in arming the cartels in the name of disarming them.
Is all this madness necessary merely because people like to get high?
In 1929, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre turned public opinion against Chicago’s gangster culture, and by implication, the national alcohol ban that had allowed it to flourish. In that incident, seven people were murdered. Less than five years later, Prohibition was repealed.
Why, after 40,000 or so murders in Mexico, aren’t people getting the message?
Mexican President Felipe Calderón has made a habit of sternly lecturing America while his own country seems hellbent on becoming the planet’s only Fourth World nation. After Thursday’s mass human incineration at Casino Royale, he blamed America’s “insatiable” appetite for drugs in helping create Mexico’s ubiquitous climate of ultra-violence.
An estimated 90% of the cocaine in the USA enters through Mexico, as does a majority of the marijuana and methamphetamines, as well as a huge share of the heroin. Mexican drug cartels control approximately two-thirds of the foreign narcotics that reach this country and help sate our “insatiable” demand. It’s estimated that in return, anywhere from $15-$50 billion leaves America yearly and winds up in Mexico. And their cartels have already infiltrated an estimated 200 American cities. How long before Mexican drug violence is imported in levels equivalent to Mexican drugs?
I say we cut them off.
I know Mexicans are a proud people, but I don’t know why. In a vague way I respect that they’re all about “respect,” but I see little that’s worthy of respect. It’s not as if Mexico teems with human capital, and their arrogantly impenitent demographic infiltration of the USA is the most urgent social crisis we currently face. We are entangled in a toxic situation with an insane, primitive, innately brutal nation that has ceased to function and can only impoverish, rather than enrich, us.
We’re fighting the wrong wars. Mexico is a far bigger threat to America’s security and national integrity than anything in the Middle East. Legalize drugs in America and deport all illegal aliens. Mexico’s problems are not ours unless we choose to make them so. Let bloated billionaire Carlos Slim help his countrymen as they proudly bask in their mongrel flatus.
Just as prohibiting alcohol was a loser’s game, the drug war is a bloody exercise in futility. I never understood how naturally occurring plants could possibly be illegal. At least in unrefined botanical form, I think marijuana, coca, and poppies are all far safer than alcohol. We can work out the details of legalization, production, and regulation later—history has proven we’re a far more inventive nation than Mexico could ever dream of being.
It’s time we divorced our tumorous, terminally defective neighbor to the south. Even their weed is awful.