Patrol, Mexican and US citizens
I crossed the border into Mexico today and was sad to see the changes that occurred since my last crossing a few years ago. My friends and I were in Mexico less than three minutes when we passed by the first of many bands of Mexican soldiers. They are guarding border towns these days because of the ugly things Mexican drug lords are doing to the Mexican people.
I noticed, these guys are dressed and ready for battle. In addition to their AK-47 rifles, they carry side arms and knives to be ready for short arms fire and hand to hand combat. These are not troops on site for show. They mean business! Many were bulked up with bullet proof vests. A few wore black masks to keep their identity secret. Drug lords will wipe out an entire family of a tough fighting soldier. It is part of the new reign of terror and intimidation used to control people and governments.
They have a two part system now. There is the guy at the check point desk as usual. However, now they have a second line of checkers. Behind the desk there is a wall of men watching as we pass the checkpoint. They are suited up just like the Mexican soldiers are, body armor, side arms neatly pinned; boots instead of shoes. They are a second line of defense, of sorts. I presume they are watching for any suspicious activity the check point guy did not catch.
Since we crossed early New Years Eve, there was almost no one at the check point. Here is a team of five guys watching the occasional border crosser. Sure enough I got extra attention. After all, a guy in shorts and a T-shirt crossing the border must look pretty suspicious.
"What are you bringing back" the buy with the body armor asked me.
I knew what the wrong answer was,
'Dude, why are you checking me again, the first guy already looked at my plastic bag from the pharmacy with a single bottle of antibiotics in it."
Once in a rare while I followed my intuition. Thank god I did this time!
Instead of lamenting another search, I just muttered,
"Are you sure?" he queried. "No cigarettes?"
"No, I don't smoke." I told him.
"O.k." he said gruffly and nodded for me to move out.
Just to be friendly I added, "Smoking is not good for you."
His response was not a friendly agreement as I had expected. Instead he barked,
"I said o.k.!" and this time there was a very firm nod. I was dismissed, the remark was more of an order, and underneath hiw cool exterior was the subtle threat, head out unless you want trouble! What happened to friendliness or at least civility?
You can't fault our border patrol for one guy with a bad attitude. Attitudes like that come when a person is under a lot of stress. These guys are staring down the barrel of an army of firepower. Some of it they can see as they watch soldiers trying to protect the country they love. However, it is the fire power they can't see that must cause concern. These drug guys are armed to the teeth under their panchos.
Border patrol guys are dads, too. You can bet many of them have contemplated what they will do if a fire fight breaks out and there is a family with a little girl stuck in the middle of it.
This is the drinking and drugging man's night. It is not that the heavy drinker or drugger is going to do much of anything different than he does most nights. Still, it is his night because tonight he will drag his wife and children and father and mother, and anyone else he can cajole, out into the cold night for the party. He must
show them why getting blitzed is the way to bliss, and why everyone should put up with his drinking and drugging the way he puts up with their sobriety.
The drug problem on the US-Mexican border is as much our doing as it is Mexico's. The cartels are waging war on the Mexican side over the billions of drug dollars at steak. This is a two armed bandit. The money goes to points south, the product goes to points north. Our police and border protection people are at war with it, our schools have been attacked by it, the future of our youth has been assaulted with it.
There may be shoot outs in Mexico, but the battle is just as deadly North of the border. Carlos Lehderer was a drug king pen and the primary transportation arm of the Medellin cartel when the white lady was breaking onto the scene. He had a dream of creating a drug base where airliners crammed full of the powder could be transported to the US.
Carlos was motivated by a lot more than money. He had been a guest of brutal Dan bury Prison after conviction on auto theft charges. During his stay he built up healthy resentment against the U.S. He figured cocaine was his nuclear bomb. He planned to put as much of his product into the hands of US consumers, many of which would convert the white powder to crack. After the nearly instant addiction, these people became destructive. The bomb was effective, corroding the lives of poor people who beg, borrowed, stole and killed for one more puff on the pipe.
Carlos got his dream of having a central distribution point. After meeting George Jung in Danbury, he and Jung constructed the largest cocaine transportation company in the history of cocaine smuggling. Carlos eventually betrayed Jung and bought an island named Norman's Cay. He intimidated the residents into selling cheap. The last resident didn't even sell. He ran and Lehderer took the property as his own. That gave him the perfect home based business. Flights from South America constantly landed on the runway behind Lehderer's house as they stopped for fuel on their way to US destinations.
The romantic version of the story is retold in the movie Blow starring Johnny Depp who played George Jung. To finish the story, Jung ended up in prison and remains there today, lamenting, "life was passing him by". While Jung has a release date coming up, Lehderer ended up with what is effectively a life term. The victims of this nuclear bomb are suffering today. They take their whole families with them, as children grow up in dysfunctional homes, mothers have little choice but to look at the welfare system for basic necessities.
Out of control drug use is not well reported in the US, and the shoot outs on the border are lucky to get a three paragraph mention in the local paper. We can't react to an active threat if we don't know about it. Why not tell CNN and Fox to get their tails down to Mexico and do some honest reporting? Until we get our drug problem under control it is inane to blame the Mexican government for not getting their drug dealers under control. There is no chicken and egg in this equation. No demand, no money for greedy men corrupting border towns in Mexico.
Ending the party for everyone else is not a solution. The majority of Americans handle New Years Eve fine. Those who do not have the sickness of addiction have no reason to turn out the lights at 10:00 on New just so a small percentage of Americans don't get drunk or get high. The alcoholic and addict are going to get high whether it is new years eve or not. Turning off the alcohol tap solves nothing.
We can, however, turn off the tap on our most dangerous choices for abuse. Let's turn off the big H, heroin, the big C, cocaine, and its filthy derivative crack, let's cut the reins on meth, and a few other choice substances which are rotting the core of America to the bone. To do that we need to recognize the nature of addiction, the illness and treat it as we would other illness with like characteristics.
When we encounter a sick person in the family, in the courts or in jail, let's get him help. If he won't accept our help let's isolate him from those he would harm. Let's quit passing the idea sold by advertisers that getting blasted is how we have fun. Let's get tough on first time offenders. A short jail sentence early on has an impact. Longer sentences later on seem to do little. You can put people in jail for having the flue but it won't change anything. We can wait until a good time turns into an addiction and then it is too late.
Perhaps you will see the addict or alcoholic in your family or in close friends for the first time tonight. Perhaps it is old hat by now. No matter your experience, New Year's Day is one of those rare days when many addicts and alcoholics regret their one great night. Now is the time to get them help if they will accept it at all. If they won't then close the door on them, send 'em packing, close the cell doors till these very sick people finally say, 'I have had enough!".
"Until we solve the US drug problems we have little reason to criticize Mexico."Until we get a back bone we have little reason to criticize Mexico. The drug cartels are fighting for turf that would not exist but for the addiction of our fellow Americans.
Stay safe, have a great time, watch for the person who suffers and needs your help. Take action. Until then, let's raise taxes, increase the size of our border patrol force, and pay them for the risks they are taking.
God bless, Dios Te bendiga,