Thirteen Mexican police officers were recently killed in an ambush in the western state of Michoacan. The ambush was carried out by at least 30 individuals firing high-powered weapons. The killers were members of a drug cartel called the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
In a strict legal sense, the killers are the murderers. But in a moral sense, proponents of the drug war, including both U.S. and Mexican officials, are as responsible for the deaths of those 13 police officers as the killers are.
That’s because the drug war is what spawns the drug cartels, which then go out and ambush and kill police officers. Or to put it another way, without the drug war there wouldn’t have been a drug cartel and, therefore, those 13 police officers would still be alive.
Drug cartels are not the only negative consequence of the drug war. It has also brought into existence robberies, thefts, kidnappings, burglaries, muggings, and official corruption. For example, when drugs are made illegal, that causes black-market prices to soar, which then drives the addict to commit a robbery to get the money to pay the enormous price for his drugs. Or consider, as another example, the fact that law-enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges are offered the opportunity to accept a bribe to look the other way on a drug deal or to go easy on a particular drug dealer.
One of the fascinating aspects of this phenomenon is that drug-war proponents never take personal responsibility for the adverse consequences of their drug-war program. They say that they aren’t morally responsible for the death of those 13 Mexican police officers, because (1) they didn’t intend for them to be killed and (2) they didn’t have anything to do with the killings themselves.
But they are wrong. When someone brings into existence or supports a government program that produces drug cartels that kill people, he is morally responsible for the natural and predictable consequences of that program. His good intentions are entirely irrelevant, especially where there is a decades-long track record of what the government program has produced in terms of consequences. After all, it’s not like drug-war proponents don’t know that the drug war brings violent drug cartels into existence. It’s been happening since the beginning of the drug war many decades ago. It also happened when alcohol was made illegal — violent booze gangs were the result.
Moreover, everyone knows that U.S. officials and Mexican officials have been busting drug cartels, drug gangs, drug lords, and drug dealers for decades. Think of the Medellin Cartel. Or the Sinaloa Cartel. Los Zetas. The Beltran-Leyva Cartel. The Gulf Cartel. At various times, the authorities have busted this cartel or that cartel, oftentimes to the big acclaim of newspaper editors. The drug lords are sent away to jail for decades, even life. Just recently, U.S. officials sent notorious drug cartel leader “El Chapo” to jail for the rest of his life.
Did any of those drug war busts during the past 50 years prevent those 13 Mexican police officers from being murdered? Did El Chapo’s life sentence? Of course not! That’s because whenever the authorities bust one drug cartel or drug lord, it or he is immediately replaced by another or by others. The drug war is a classic example of a perpetual government program. No matter how many drug cartels, drug gangs, drug lords, and drug dealers they bust, there are always more to bust after that. It’s an endless process.
Does that mean that there is no way to rid society of drug cartels? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. It means that waging a drug war against the drug cartels is not the way to get rid of them. That’s the way to keep them in existence.
The only way to rid society, both here and in Mexico, of violent drug cartels, drug gangs, drug lords, and drug dealers is to legalize drugs. In other words, just end the drug war. Remember: the only reason violent drug cartels are brought into existence is because of drug laws. Without drug laws, there are no violent drug cartels.
Those 13 Mexican police officers are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of Mexicans who have been killed as part of the drug war. The best way for drug-war proponents to repent for the death and destruction that they have wrought on the Mexican people and others is by joining up with those of us who are striving to end this mayhem through the legalization of drugs.