The Real Victims of Mexico’s Drug War
With voters in Colorado and Washington state approving the legalization of marijuana use on Tuesday, there is hope that the U.S. may be at the beginning of the end of the long, tortuous and fruitless federal war on drugs.
If the U.S. Constitution means anything, the federal government was never granted the power to regulate intrastate drug use. That prerogative belongs to the states, though Barack Obama’s Justice Department has already announced that it plans to defend the Beltway’s nanny-state view that the feds have to protect individuals across the country from themselves.
Meanwhile, south of the border, countries seem to be going through their own paradigm shifts on the subject. As in the U.S., the impetus for change is bubbling up from civil society, not trickling down from big government.
During six years of bloody confrontation with Mexican drug-trafficking cartels, the government of President Felipe Calderón has often tried to play down the horror by insisting that the overwhelming number of victims were gangsters killed by other gangsters. But how could officials know who killed whom? Only about 4% of all crime in the country is ever solved. No one understands this better than relatives of the dead, who in many cases h