President Calderón has sought to make his drug war palatable by asserting that the country’s war dead—estimated at 23,000 since January 2006 for the country as a whole—deserved to die: their deaths implicate them in illegal activities.
When he first learned about what Juarenses have come to call the “massacre at Villas de Salvarcar,” Calderón hinted that the thirteen teenagers who died at the hands of professional executioners were common criminals and city low life. He could not have been more wrong. In fact they were honor students and athletes who had gathered to celebrate a friend’s seventeenth birthday. They had the misfortune of belonging to a football club whose initials, “AA,” were mistaken for the initials of the Sinaloa cartel’s local enforcers, the Artistic Assassins. And so, in the middle of the night, while the teens danced in a room cleared of furniture, they were gunned down. Seven hours later, when the first daylight photos were taken, the concrete floor where they died still glistened with their clotting blood. [Boston Review]
It's sickening that the Mexican President would dare insinuate that these innocent young victims somehow deserved their fate, but misplacing blame is an essential and instinctive defense mechanism when drug warriors are confronted with the consequences of their desperate crusade. None of this comes as a surprise, but it does bother me that this incident happened back in January and I overlooked it amidst the overwhelming number of bloody tragedies just like this one that take place every day in Mexico.
We couldn't ask for a more perfect exhibit in the complete failure of drug prohibition on every imaginable level. At this point, the only thing that still surprises me is that so many among us persist in failing to understand what the problem is.