March 31, 2018


America's guns: Made in the US, killing in Mexico: Last year, more Mexicans were killed with guns than in any year on record. Most of those guns came from the US. (John Lindsay-Poland, 28 Mar 2018, Al Jazeera)

[I]n Mexico, assault rifles are the preferred weapon for organised crime, which seeks military assets to control territory, as Al Jazeera's Juliana Ruhfus found in the investigation for her film "America's Guns: Arming Mexico's Cartels" that aired earlier this month. The result of the steady flow of assault weaponry into Mexico has only gotten worse. Last year, Mexico opened 16,828 gun homicide investigations - more than in any year of its recorded history, and more than in the entire US, even though Mexico has less than half the population of its northern neighbour.

Most of the guns used in those crimes came from the US - 70 percent of guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and traced since 2009 were purchased in the US and trafficked across the border. Doing so is easy, since the US-Mexico border is designed principally to facilitate massive volumes of trade. The Border Patrol, fences, and militarised infrastructure on that border are to stop migrants moving from south to north, not threats that move from the US into Mexico.

The human toll in Mexico from the gun trade is devastating. Dr Marvin Hernandez Ortega and three other young professionals were travelling on the federal highway near Acapulco on June 19, 2015, when they were forcibly disappeared. Five days later, local authorities found bodies that they said were the young men's. Near their burned-out vehicle, shell casings from assault rifles were found. "These weapons are instruments of the growing violence and homicides in Mexico," Hernandez Ortega's uncle, Romualdo Hernandez, told me when he visited Washington in 2016. "We demand that the US government exercise control over the weapons companies and border crossings." 

To reduce the flow of weaponry that feeds violence in Mexico requires looking not only at the border crossings themselves, but upstream - to the production of and legal access to weapons made for killing people. That is why it is important for the US Congress - and failing that, southern border states - to prohibit assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and to make gun trafficking itself a crime.

This is the catastrophe that W and the UR tried combatting with Operation Wide Receiver.

Posted by at March 31, 2018 8:47 AM