We can give up our drugs. Quit feeding our gargantuan, all-American appetite for getting high. If every American today took the pledge to never hand over another dollar for cocaine, marijuana* or heroine for the sake of the children who'll end up being killed over that dollar, then by tomorrow every narco in Central America would be out of business.
*Yes, I know we produce lots of marijuana here in the US but a lot of it also comes from Mexico and is trafficked through Central America.
The drugs we consume in the United States (Unlike the drugs consumed by, say, Europeans) come from Central America. (The Economist, April 14, 2011). And, according to today's edition of The Latin American Tribune, the drug cartels make $64 billion a year from the US. That's a lot of drugs we're doing. And a lot of money we're handing over to the drug gangs who are destroying the lives of the children of Central America.
When my children were young I used to tell them that before they decided to smoke a little pot with their friends they should remember that some young Mexican policeman with a wife and several small children would end up being murdered by a drug gang so that affluent American teenagers could get buzzed at a party. I told them to think of the little girl living in a tenement in New York or Chicago or any city in America who'd be shot in the cross fire between two drug gangs because a bunch of bored suburban kids felt like getting high with their friends. (I told them this so often that whenever I'd call them in for a family meeting one of them would ask, "Is this about the Mexican policeman with the five kids and the little girl?")
Anyway, today if I had adolescent children I'd be telling them about the 52,000 children (Global Post, July 7, 2014) who've fled to this country alone in the last 9 months so that Americans can have their drugs.
In truth, I believe that the recreational drugs that everybody's using anyway should be legalized in this country; legalized, regulated, and taxed to high heaven. That way we'd decapitate the drug cartels, mitigate the child refugee crisis, and we could use the $64 billion for ourselves to repair our country's crumbling infrastructure (Am I the only one who worries about our beleaguered infrastructure?).
But it doesn't look like the drug laws in this country are going to be reformed any time soon.
Which leaves it up to the consumers of drugs to look into their souls.
I think there should be a campaign for Americans to give up theirs drugs - not the same as the old failed War On Drugs that's gone nowhere in the last 40 years - but as a humanitarian campaign.
Celebrities and movie stars known for their human rights efforts could take up the cause and lead the way by the example of publicly giving up their own drug use.
In schools the old D.A.R.E. and "Just Say No" programs could be replaced with new anti-drug programs with a "Save The Children" theme.
There could be a grass-roots movement to turn around the perception of drug-use as something cool and hip to something low-life and exploitative.
If everyone would give up their drugs then maybe the children would be able to go home.
But that's never going to happen, is it?
1. "Drug Cartels Make $64 billion a year from US", The Latin American Tribune, July 14, 2014.
2. "The Drug War Hits Central America", The Economist, April 14, 2011
3. "Drug Trafficking Plagues Honduras", Infosur Hoy, July 3, 2014
4. "A Refugee Crisis, Not And Immigration Crisis", Sonia Nazario, the New York Times, July 13, 2014
5. "White House Says Most Children At Border To Be Sent Home", Global Post, July 7, 2014