Drug cartel violence in Mexico, an animated video explainer

Jess Bachman at Visual.ly says,

We just produced this animated short on the escalating drug cartel violence on the US-Mexico border. This is some horrific stuff that is a lot closer than Afghanistan and Syria and something we play a much larger role in, yet it get's no national coverage. Additionally its not even mentioned as part of the gun control debate. Mexico has strict gun laws... where do the cartels arm themselves? Imported from the U.S. of course. Our gun policy is not just a domestic one. Here's to hoping we can keep the drug war at the forefront this term.


  1. “Here’s to hoping we can keep the drug war at the forefront this term.”  i hope this is sarcastic; or Jess Bachman meant “ending the drugwar as high ranking priority”

  2. Sure, they get much of their guns from the USA, via the Mexican army, oh, and of course, the ATFs program of illegal sales (Fast And Furious scandal). 

  3. Hi, I’m an Apostrophe Freak – “It gets…”, not “It get’s”…a simple error like that makes many people doubt the care that someone puts into writing something.  OH WELL.  

        1. I think you should have left off the ad hominem throwaway comment– “…makes many people doubt the care…”. A typo is a symptom of being human. Even simple ones. Why not phrase it as an attempt help and care for the person you’re offering a correction to?

  4. Boy, that’s rich: Use a silhouette of a Chinese-made variant of a Russian-designed (Soviet) weapon in an agitprop piece blaming Mexico’s cartel violence on America.  They might want to pick a more appropriate visual next time.

    1. The vast majority of AKs available in the world are of either Chinese or former Soviet bloc countries’ manufacture.

  5. Clearly we cannot eliminate USA’s demand for cocaine, and can’t make coke legal, so is there another option?

    If the problem is Mexican drug cartels, and most of the drugs are not produced in Mexico, the obvious solution is to lock down our borders with Mexico so drug trafficking will have to find another path to the market in the USA,  hopefully resulting in the Mexican cartels being cut out of their position as middlemen.

    Clearly we need to close the US-Mexican border in order to save Mexican lives!

    1. Why can’t we make coke legal?  Shouldn’t adults be able to decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies?  

      1. I think most drugs should be legal. But it should be pointed out that addiction is a very real, very serious problem even now, when drugs are illegal.

        So I think the answer on the personal, as opposed to political, level is that no, many adults cannot decide for themselves, because they are literally unable to stop using a particular substance despite how much they’d like to.

        1. I wasn’t claiming that all adults are capable of dealing with addiction, I merely stated my belief that consent should lie solely with themselves.  That’s not to say that consent shouldn’t be removed in certain cases, but cases such as those should only be determined in a court of law, or given away voluntarily by someone capable of understanding what that means.  If you’re going to demand the removal of anything that is the subject of an addiction… that’s impossible.  Also, people will suffer from addictions regardless of whether or not it’s illegal, so making things illegal doesn’t help people with addictions.  Legalize, regulate, and treat for addictions.  That’s only way it will ever work until human’s have the ability to rewrite their own programming, and remove the source of addiction.

        2. All research and successful drug policy shows that treatment should be increased and law enforcement decreased while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences.

          Legal things to which people routinely become addicted: hamburgers, porn, gambling, alcohol, cigarettes.

          1.  You’ll take their hamburgers from their cold dead hands, after they have a heart attack while trying to destroy the evidence that they’ve been illegally stockpiling hamburgers

    2. Haha, I realize you’re being sarcastic (I hope you are!), but to answer those who really think that…”closing down the border” is completely impossible. 

      I’m a Marine vet, and I’m familiar with the mechanics and real-world possibilities as far as physical security go. The border is simply too big. There is not enough money, training, or personnel in the US (or maybe anywhere) to secure an area of that size. Nor is there any physical barrier which could reliably deter enough traffic to be worthwhile.

      Instead, what will happen is this: you will increase scarcity by making the passage more difficult. Increased scarcity will raise prices, leading to a higher incentive for violence and drugs. Making the drug trade a bit more difficult only increases the drug trade by making the reward for high risk activities greater.

    1.  It becomes a problem when the “huge” penalties that prosecutors and politicians laud pale in comparison to the operating profits of the companies involved. I seem to recall the US Gov gloating about how they were fining MS a million dollars a day for anti-competitive behaviour, which anyone who knows anything about MS knows is chump change.

  6. Good catch. Though there is still not enough sound data to make the 12% claim either.  Why were 7.k of the 30k weapons submitted to the ATF?  Why could only 4k of those be traced?  Why were 20% of submissions duplicates?  Too many questions to make sense of the data.  What if the other 3.4k that could not be traced were because they were from the Us but had tampered serial numbers, making them untraceable.

  7.  So , if Mexico decided to outlaw cell phones, America should ban them too, just because somebody might cross the border with them?  The problem is not guns, but drugs.  In my state, Marijuana is now “legalized” at the state level.  If you could get heroin from Walgreens with a prescription, do you not think that it would solve most of the problems in Mexico?

  8. Nice way to treat dissent. Unlike the referenced video, that PDF which I linked to actually gives sources for their analysis of the numbers and backup for why the 80% claim is false.

    Any way you want to spin it, the 80% number referenced in the video is itself propaganda.

  9. It might create a lot of problems here; heroin is so addictive that I don’t think even a well-functioning person can be trusted not to ruin their lives with it.

    But ending the war on drugs would indeed help dry up the main driver of cartel activity.

    I think what should be realized is that this is ultimately a money problem– like many, if not most, problems in the world. The problem isn’t drugs, or guns, per se– but instead the fact that our system is set up so that these allow you to make a lot of money from having both.

  10. Their citations were television news stories, arms manufacturers and yet more propaganda organizations. Find a link to a credible source and I’ll restore your comment.

  11. Heroin’s considered less addictive than nicotine and people function fine with nicotine (the cancer is due largely to smoking and to additives put into cigarettes).  Switzerland saw a gigantic drop in heroin addiction rates when it offered clinics giving maintenance doses for people with dependencies, and that also put the crime syndicates out of business.

    Also the system is not “set up” to allow you to make a lot of money from having something that’s in low supply and high demand.  That’s an effect of the natural law of supply and demand, not a product of “the system”.

  12. Is heroin really considered less addictive than nicotine?  Last time I looked at stats, proportionality of addiction was statistically indistinguishable between the two.  However, having experienced nicotine withdrawal I can attest to the fact that it doesn’t feel as bad as heroin withdrawal looks.  For example, there don’t seem to be any significant physical effects as there are with heroin withdrawal — just fairly intense anxiety and irritability.

    My belief has been that the only reason they seem roughly in parity in terms of addictiveness is that relieving your nicotine withdrawal is both easy and socially acceptable while relieving heroin withdrawal…not so much.  I would have guessed if nicotine was regulated the way heroin is the proportionality of addiction for nicotine users would be much lower than for heroin.

  13.  Good video, but perhaps offtopic? There are multiple problems here, decriminalising drugs across is going to take a Long time and probably be quite uneven, but changing the easy availability of guns in the USA could be a very good interim step. Let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good.

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