El Paso has a front row seat on the unending killing in Juarez


EL PASO, Texas — About a century ago, El Pasoans lined themselves up near the border for a good view of the revolutionary war raging just across the river as gunshots and war cries echoed from the brush and dirty water.

A hundred yeas later, El Paso once more holds a ringside seat to the bloodshed of Mexican souls. Last week, shots fired from Mexico hit the windows of El Paso’s City Hall. Although no one can be sure how or when the bulk of the violence will die down, many students at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) have their opinions.

A quiet morning in downtown El Paso, for how much longer? (Lourdes Cueva Chacón/Borderzine.com)

A quiet morning in downtown El Paso, for how much longer? (Lourdes Cueva Chacón/Borderzine.com)

“A lot of people have told me that maybe if they legalize marijuana in Juárez it would be better because then the drug lords would loose some of their power,” said Lindsy Gutierrez, a music major.  She sat in the shade outside the Fox Fine Arts building of UTEP reading a book on poetry. “I don’t know if I agree with that because then they might go on to sell harder things,” Gutierrez added.

Some students don’t think the Mexican government is capable of handling the situation on its own. “Because of some of the findings, it’s interesting to see where the government stands.  There is a war, yes, but exactly who is fighting whom? That I don’t know,” said Jorge Espin, a nursing student.

The situation in Juarez and the manner in which it is being handled has caused much insecurity in the general public.  “It’s interesting to find out where exactly the government stands where the military is concerned. Is it helping one side or the other or is it vying for its own side. I don’t know,” said Espin.

The overwhelming number of killings in Juárez — more than 5,600  in the past two years — continues to cause much frustration for those living in and around the border. “We’re all angry at what is happening over there, but its not like we can just put on a superhero suit and go kill the bad people,” said Teira Solis, a geology student.  Students at UTEP need only but to look across the freeway as they park their cars to see the hazy skies of this stifling city.

The situation across the border is much more complex than any one issue can address.  “It depends on a lot of people. There is no one strategy that will fix everything,” said Solis.

Drug reform has been a highly debated issue recently around campus and the border.  “I was thinking about legalization of marijuana, but I acknowledge that the problem is not just about marijuana,” said Isaac Blanco, a nursing major.  Although it could very aggressively be argued that the legalization of cannabis for use and sale would help with the many problems of our sister city, it would only be a start.

The incessant violence has not been quelled by adding more government military personnel. Perhaps at this point, it is up to the citizens to take a stand.

“We proved that the army, the federal government couldn’t do it.  I fear that the people are going to get up and do something, like a revolution, on their own,” said Blanco, “People getting together with their machetes.”  What the people of Juárez ultimately need are results.  They need their city reclaimed and a renewed confidence to walk down their own streets after dark without looking out for hooded men.  “We need another Pancho Villa. We need another Che Guevara to do something. I believe the people can do something. Not the government or the army,” said Blanco.

Some 23,000 persons have been killed throughout Mexico in this drug war since President Felipe Calderon took on the cartels three years ago.

2 thoughts on “El Paso has a front row seat on the unending killing in Juarez

  1. One need not travel to China to find indigenous cultures lacking human rights. America leads the world in percentile behind bars, thanks to the ongoing open season on hippies, commies, and non-whites in the war on drugs. Cops get good performance reviews for shooting fish in a barrel. If we’re all about spreading liberty abroad, then why mix the message at home? Peace on the home front would enhance global credibility.

    The drug czar’s Rx for prison fodder costs dearly, as lives are flushed down expensive tubes. My shaman’s second opinion is that psychoactive plants are God’s gift. Behold, it’s all good. When Eve ate the apple, she knew a good apple, and an evil prohibition. Canadian Marc Emery was extradited to prison for helping American farmers reduce U. S. demand for Mexican pot.

    The CSA (Controlled Substances Act of 1970) reincarnates Al Capone, endangers homeland security, and throws good money after bad. Fiscal policy burns tax dollars to root out the number-one cash crop in the land, instead of taxing sales. Society rejected the plague of prohibition, but it mutated. Apparently, SWAT teams don’t need no stinking amendment.

    Nixon passed the CSA on the false assurance that the Schafer Commission would later justify criminalizing his enemies, but he underestimated Schafer’s integrity. No amendments can assure due process under an anti-science law without due process itself. Psychology hailed the breakthrough potential of LSD, until the CSA shut down research, and pronounced that marijuana has no medical use.

    The RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993) allows Native American Church members to eat peyote, which functions like LSD. Americans shouldn’t need a specific church membership or an act of Congress to obtain their birthright freedom of religion. God’s children’s free exercise of religious liberty may include entheogen sacraments to mediate communion with Him.

    Freedom of speech presupposes freedom of thought. The Constitution doesn’t enumerate any governmental power to embargo diverse states of mind. How and when did government usurp this power to coerce conformity? The Mayflower sailed to escape coerced conformity. Legislators who would limit cognitive liberty lack jurisdiction.

    Common-law holds that adults are the legal owners of their own bodies. The Founding Fathers undersigned that the right to the pursuit of happiness is inalienable. Socrates said to know your self. Mortal lawmakers should not presume to thwart the intelligent design that molecular keys unlock spiritual doors. Persons who appreciate their own free choice of path in life should tolerate seekers’ self-exploration. Liberty is prerequisite for tracking drug-use intentions and outcomes.

  2. While the illegal alien Obama babbled about how secure the border was, Mexicans across the border targeted the El Paso City Hall. Why did the El Paso police chief lie, and say that the seven bullets that hit the City Hall were random? Just go to Google Earth and use their measuring tool for meters, and you will see the closest point of the border fence 600 m. You could not possibly hit a building at 600 m seven times without using a scope. The El Paso City Hall was targeted by Mexicans, either drug gangs or elements of the government itself, And who can tell the difference nowadays.

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