Tag Archives: opinion

What did old articles say?

So just for the heck of it, I decided to look up older articles about the Mexican drug war to see if they were saying anything different back then to what people are saying now. But to my surprise, I discovered a lot of the same comments and opinions.

I looked up two different articles. One from 1997 and the other from 1999 and both located in the New York Times online. They are both opinion pieces and very short, but that’s what i wanted. Something that just shared what they thought over 10 years ago about the issue quick and straight to the point.

The first one from February 28, 1997 is a letter to the editor. This person touches upon drug certification and that the government uses that as an excuse to blame others and not focus on their own intelligence capabilities, or in this case, failures in Mexico

I was unsure what they meant by drug certification so I looked it up and in a different article it says,

“In early 1997 and again in 1998, the Clinton administration set off a firestorm on Capitol Hill with its drug certification decisions, which rate the anti-narcotics efforts of other countries. Members of Congress scurried to release ever longer lists of detailed demands on Mexico, and to see who could champion the largest package of arms and training for the military and police in Colombia. We deserve more than a repeat performance from lawmakers in the years ahead.

Congress should end the drug certification requirement. The policy has been an ineffective tool for drug control, and it has undermined other important U.S. interests in the Western Hemisphere.”

The quote above comes from this website here: http://www.fpif.org/reports/drug_certification

So now that I’m informed on what drug certification is, this makes more sense. It’s just like what’s going on with the ATF and their numerous unorganized operations. The intelligence agencies have a terrible reputation when it comes to the drug war in Mexico.

The piece said, ” General Gutierrez was arrested on Feb. 6 and the Administration only learned of it two weeks later. Where were the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Central Intelligence Agency? A thorough reorganization of the United States’ antidrug effort in Mexico is needed.”

Yep, that definitely sounds like something someone would say these days as well. The times may change but the government and its organizations doesn’t.

The link for that piece is here: http://www.nytimes.com/1997/02/28/opinion/l-mexico-drug-war-exposes-us-intelligence-gap-854565.html

The next piece was a regular opinion article written February 15, 1999, just two years after the previously mentioned article.

This one started out with “Mexican officials recently unveiled a $400 million high-tech anti-narcotics strategy billed as a ”total war” on drug trafficking.”

So it reveals Mexico’s plan saying that this was no surprise. Then it moves on to also criticize drug certification and blame the U.S. for it’s ridiculous need for drugs.

Well doesn’t this all sound familiar? That’s because it is.

Mexico still has its “anti-narcotics strategy” that costs millions of dollars, and the U.S. still has an immense hunger for illegal drugs. Nothing has changed except the drug certification. That’s not used anymore…and if it is in some cases,  it’s not made a big deal.

The link to this article is here: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/15/opinion/judging-the-mexican-drug-war.html

So, it’s unbelievable to think from over 10 years ago to now, we are still stuck in the same predicament…except it’s continuously getting worse. More deaths, more money being spent, more need for illegal drugs. Corruption and travesty. Such a sad ordeal.

These articles and many of the opinion pieces today still stand by the fact that Mexico and the U.S. are to be equally blamed for this, just as my mission statement claims.

Stop doing drugs!

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Analysis of a Mexican Priest’s sermon to end violence

In Mexico there is a very popular Catholic church, the church of Acatlán, that’s located in a town of about 20,000. The priest, named Father Juan Ramon Hernandez, started delivering sermons incorporating the controversy of the Mexican drug cartels and how the Mexican people should take the initiative to help stop spreading the message of violence.  One of the techniques in his sermon is a special object lesson, in which he asks all the children that have a toy gun to throw it on the middle of the stage symbolizing that of throwing the weapons and violence away, and then he continues to use his own large squirt gun and sprayed the first few rows of his congregation with holy water and then throw it away.

I want to analyze this course of action, since I’m unable to find the entire sermon of what he actually said online.  But I’m going to analyze why I believe he decided to create this sermon, how he delivered it, and if it was effective or not.

Well to start off with the question why, I think, in fact I know, this sermon was created to demonstrate a protest against the violence of the Mexican drug cartels. If he’s able to reach the minds of 20,000 people in that town, he could make some kind of impact in Mexico. He knows he’s a man with an influential position, and with a passionate love for his own country, he will do what he can to fight (for lack of a better word) for the cause of saving the life of his fellow countrymen. Now why did he use toy water guns as an example?

He could have used images (photos/pictures), a story, scripture passage, or other things. I believe it’s to make the people feel like they’re involved in this war too, not only that they are victims of it, but that they are able to instigate change and create more hope. By doing a live enactment of getting rid of the gun, and so to speak, throw away the violence, one could experience that feeling of a burden being lifted off one’s shoulders. There’s many experiments done like these in which psychologists say by doing something drastic, you’re getting rid of a part of that lifestyle that was corrupting you or making you unhappy. But these are all just notions of why he may have thought to do this, we do not know since we are not inside his head.

I read the comments on some of the videos that showed the Father doing this, and a couple that stuck out to me were:

“Pathetic why?, For me is a way to tell my people, that weapons should not be used to kill, but to bless the people…”

Comment posted by: elwerodelunar 5 days ago

“It takes a humble person to often start a revolution of ideas and hope. Let’s not be hard on Father Hernandez, his hearts and motives are in the right place.”

Comment posted by: diggerjohn111 2 weeks ago
These two comments are completely different, but both are reasonable thoughts as well. It just depends on what we believe in religiously I suppose.
In moving on to how he delivered it, I was accepting it, I thought it was a good way to protest violence, but after a while, I didn’t like how dramatic it got. If you watch the video at the very bottom of this post, you see that the children are throwing their guns on the floor, getting rid of their weapons, which is great! But as the priest began to jump on all the toy guns and break them, and then spray the holy water all over it, it got to be  a little much to me. It was kind of like he was advocating violence in the way that he completely and utterly destroyed and annihilated those plastic guns!
I liked the basic idea of the sermon, but to have the whole church bring toy guns and smash them is a little dramatic and irreverent. For those that don’t know the  definition of reverence, on the Merriam Webster online dictionary it states that it is “honor or respect felt or shown : deference; especially : profound adoring awed respect.” So, if you’re in a house of worship, where you’d want the Lord to reside, you’re not going to be smashing guns to pieces that shows a subtle act of violence, and that disrespects holy grounds. It’s better to act peacefully and passive just as Jesus would be.
In different videos, he also squirts the first few rows of his audience with the holy water. Once again, I think this is a bit odd. I don’t see the point in doing that. He’s still acting as if he’s shooting people…why would you want to shoot your congregation? I’m sure he has his own list of reasons for this, but I just know the only part I like about this sermon is the simple act of grabbing the fake guns and throwing them away…and that’s it. There doesn’t need to be any other dramatic scene.

And my last point was to find out if it was effective or not. Well from what little I could find, I believe it was somewhat effective. More people have joined his congregation to see what the buzz is all about, and this story made it into U.S. news. So even though it wasn’t national headlines, there’s at least 18,000 views of YouTube hits from this story, and 20,000 people in that town where the church is located. So I’m thinking 38,000 people being influenced from this humble story is more effective than 1 person hearing about it.

What do you guys think?

U.S.: NEWS STORY

MEXICO: ACTUAL RECORDING OF THE SERMON

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53% of high schoolers are not interested in the drug war

This past week I created a survey and asked my mom, a high school teacher in Houston, to pass out the survey to all her students. The survey creating program I used (survey monkey) collected the first 100 responses and organized the data into percentages for each question. Some of the results left me surprised, while others did not. (The title of this post only refers to the 100 students I surveyed).

I will analyze each of the 9 total questions in this report.

Question 1 is a type of question that will vary throughout socioeconomic classes as well as different demographic characteristics of the population.

Questions 2 and 3 correlate together. At first I was a little skeptical that only 5% of kids out of 100% said they used drugs but when I discovered the results of question 3, I found that 64.3% knew someone that used drugs. So those two results together make more sense, even though there’s only these 5% that are high school users, there’s still another 63 kids (out of 100) that know of family or friends that are using. Seems a little more accurate.

Question 4 I was forgetful in adding the number zero. So most of the kids that didn’t see zero either put 1-2 or skipped the question. This was my fault, therefore this statistic may be somewhat inaccurate under the 1-2 option. However, I was amazed that the 7 or more option would have one second place in the “how many people do you know that uses illegal drugs” category. 24 kids knew 7 or more people where as compared to the 5-6 with only 7 and the 3-4 not far behind with 21, that blows my mind. Because this means that kids either know no one or they know a lot of people. The options in between or fuzzy. So it’s just a wild thought.

Question 5… I’m not surprised. This would seem more accurate to me since I’d believe a lot of high schoolers aren’t going to be dealing or be in constant contact with a dealer.

Question 6 was to see if the younger crowd/generation has any knowledge of what’s going in the world today. Especially since we live in Texas, I was curious if they knew of an issue that’s happening so close to us.I’m glad to find that there was a large percent of kids that knew about it.

Question 7 I did something a little different. I had asked kids to type in their own free response to the question “What do you know about it?”

Here I will paste some of the answers I found interesting:

“People are doing anything they can to get drugs over the border across to the US, they have been putting drugs into dogs and animals and bring them over. They also kill others and their families in order to bring them over.”

” All i know is that it’s dangerous with people shooting others and stuff like that i think… ”

” There is drugs and its a big deal? ”

” People die all the time. they take prisoners and put them in fights to the death, and the winners have to go out and shoot as many people as possible until they get shot. also, they kill journalists. ”

” not much. my dad just talks about it sometimes because he works in Mexico ”

” Americans are buying drugs. ”

“I’ve heard that the people that bring the drugs over the boarderare usually poor and are just trying to make some extra cash.”

” There are brutal drug cartels that are responsible for smuggling drugs as well as many murders. In some cases inoccent tourists or itnernet bloggers have even been murdered just to be made an example of. Smuggling drugs is a huge felony and getting contraban into the country has become a very big issue for the U.S. and Mexico. ”

” That it’s happening. (?) ”

” That the native people of Mexico are smuggling drugs to the United states and other countries.”

” They cut off people’s heads and hang them from trees. ”

” I SMOKE IT! ”

” I know that it is sold for lots of money. I know the people that use it get bad grades, and usually don’t care about anything. I know that people who use them probably won’t be successful in the future. ”

” NOTHING (: ”

And many more were posted but I cannot post them all. These were just the ones that stuck out to me. Some of them were informed, some did not make any sense in relation to the drug war, and some were clueless. I noticed out of all the responses, the majority had no clue of the happenings of the drug war. But at least I did my part through this survey, to hopefully interest them in learning more about it. Some kids gave me internet responses, such as what it was from Wikipedia or other sites. So that means they took the time to learn what it was at least.

Question 8 I tried to make them aware of the fact that America plays a large part of the drug war in Mexico…that’s it not simply Mexico creating this mess.

And Question 9 I really wanted to see if young people care about this issue. And the result cut it close, but it turns out that more youth do not really care about the drug war. It’s sad to think this is our future. They don’t care about something that we are a part of… this means that they will continue to do drugs, go on with their lives, they will continue to be uneducated on these matters, and nothing will be resolved.

 

 

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Is ignorance bliss?

I conducted a poll in which I asked 10 people under the age of 21, and 10 people over the age of 21, if they had a stance/opinion, didn’t care about the subject, or just had absolutely no clue about the drug wars and violence occurring currently in Mexico. I was amazed how opposite the two results came out to be, when people over the age of 21 had strong opinions on the matter, whereas the younger crowd seemed to have no idea on what I was asking about. Those who had no opinion seemed to come pretty close to each other, but it seems like those under 21 aren’t receiving education on the current national news. What was even more surprising to me, was the fact that these people I interviewed reside in Texas, where most of the action is very close. Perhaps this is saying something about our youth? What do future generations have to bring to the table…to our nation’s welfare?

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