Compared to the massacres in Ohio and Texas, it seems rather insignificant: three more Mexican journalists murdered in a week. Yet the mass killings of journalists in Mexico – some 100 since 2000 and ten so far this year – have been largely ignored by U.S. Government and media as if to say, they’re only Mexicans, what do you expect? That they’re right next door across our border doesn’t seem to matter.
The manner of death was familiar. Edgar Alberto Nava was shot in a restaurant in the coastal city of Zihuatanejo. He had published news stories on his Facebook page that apparently antagonized the cartels. Jorge Ruiz Vazquez wrote for the newspaper El Grafico de Xalapa in Actopan. After warning shots had been fired at him, he kept his name out of his articles, but continued to report, especially concerning the city’s mayor in collusion with the cartels. He was shot dead at his home.
Ragelio Barragan Perez was found in the trunk of a car, his body showing signs of torture. He, too, had removed his byline from reports on his website in Chilpancinco in the violence ridden state of Guerrero. The drug cartels, it’s said, show compassion when they only kill and don’t torture.
These murders are among the 17,000 that have occurred since the beginning of the year, a record. An average of 90 people are killed every day in Mexico, an indication why so many want to escape to the U.S., where the murder rate is still far below Mexico’s, though we’re trying.
What is not understood is that violence is contagious. Motivation, indoctrination, ideology aside, one murder tends to beget another, and the Mexican border is no barrier to this. That’s why it’s so damaging to dismiss the Mexican murders as if they’re a world apart while the much-publicized violence in cities like Baltimore and Chicago replicate the Mexican experience. If shifted to Mexico, they would fit neatly in.
There’s this difference between the murders in the U.S. and Mexico: In the U.S., at least, a lone gunman is involved. Killed or imprisoned, he can do no more harm. In Mexico, the violence is organized. Well trained, cohesive cartels supervise the carnage and basically run Mexico. That’s why killers are rarely caught or punished and why they set such a bad example for their neighbor cross the border.