With all fairness, marijuana is not as bad
as most think. Drinking alcohol is just as bad as smoking weed. You
get "drunk" from drinking alcohol and "high" from smoking pot. If
alcohol is a legal substance, marijuana should be. The key to both
alcohol and marijuana is maturity. Knowing when to do it and when not
to do it, when to stop and when to begin. We have alcoholics who drink
alcohol and "pot heads" who smoke weed daily; it is the same scenario
with a different product. Young people do not have the thought process
on how to handle things that alter judgment. Why should one be
acceptable in society and not the other? Alcohol was made illegal in
the past, only to have created organized crime. If you could look at
the number of adults who are successful now, but have smoked marijuana
sometime in the past, you would be very surprised.
Leesa Johnston, North Richland Hills
In Legalization Debate, the Facts Are Often Overlooked, Says Itai Danovitch
In the debate on legalizing marijuana, the health risks of marijuana
are often overlooked.
Legalizing marijuana will almost certainly lead to a decrease in its
price and an increase in its use, according to a recent Rand Corp.
study. And because no drug or medicine is without side effects,
increased marijuana use will mean increased health risks.
But what kind of risks? Supporters of legalization say marijuana is no
more harmful than caffeine, whereas advocates of criminalization
suggest that marijuana is highly toxic. Like other complex health
issues, the truth lies somewhere in between.
[continues 495 words]
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has a new plan to help quell the
violence wracking his country. A Los Angeles Times article noted that
Calderon is sending a plan to Congress that would do away with local
law-enforcement forces. This would be part of a larger overhaul of the
nation's police system.
While this sounds like a drastic measure -- and it is -- it does have
some merit and should be tried.
Calderon said on Wednesday, "Municipal police are the most vulnerable,
the easiest to find, the easiest to co-opt, the most subject to
intimidation and, of course, vengeance. It's necessary to change course."
[continues 261 words]
It is a known fact that many Mexican politicians have links to Mexican
drug cartels. This also is true of Mexican army officers and police
Mexico is now a de facto narco-state and no longer exists as a
sovereign country. Inasmuch as the drug cartels have extended their
tentacles into the United States (Phoenix, Atlanta, and other U.S.
cities have documented cases of Mexican cartel-related crime), it is
likely that in the future the U.S. will have to sever ties with
Mexico, unless the U.S. wants to deal with Mexican politicians who are
nothing but "front men" for drug lords. Mexico has a culture of
corruption that rewards dishonesty and its pervasive criminal element
would love nothing better than to infiltrate the United States and it
has financial wherewithal to do it.
[continues 51 words]
Mexico's Chihuahua state has a new governor, and on Monday he pledged
to seek peace, a scarce commodity in his state and particularly in the
city of Juarez.
In a speech released by the state, Gov. Cesar Duarte said, "We are set
today to go through the rough road to restore peace in Chihuahua. In
Juarez, our country is at stake."
While that is the kind of talk people need to hear, it brings the
question of how this is to be accomplished, particularly with Juarez
generally acknowledged to be one of the world's most violent cities,
if not the most violent.
[continues 183 words]
Brian Cuban is a walking contradiction. As a recovering alcoholic and
drug addict with 3 1/2 years of sobriety, he seems an unlikely
spokesman for the nascent medical-marijuana movement in Texas.
"I smoked pot once in high school," he said. "I don't smoke pot and
never will. But if there are people who are suffering and this can
help them, why not make it available?"
Look closely and you can spot the resemblance to his billionaire
brother, Mark. At 6-2 and 230 pounds, Brian is a big guy. And, like
Mark, he speaks loudly and passionately about his beliefs.
[continues 1495 words]
Your promotion of the latest idea in 45 years of drug prohibition is
a disservice to readers. Every great-sounding idea has failed to make
the smallest dent in Mexican drug operations.
This limit on cash sales is the latest cruel hoax to give us the
false hope that it might make a difference.
While you act like a college football team's cheerleader, Northern
Mexico is dying.
Shame on you. You have never dared print a proven method to destroy
the drug cartels, namely repealing drug prohibition.
At least ex-President Vicente Fox has the courage to state the
obvious. What is your excuse?
Officials at the U.S. State Department are recommending that some
Merida Initiative money be held back until Mexico shows that it is
making more of an effort to control ongoing and escalating violence
problems in that country.
Merida is a three-year plan that would give Mexico $1.4 billion to
help in various phases of the fight against drug cartels. The money is
to be given out in phases. But according to the agreement, up to 15
percent of the money can be withheld if human rights complaints in the
country aren't being addressed. It seems fairly obvious that that is
[continues 293 words]
A Dallas television station was in our newsroom on Friday talking to
reporters about why we venture into Juarez to report on El Paso's sister city.
My take was this:
"Are you afraid to cross into Juarez to report?"
"Why do you do it?"
"Well, because we're journalists and reporting on significant stories
concerning the border is what we do."
A student from Georgetown University e-mailed similar questions this
week for a paper he is writing. One of his was:
[continues 452 words]
Despite growing public support for the decriminalization of
marijuana, one Texan, Congressman Lamar Smith, and Democratic
Congressman Adam Schiff of California are pushing the Drug
Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2010.
The bill's language is allegedly so malleable that its critics are
concerned it could be used to prosecute Americans for drug use that
is legal abroad, but illegal domestically. The bill's authors stand
by the legislation and refute this allegation. Smith and Schiff,
while seeking to protect Americans, may be overstepping the bounds of
acceptable foreign policy.
[continues 594 words]
The Bootheel region of southwestern New Mexico and the adjoining
desert of southeastern Arizona has been a weak link in the effort to
secure our nation's southern border for some time.
Border Patrol officials say that more than a quarter of the El Paso
Sector's area classified as "uncontrolled" is in the Bootheel region.
The tragic murder of rancher Rob Krentz in March, most likely by a
drug trafficker who fled back across the border, has finally drawn
attention to a problem that Krentz and his neighbors had been trying
to alert the government about for years.
[continues 310 words]
It seems that there is no end in sight to the violence in Juarez. That
pessimistic observation has been borne out by experts recently, and
it's not a pleasant prospect.
An expert in the field of global organized crime, Edgardo Buscaglia,
recently used a comparison with Colombia, which he said took
approximately 20 years to extract itself from its drug-related problems.
However, he said, Mexican President Felipe Calderon doesn't have the
support in his country to do what needs to be done, such as arresting
and prosecuting high-level, cartel-involved politicians and
[continues 279 words]
Guns are the standard business equipment for warring drug cartels, so
cutting into the supply of weapons smuggled into Mexico from the
United States would seem to be a good idea.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives has been making
attempts to do this. ATF just announced results of a 100-day effort of
the Gun Runner Impact Team (GRIT): 174 firearms trafficking-related
criminal investigations; seizure of approximately 1,300 illegally
trafficked firearms and 71,000 rounds of ammunition; and drugs and
currency, according to the ATF website. Now ATF is setting up teams in
seven states, with the goal of stopping guns from getting into Mexico
and into the hands of cold-blooded killers.
[continues 200 words]
El Paso resident Pat Nance arrived at the Western Hills United
Methodist Church on Saturday morning with a solemn purpose.
She prayed for peace in Juarez.
Nance was one of hundreds of people who attended a 24-hour prayer
vigil that started Saturday morning at the church on Thunderbird Drive
on the West Side.
Ten prayer stations were set up around the altar and guided people in
prayers for families, the community, the nation, the world and peace
At the Juarez station, maps were cut into smaller areas and people
were asked to take a piece of the map and pray every day for that
particular part of the violence-plagued city.
[continues 255 words]
Mexico recognizes its 200th birthday today, and millions across the
country celebrated on Wednesday night and into this morning.
Unfortunately, in Ciudad Juarez, that wasn't the case. Citizens, by
and large, stayed inside their homes at the urging of local officials,
or they ventured into El Paso to celebrate at the Downtown San Jacinto
We were happy to have them.
However, the fact that Juarez did not stage its own celebration due to
the violence that continues on the city's streets raises questions
about the future of Juarez and Mexico.
[continues 234 words]
Mexico President Felipe Calderon has another plan to help thwart narco
trafficking, and the country's lawmakers should back him up.
Calderon wants a limit on big-ticket cash purchases to 100,000 pesos
as a way of stopping money laundering. That's about $8,000 in U.S.
In June, the government announced a cap on the amount of U.S. currency
that can be deposited or exchanged in Mexican banks.
Both moves are necessary. It's estimated that between $19 billion and
$29 billion in cash is smuggled from the U.S. into the hands of drug
cartels in Mexico.
[continues 324 words]
A Mexican journalist who was allegedly kidnapped by members of the
Sinaloa drug cartel and then released is seeking political asylum in
the United States.
Alejandro Hernandez Pacheco, a cameraman for the Televisa network, and
three other members of the Mexican media were kidnapped in July in
Gomez Palacio, Durango. They were held captive for almost a week,
allegedly tortured, starved and beaten. Their captors also threatened
to kill them if their television stations didn't air videos that
threatened Los Zetas, a rival drug cartel based in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.
[continues 678 words]
Mexican flags waved, children tooted horns, fireworks boomed and
mariachis played as a crowd of up to 10,000 people celebrated Mexico's
200th birthday Wednesday night in Downtown El Paso.
The festivities in San Jacinto Plaza were larger than last year
because it was Mexico's bicentennial and because many revelers
preferred to celebrate the traditional "grito," or cry for
independence, in El Paso rather than in violence-plagued Juarez.
El Paso police, who had a heavy presence at the event, estimated the
crowd to be between 9,000 and 10,000 people, compared with about 6,000
to 7,000 a year ago. The Mexican Consulate sponsored the
[continues 444 words]
A reporter returns to a border town riven by a drug war.
I've been dreading coming to Reynosa for weeks.
I tell myself that if I stick with the immigration story I'm working
on and don't do any reporting on the drug war, I'll be safe. Two of
Mexico's most ruthless drug cartels-Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel-are
battling for control of this city and the surrounding state of
Tamaulipas, a prized smuggling corridor.
[continues 2420 words]
Despite extensive security on the U.S. side of the border and a
vicious drug war in Juarez, drug traffickers continue to push their
products into El Paso with little decline, reports show.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports show that the travel
patterns of drug traffickers are shifting. Those reports also show
that the type of drugs crossing the border are shifting, too.
The smuggling of methamphetamines has increased. Seizures of the
substance is up from 2.7 pounds to 28 pounds in the past two years,
according to a CBP report. And while the amount of cocaine entering
the El Paso area hasn't changed, drug seizure statistics show that
traffickers are moving less cocaine through the ports of entry and
more through outlying areas of the El Paso sector, the report said.
[continues 477 words]