Monday, March 07, 2011

Happiness ≠ A Warm Gun

We get the occasional comment an/or email here accusing us of intellectual inconsistency on the subject of guns and drugs crossing the US-Mexican border. Specifically, people demand to know why we blame "America's insatiable appetite for drugs" for the northbound traffic in controlled substances, but not "Mexico's insatiable appetite for guns" for the southbound traffic in lethal weaponry. In both cases we blame Uncle Sam, which proves, or so the argument goes, that we're just knee-jerk anti-Americans.

First of all, we would no more expect to find "intellectual consistency" in an organization as large and as diverse as the Burro Hall Editorial Board than we would in the American people themselves. But putting that aside for the moment, we'll deal with the question at the heart of the argument: "Yeah, what about that insatiable Mexican appetite for guns?"

Well, we're not sure how one can equate the recreational drug users at the end of one demand chain, and the gun-buyers at the end of the other - the former group mostly wants to have some fun in the privacy of their own homes, while the latter mostly wants to kill other human beings. Pot-smokers usually don't consider themselves to be criminals, while cartel hitmen usually do. But most of all, according to a recent survey by El Universal, Mexicans overwhelmingly do not hunger insatiably for semi-automatic weaponry.

Among the highlights: 86 percent of respondents say no one in their family currently owns a gun, and 75 percent say they have no interest in having one.

71 percent disagree with the NRA's central tenant of faith - that the world is a safer place when everybody's packing.

And perhaps our favorite statistic of all, only 11 percent of Mexicans say they would be willing to buy a gun "in order to take justice into their own hands." If you've ever driven on a Mexican highway, you'll understand exactly why this is so refreshing.

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