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August 19, 2007

Blame the Gringos: Mexico deals with their crime problem by pointing fingers at America

I was going to write up a summary of my impressions of Fred Thompson's visit to the Iowa State Fair last Friday, but an article in the Sunday Des Moines Register from Associated Press has me fuming, so we'll talk about that instead.

Here is the article.

The article came from Associated Press, so I'm sure it was zealously fact checked by several layers of editors before publication. Or not. I'm beginning to think that MAYBE every journalist in America slept in on the day when they covered "print the truth" in journalism school. Back in college, I used to laugh at the idiots writing for the school paper. I used to consider journalists to be people who couldn't find their calling anywhere else (even to sort trash at the recycling center), so they spent four or five years learning how to write. That's it. Learning how to write. God forbid that people should come from PRODUCTIVE careers into journalism and bring their specialized knowledge with them. God no, that sort of thing would take jobs away from J-school graduates, and experts in fields like engineering, logistics, history and physics could never grasp the intricacies of getting who, what, when, where, why & how into a story. Noooooo, you've got to teach your journalists themes like "fake but accurate" and "advocacy journalism" instead.

In case you haven't noticed, I think the referenced story is Grade-A Bullshit. I'll give my reasons after the jump. It's a long piece, even for me, so be forewarned. Is it worth the time to read it? I think so, but you be the judge.


Go to the article & read the whole thing before you go any further. I'm only going to excerpt small bits, and I'd hate to be accused of taking anything out of context, so I'll wait until you get back to proceed with my Fisking.

OK, back now? Good.


U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials report a sharp increase in both the flow and firepower of U.S. weapons across the border. Particularly worrisome are assault rifles and "cop-killer" pistols.

Mexico has strict firearms laws, few gun stores and a mere 4,300 private licensed gun holders among its 105 million people. The United States, with nearly as many guns as people, has more than 100,000 licensed gun sellers, an industry that makes about 2.8 million small arms a year, and gun laws so loose that arms traffickers easily pick up any weapons they need


OK, so far it's boilerplate "Americans are Cowboys" progressive crap. Note the comparison between America, where we have the 2nd Amendment & a government that at least has to pretend to acknowledge our other God-given rights, and Mexico, a kleptocracy where approximately 10 to 15 percent of their population would rather risk their lives to cross the Arizona/New Mexico deserts, live with 30 other illegals in a two bedroom house, and perform backbreaking labor for just over minimum wage rather than stay at home.

The ratios listed are sobering. There are only 4,300 people in all of Mexico licensed to OWN firearms? That's OWN, not carry. Shoot, I'm going to assume that there are more legal firearm owners in Madison County, Iowa (population approximately 18,000) than there are in the whole country of Mexico (population 105 million), and Iowa's not especially known for it's gun culture. I'd think that places like Utah and Texas would have more guns per capita than we do, but I don't know the actual numbers. If you take the per capita rate of gun ownership in Mexico and overlay it on the USA, that means that my home county (the aforementioned Madison; birthplace of John Wayne & home of "The Bridges of Madison County" from that sappy novel & equally sucky movie) would only have ONE gun owner if we had laws as strict as Mexico's. That's one gun owner in a 576 square mile area. That means that if you compare a resident's chances to see a gun that's not being carried by a law enforcement officer to Ace's chances to see a naked woman (one that he doesn't have to tip another $20 every time the song stops & a new one starts up) they're pretty much equal.

And what's this crap about "arms traffickers easily picking up any weapons they need"? I'm gonna call shenannigans on that assertation. What's the source for this little factoid? Uzi McFirepower? Lucy Ramirez? Some guy from the company that makes Bradley fighting vehicles? Last time I checked, fully automatic firearms require a Class III permit, and that process allows the BATF to come to your house & let "Agent Scissorhands" give you a prostate exam. Class III license holders are scrutinized more carefully than nuclear power plant operators, and their licenses can be yanked for the smallest infraction. Fully automatic weapons in America are in a class that Clinton promised to convert abortions into during his administration: rare but legal. And even if you had clients who only wanted regular (non-full auto rifles & pistols) weapons, there's still the matter of finding legal American citizens who are willing to become accomplices to a felony for a few bucks. I'm not denying that there are plenty of idiots out there who'll roll the dice on a trip to "Federal Salad-Tossing Prison" for a couple of hundred bucks a pop, but it's not like arms traffickers can place an ad in the local Thrifty Nickel looking for Straw Man purchasers.


"The problem is getting bigger because the illegal possession of arms, and their clandestine introduction to our country, combines with narcotics trafficking," said a government report to Mexico's Senate in June.

It said 99.4 percent of the weapons in the hands of Mexican criminals are suspected of coming from the United States.

At least 11,752 U.S.-sold guns have been found in Mexico since January 2003 - a tiny fraction of what remains on the streets, according to the report.


OK, I could believe 40 to 50%. 75% might even be true, but NINETY NINE POINT FOUR PERCENT? That sounds like the number of Cubans who voted for Castro in the last "free elections", or the number of Venezuelans who are happy with Chavez (according to the Chavez government). Methinks that the people who wrote that report for the senate had to use a whole shitload of Febreze to cover up the fact that these stats were pulled straight from their collective squeakholes. With China producing AK47 & SKS rifles and knockoffs of Makarov & Tokarev pistols like it's going out of style, and Presidente Chavez purchasing several hundred thousand new AK's from Russia last year, I'd say that the chances a SMIDGEN more than 0.6% of the drug cartel armories are not purchased in the US of A is pretty good.

I'm going to take a page from the AP playbook and visualize that 99.4% of the members of the Mexican senate have big greasy handlebar moustaches & wear white peasant blouses & big 'ol straw sombreros on the Senate floor. And their speeches to the rest of the senate are delivered in that bad fake-Mexican accent you heard used in The Magnificent Seven or the old Warner Brothers Speedy Gonzalez cartoons. Hey, my research on this subject is unassailable, and just as soon as I return from my two-week vacation, I'll address any questions about my assertation.

And as far as the number of guns traceable to American stores found in Mexico during the last four years goes, let's put that in perspective. The article doesn't state how many of those guns were suspected of being purchased specifically for importation to Mexico and how many of them were suspected of being stolen from their American owners & carried into Mexico by persons unknown. If we round that number up to 12,000 and use 12 million as the number of illegal aliens working in America (I know I've heard that number thrown out there before, but I'll concede that it's just an assumption for the purposes of this analysis), that means that if only one out of every thousand Mexicans working in America carried a gun back into Mexico sometime in the past, that would account for the entire amount of weapons seized by the Federales. And the age of the guns seized was not listed in this article: It's quite possible that a large number of the guns seized by Mexico during the last four years were brought into Mexico before the 1968 Gun Control Act, when purchases were made more difficult & the paperwork involved was greatly increased. There's a big difference between an AR15 brought into Mexico to arm drug gangs & a Winchester .30-30 lever action some farmer brought over the border to hunt deer with back in the early 60's - but this article doesn't bother to differentiate between these two guns. One is the same as the other, since ALL guns are prohibited in Mexico for anyone without the political connections & money required to grease the right palms. Are we supposed to believe that EVERY gun seized by the Mexican Feds was a shiny new "assault rifle" headed straight to the narcotrafficantes? I. Don't. Think. So.

Of course it doesn't. That might disturb the "Gringos are responsible for all our problems" meme they've got going on here. And that's not part of the plan, sunshine.


It did not give figures for previous years. But one indicator of a new gun glut is the fact that hit men drop their guns at crime scenes rather than be caught with them afterward, knowing they are easily replaced, a senior U.S. law enforcement official in Mexico said on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

Particularly worrisome are U.S. sales of Belgian-made FN-57 pistols. These fire bullets that "will defeat most body armor in military service around the world today," according to the Remtek weapons site on the Internet. They sell for $800-$1,000 each at dozens of gun stores within a day's drive of the border.

The weapons were unheard of in Mexico until they were used to kill at least a half dozen police officers this year. Among them were Mexico City policemen Felix Perez and Jose Rodriguez, slain in May when a car full of suspected mobsters fired FN-57s whose bullets sliced right through the officers' body armor.

In all, about 100 Mexican officers have been slain since President Felipe Calderon launched an ambitious nationwide crackdown on the drug trade this year.


OK, this is the part where the AP shows their professionalism. See the "bait & switch"? Look for it while I talk tech here, and I'll get back to it in a minute.

The FN57 pistol mentioned in the article is a newer weapon that fires the 5.7x28 cartridge. which propels a 23-grain full metal jacketed pointed slug at approximately 2,200 feet per second (muzzle velocity out of a rifle, and you can assume that the pistol produces approximately 60 to 70% of that figure, due to the shorter barrel & more inefficient buring of the gunpowder). Compare that to a muzzle velocity for a standard .22 LR rimfire rifle (squirrel & rabbit ammo) of 1,070 fps and muzzle velocity on .223 ammo (civilian version of what the military fires in their M16's) of approximately 3,000 fps. The FN57 fires the same round used in the FN P-90, which, for those of you who have impeccable nerd-fu, is the bullpup weapon used in the "Stargate: SG-1" syndicated TV show. The small surface area of the slug, combined with the full metal jacket & the relatively high velocity of the round makes this a good choice to slice through body armor at close range (50 yards or so). My ballistics info came from "Cartridges of the World" by Barnes, in case anyone wants to "Fact check my ass" here.

The purchase price listed in the AP article is fairly close to what I've seen on the internet, but HERE is an ad for one on Gunbroker.com if anyone is interested.

Now, back to the "bait & switch": Do you see it?

The AP article asserts that Mexico is so awash in guns that hit men drop their pieces after killing people, and then they swing right into a righteous condemnation of the eeeevil FN-57 and it's "cop killing ammo". It kind of makes you think that the FN-57 is more common in Mexico than drunk college girls during spring break, but if you read the article carefully, that's not what it says at all.

Can Mexican hit men get their hands on another gun fairly easily? Yeah, but those guns are more than likely old .38 revolvers or .22 pistols, which could be older than the grandfathers of both the killers & their targets. Specialized weapons like the FN-57 are more than likely kept by their users for the next hit on hardened targets like cops & politicians. I hate to use the term "Saturday Night Special" here because of it's racist background (they used to insert "the N-word" right before Special), but it's appropriate to note that not all guns are equal.

Don't get me wrong; 100 dead Mexican cops are about 100 too many for my taste, but this article doesn't even attempt to determine how many of them were killed by weapons recently purchased in America.


"U.S. laws allow citizens to have guns that are authentically warlike," Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora complained at a recent news conference. "We have to find a more effective way of stopping these arms from flowing into the country and giving these gangs such significant firepower."


Fuck you, Eduardo. Fuck you and the burro you rode in on. If Tom Tancredo replaced "guns" and "arms" in that statement with "racist hate groups like La Raza" and "undocumented workers" and read it right back to you, you'd be asking for his head on a platter. Maybe, instead of worrying about the Constitutional rights of American citizens, the Attorney General of Mexico should tend to his own country & find out why a rich country like Mexico is so full of poor people. Mexico's got enough petroleum wealth to keep it's citizens fat & happy, maybe not as much money per capita as Kuwait & Quatar, but at least as much as Alaska, which sends checks to each state resident of over $1,000 in petroleum profit-sharing every year.


In February, Mexican customs agent Jorge Santillan seized a truck crossing from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Mexico, carrying a grenade launcher and 17 grenades along with 18 rifles and 17 pistols. The shipment allegedly belonged to the Zetas, a feared group of former soldiers-turned-hitmen.

Days later, the agent was shot to death with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.


This is the hidden jewel of this article. The Zetas. "Former soldiers-turned-hitmen". Where, oh where would a group of former Mexican soldiers get arms & ammunition? The Brownsville Wal Mart? Dave in Texas' rec room? Maybe, just maybe here (and I'm just saying this to fling an idea up on the wall & see if it sticks), they're getting their arms & ammo from.........that's right......The Mexican Army? If the drug gangs are getting their killers from the Mexican Army, isn't it reasonable to think that they're getting more than ZERO POINT SIX PERCENT of their firearms from that same source?

And the grenades seized by the Mexican border patrol agent? Not sold in any gun store I've ever been to. Hell, since grenades are considered "destructive devices" like artillery & bombs, the Class III license I mentioned earlier doesn't entitle you to own them like it does machine guns. Anyone who says that these grenades came from a gun show or a local gun shop is either lying or ignorant. Odds are, they're Mexican government issue, and the Zetas were just bringing some of stuff they had stashed in America back into their country; however, in order to prove this assertation, we'd have to have the serial numbers off the grenades in question, and I seriously doubt that the Mexican government is going to provide our government with more proof that Mexico's military leaks armaments like a sieve.

The Kalashnikov assault rifle used to kill the border agent? It's the AK47 I referenced earlier, and Russia & her allies only produced about 50 million of these, so the odds are pretty good that he wasn't killed by an American gun; which would be good information to know, if you weren't trying to push an agenda here.

Here's the payoff: I understand why Mexico is so quick to "Blame the Gringos" here. It helps deflect the fact that their country is a third world hellhole where life is cheap. Hell, they get our own media to help out in the process, so why NOT blame America for all their problems? It's not like they don't already blame us for buying the American Southwest from them (OK, so we bought it at bayonet-point after winning the war, but we bought it nontheless) after the Mexican-American war, so why not blame us for Mexicans killing Mexicans?

What pisses me off is that they just make shit up to blame us for. Do they have plenty of reasons to be pissed at us? Yeah, remember the "Frito Bandito"? How about "Slowpoke Rodriguez, the slowest mouse in alllllll of Meh-hico"? And how about Comedy Central putting Carlos Mencia's show on AFTER those foul-mouthed cartoon kids from Colorado, home of their arch-enemy, Tom Tancredo?

What got me thinking so hard about this topic? Over at Ace's Beta Site (Innocent Bystanders: All the Inside Jokes and Half the Trolls with more Wickedpinto-ey goodness in every bite), we've started up a little Book Club, and this month's selection is "Duel", a book about the relationship between Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr leading up to their famous 1804 showdown in Weehawken, New Jersey. A throwaway line in the first 50 pages or so of the book mentions that the America that Thomas Jefferson & his ilk wanted to see take root would have been an agrarian society dependent on foreign largesse instead of the industrial power that Hamilton & his Federalist supporters helped make our country into with the strong banking system & emphasis on growth.

After I read this AP article this morning, it struck me that Mexico is a lot like the America that Thomas Jefferson wanted to see built in the aftermath of the American Revolution: An agrarian society where the central government functions as the "womb to the tomb" provider of all services for it's citizens. Mexico's dependent on America & other countries for tourist dollars, technical expertise to run their oil fields, and also for the service that America provides by taking the portion of Mexico's population that SHOULD be agitating for government reform and putting them to work far away from the corrupt kleptocrats that keep the majority of Mexico's wealth for themselves.

It would be interesting to see what Thomas Jefferson's thoughts about this concept are, but since my copy of "Stuff Jefferson Said, 4th edition" was chewed up in a freak gardening accident, I'll have to ask Dave in Texas if I can borrow his rare autographed copy of The 2nd Edition (all the printing run of The 1st Edition was destroyed in the New Madrid Earthquake back in the early 1800's, so Dave's copy is one of the earliest known copies still in existence here in America) to check for myself. I don't know if he'll let it out of his house, since it's a deluxe copy bound in gen-u-wine beagle leather, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

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posted by Russ from Winterset at 08:54 PM

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