For quite some time now we’ve been hearing in the news media of the drug violence in Mexico. Much of it has come as Mexico is trying to crack down on its drug cartels and root out corruption. As one set of drug traffickers are taken out, others move in to the territory and try to take control. That’s where the drug wars start.
The viciousness of the violence is beyond what I can even comprehend. Children and even families are caught up in it on an almost daily basis. A quick look here of the El Paso Times reveals much of what has been happening south of the border.
I guess it’s because we live in Texas, but the Mexican drug wars are the topic of conversation almost daily here where I work. We hear about it on our news and it’s in our newspapers constantly. There is no doubt it’s fueling the call to close our southern border with Mexico.
In the summer of 2008 our church took a mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico. I fell in love with the city and the people while down there. But this year the fear of being killed in a drug war has finally taken its toll. The group that leads the mission trips down there couldn’t get any takers to go and preach the gospel in Monterrey. Even our church cancelled the trip because of fears of being killed.
I haven’t really decided how I feel about this. I took my 14-year-old daughter with me on that trip to Mexico and I certainly fear for her protection. I can say, though, that I sure am glad that Peter or Paul or really any of the New Testament Christians didn’t fear death at the expense of the gospel. It just seems to me that mission trips are treated more like exotic vacations by far too many people.
For quite awhile now I’ve wondered, statistically speaking, how the Mexican violence stacks up compared to the murder rate here in the United States. I mean, here in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas someone is killed nearly every day and experts will tell you that most of them are drug related. So I did a little research.
If you click here you will be brought to a little map of Mexico that details the murder rates in Mexico. In 2008, after I add all of the Mexican state statistics up, I get around 4769 murders.
By clicking here, a list of the U.S. Crime rate comes up. If you scroll down you will notice that in 2008 there were 16, 272 murders in the U.S. In 1991 there were 24,700 murders. A figure nearly five times that of Mexico.
I recognize that there are over 300 million people in the U.S. and only 110 million people in Mexico, but when we read the papers, do we really get the feel that there are around 17,000 people being killed annually here? I went out to Los Angeles on a mission trip in 2005. I certainly felt more unsafe in LA than in Mexico. In fact I actually witnessed the sale of crack cocaine with my own eyes right there in front of the downtown LAPD police station!
Overall the murder rate in Mexico is around 11 per 100,000 people. In the U.S. it’s a little over 5 per 100,ooo. While it may seem twice as likely to get murdered in Mexico consider this: Looking back at the above map of Mexico, consider that the highest murder rate of any given city in Mexico is Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, at just over 50 per 100,ooo. Looking here you can see that there are many cities in the U.S. with higher murder rates. This means going to some of our favorite cities for a “safe” vacation could get us just as dead as visiting Mexico. Actually it’s much more dangerous to visit a big city in the U.S. than a tourist destination in Mexico.
So this makes me wonder….How much of the fear generated by the Mexican drug cartel violence is merely created by our media? And then one step furhter…How much of the fear mongering created by the media is actually racism? Because to hear the average newspaper or news channel tell it, the streets are literally covered in blood in Mexico. The fact is, they are’t any worse there than in the U.S.
Turn to MY news channel and watch me…..we have more innocent people being killed by Mexicans HERE…..No, no, buy my paper…..WE have more children being killed by Mexicans than the TV station.
It’s fear and racism plan and simple and as Christians we need to realize it and rather than letting it cripple us from preaching the gospel, we need to let it motivate us. The answer isn’t a big cement fence along the border. It’s the salvation of Jesus Christ that keeps people from killing people.
We are literally being supplied with people who need to hear the gospel. They are flooding across our border and rather than reaching out to them, we are letting our loyalty to our country get in the way of our loyalty to Christ. The American church is far too comfortable folks.