Excelsior online had a story on Friday about two young women who were gunned down in Chihuahua. They were apparently walking down the street quietly, minding their own business, when they were shot and killed.
The story continues to describe how more and more women are being caught up in the drug war – narcos are killing each other's wives and girlfriends as retaliation, for instance.
This is true. But does this insinuation belong in a story about two young women "whose bodies aren't even cold yet," as a journalist friend put it?
No, it doesn't. There is no evidence that these young women were mixed up in the drug trade. There is no need, journalistically, to link the deaths to the drug trade (In terms of tragedy value, the killing rates pretty high already; in terms of of shock value, the same – there's just no need to make it a drug-related killing to make it more readable.)
This simply plays into the fear that everyone and their grandmother is a narco. They are not. The Calderon administration has done its best to label – with a very broad brush – anyone involved in the drug trade as a narco, but this is not fair and it is not befitting of a democracy. The president, as the LA Times noted last week, needs to change his message. The press needs to be more responsible too. There are some seriously evil people in this country, but the majority of Mexicans – and the majority of Mexican narcos – are not inherently evil.
The government and the media need to stop linking everything and everyone to drug trafficking, and examine exactly what is going on.
A US official told me about a year ago that soon, Mexican passports will be viewed abroad like Colombian passports were seen in the 90s – and raise an immediate red flag.
Are all Mexicans narcos? Is every Mexican traveling abroad carrying drugs? Is every Mexican who gets shot these days a narco? Of course not. The media and government need to stop this profiling and start doing some work investigating. Otherwise the country will be headed to the dark ages, like Arizona.