It’s likely that this post is not going to make me new friends — and very possible that it will lose me a few.
Before I empty this soup that’s been stewing in my mind for the last week, I want to say that I know very little about politics. Therefore I am not about to write a political essay. I am going to write a human one.
In the last week, I have received worried messages from friends asking me if I was okay. The concern came following the much-publicized news of four Americans having been abducted in Mexico, two of them killed.
I confirmed that I was okay, and read the reports.
Four Americans went across the Texas border into Metamoros, a city known for its criminal activity, and were kidnapped and shot at. There is still a bit of vagueness about what exactly happened but the result is that three people died and two were injured — and of course, traumatized. Many accounts followed about how close the four friends were, what good people they were.
Very little mention was made of the Mexican lady who also died, as she happened to be standing there when the gunshots started. My guess is she was a good person also.
That’s terrible all around and nothing is going to ever make it okay for any of the five people or their families.
Next enters a bunch of “optics:”
Some Mexican crime organization turns over some suspects and writes a letter of apology. Standard.
Then the United States government vows “to be relentless in pursuit of justice for the four Americans who came under attack.”
That part bugs me.
Relentless. Ok, how relentless? How much energy is the government ready to give this?
Sure, we don’t want our fellow humans (Americans included) to be killed, and when that happens we are likely to become enraged and motivated to take action.
But why such a loud volume about this situation in particular?
According to USA Today, more than 6000 children and teenagers were injured or killed in 2022 at the hands (and guns) of mostly an American person. Now, these children were NOT willingly crossing the border into a known dangerous area — they were either going to school or attending a public event. SIX THOUSAND. At home. That’s just the kids. I am yet to see any relentless commitment being made to prevent this from happening over and over again.
Then, a couple of days ago, I listened to Siamak Namazi talk about how he has been held hostage in Tehran in horrific conditions (because it turns out that hostages get treated way worse than prisoners) for more than 7 years. He is American. He has done nothing “not even jaywalking,” as he recounts. He is the longest-held hostage, and from where he stands, not one person in the government is paying him any attention. No one has visited his family. No one is being relentless about this.
And just because I’m on a roll, I want to mention that a couple of months ago, in the village where I live, an American MMA fighter with a modicum of fame killed his Mexican girlfriend. Did YOU hear much about this? Did you hear about this American who took the life of a beautiful Mexican woman in a hotel room? Probably not. She too was a good person with very close friends.
Why? Why so much focus on Mexico being a terrible, dangerous, very bad place?
I don’t have an answer and even my guess is not worth much.
But it sure is something to think about. Possibly relentlessly.