by Carlos Arredondo
So I was reading this article about how Mexican cartels are now recruiting American teens to be their drug-mules and aid them in their dirty work. Moving the drugs for them is pitched as a viable way of making money by the cartels that approach the teens and assure them that it is a low risk activity in part because of their young age.
It is easy to see this fit and imagine how it works… a young naïve and money-hungry youth meets a cold, manipulative, businessman of a dealer and a win-win relationship is made… at least temporarily. The dealer is provided with cheap operating expenses and low or no liability, and the youth gets more money than he’d imagined ever getting and just for sneaking a few extra packages in his cargo. Unfortunately, we all know full well that in reality the youth is the one getting the short end of the stick. A very short end. While the dealers are already rooted and entrenched in their lifestyle, who knows the true cost of leading these children with long and unwritten futures on such a destructive path. Is it safe to say the opportunity costs of their future lives is incalculable?
Firstly, I feel obligated to point something out I have emphasized before, but I will say it again: the war in Mexico is not an isolated phenomenon and you better believe we are involved whether we like it or not. Our proximity, geographically and relationally, puts us right in position to feel the ripple effects of it. It is dynamics like these, the cartels using our own children, that are healthy reminders that solutions and victories in advancing forward in this war will only come from joint cooperation and united efforts towards the same end.
But perhaps even more importantly this really got me thinking, what options are we presenting our children with? What hope for their future do we offer them? What vision for the significance of their lives are we imparting into them? What identity are we establishing in them? I mean I understand the idea behind these programs that have authority officials going into the schools and showing these kids the real face of evil behind cartels and their false promises. But should we have to scare our children out of trouble or can we inspire them into greatness? If fear is going to keep them out especially for the time being, than I am all for it, but something doesn’t set well with me that we should have to frighten them off of hell’s road. I know when I was a kid I believed that when I grew up I could more or less be anything I wanted to be and live a healthy, active, productive and peaceful life. If our children can’t believe that possibility for themselves is it a big surprise that they choose a promising opportunity with quick and easy results?
I mean think about it, promises of instant gains and false glory are being made to them, and they are buying the fools-gold. But what is the counter-offer… what are we promising them?