It's not a "Mexican thing"

The murder in Mexico of Rolling Meadows High School senior Alexis Marron is as tragedy.  Pure and simple, a tragedy.

Preliminary reports indicate that Marron, in Mexico visiting his grandmother, was en route to visit his girlfriend when, for whatever reason, the car in which he was riding was attacked and its occupants placed in the trunk where they died after the car was set on fire and incinerated.

However, the tragedy extends beyond Marron’s death.  The tragedy is that many people think that Marron “had it coming” because he was Mexican visiting his homeland.  Don’t you get it – senseless killings only take place in Mexico.

Right.  All you have to go is check out any newspaper and you’ll see that only Mexican teens are the victims of senseless shooting because, after all, that’s all Mexicans know how to do – sell drugs and murder each other.

Therein lies the tragedy.

Take for example this story:  The two people killed in a shooting at a fast-food restaurant in (blank) were a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy who both lived blocks from where they were gunned down, officials said.

Another senseless Mexican shooting, right?  Wrong.  The words that are missing were:  “the Englewood neighborhood”.  That’s right – the shootings took place right here in Chicago.  The unfortunate, if not tragic, reality is that shooting of innocent teens in the Chicago area is not an uncommon occurrence.

By saying Marron had it coming because he was in Mexico is little more than arrogant racial profiling.  While it is true that crime in Mexico is running rampant because of drug cartels, the same could be said for many, if not most, of the major cities in the United States.  It seems like it is easier to point the finger at people because of their nationality or race.

Mexico does not have a lock on senseless killings – look at Iraq or Afghanistan where suicide bombers kill hundreds because of their beliefs.

Some people, as noted, don’t seem to understand that.  For example, one person said “I've been to Mexico on several occasions in the past. You couldn't pay me enough to go there now. It's a stark contrast between those who have (the tourists) and those who have not (residents). Corruption abounds and it starts at the government level. Poverty and desperation abound.”  It’s a point well taken, but does that justify a senseless killing?

Or how about a reader who said: “I'm really sorry this young man died. I'm sorry for the victim's families as well of all who died in this tragedy. Having said that, this is more the reason we need to seal our borders.  That is all Central American people know which is drug dealing and killing people over drug dealing. We can't have these people here causing problems directly and indirectly in the U.S.”

Is closing the borders the answer?  If it is, do we just close the gates to Mexicans?  It seems to me that a group of foreigners made headlines on Sept. 11, 2001.

And if we are so bent on keeping our cities safe by keeping foreigners out, how do we handle those Americans who may be responsible for the nearly 15,000 murders in 2010?  For what it’s worth, that number, according to disastercenter.com is down from the high of 24,700 in 1991.

There are a lot of questions – and very few concrete answers as to how to lower the murder rate in the United States, especially the senseless killings of our young people.

One thing is certain, however.  As you reflect on Marron’s slaying remember this -- It’s not a Mexican thing.

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  • This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking post. Socially and economically comfortable Americans, however, do not pay attention to crime unless it happens to them. Recently, there were some home invations in the 'burbs (western or northwestern) and this was all over the news. It mattered. Chicago's southwest side has been getting hit hard by home invasions but we're not on the news.

    The crime in Mexico and "other" neighborhoods like Englewood will remain foreign events until / if this crime hits the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, or the North Shore. I know not everyone in these neighborhoods is insensitive to Mexico's violence and the violence in "less developed" neighborhoods. But these residents are safer and in power positions. If someone there gets hurt, it matters.

    And if they are robbed or attacked, that outrage will outweigh any crime or death, no matter how gruesome, below the border or on the other side of the viaduct.

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