“I’d like to see some publication do a comparison of terrorist related deaths and drug war related deaths.” Dave Pell
Pell’s request comes after yet another Mexican mayor was murdered by drug cartels who want to control the police. Esquire says Mayor Gisela Mota‘s murder makes a total of more than 100 Mexican mayors killed by the cartels in the last decade, during which time it says at least 100,000 people have died in Mexico as a result of the drug wars. The murder of politicians in order to intimidate and control is terrorism, of course, but by terrorism the ever astute Pell means (as nearly everyone does now) terrorism by Islamist factions. They’ve owned the word terrorism in the 21st century.
That said, here are some figures. The 2015 Institute for Economics and Peace reports that more than 32,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks in 2014, with 51% of those attacks attributed to ISIL and Boko Haram. 78% of terrorists deaths occurred in five countries: Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. These killings are on the rise; 32,000 marks a high point among the 140,000 killed by terrorist acts since 2000. Drug cartels in Mexico are less likely than ISIL to claim their murders, so attributing homicides in Mexico directly to the drug wars is not a perfect science. But most experts agree that the drug wars account for a very large percentage of Mexico’s huge homicide rate — as much as 90% of it. The National Catholic Reporter cites the Trans-Border Institute in reporting that more than 120,000 murders were committed in Mexico between 2006-2012. But since most murders in Mexico go unreported, that estimate is also considered low, with “untold numbers buried in mass graves.” To answer Mr. Pell, both numbers are tragically high and, depending on the source, not too far apart.