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America gets high as Mexico suffers

Donald Trump promised that Mexico was going to

Donald Trump promised that Mexico was going to pay for a great, big border wall -- prototypes are shown last year, above, near the border with Tijuana, Mexico, in San Diego -- to curb illegal immigration and drugs. Credit: AP / Gregory Bull

Wall or no wall, Mexico’s paying for it.

Adolescents hang by the neck from its trees and bridges. Bodies are found in the trunks of cars. Families disappear — forever.

All because Americans like to get high.

And you know what, we don’t really care. Not really. All we are is inconvenienced. By the refugees. By the lost vacation destinations.

There goes Acapulco; there goes Cancun. So sad. Roll me up a fat one.

Add 29,168 to the tally. That’s Mexico’s just-released body count for 2017. Add it to the estimated 100,000 mostly poor Mexicans killed in that nation’s drug wars between 2006 and 2016 — plus 30,000 missing and presumed dead.

It’s quite a number. Sooner or later it’s likely to get noticed. Even here.

It’s terrible to say Americans don’t care. What about the billions we’ve spent on drug interdiction in Central and South America? What about those assault weapons and helicopters and night-vision goggles we see on “Narcos,” “El Chapo” and a half-dozen other popular drug-cartel series? Don’t they count for anything?

Sure. Our government has actively fought the war there for years. But have we, as individual Americans, really done anything to shut off the spigot here? No, not really.

The opioid crisis is waking up some of us. But that’s because our own sons and daughters are dying. We’ve never really thought about Mexico’s children. Not when it was “just a little pot” or a line of cocaine in a bathroom stall.

I sure didn’t. Not as an idiot teenager, at least. It was all recreational. Ha ha.

If anything, Americans are moving in the opposite direction. We’re telling our kids drugs are OK. Pot legalization — now in eight states — is the rage. You’re a square if you oppose it. Get with it; aren’t you progressive?

Now it’s New York’s turn. Albany wants the tax revenue. It’ll need it for rehab centers.

Some say legalization is the answer. But the facts get in the way. Mexican cartels still smuggle pot into “legal” states like Colorado, which — news flash — now leads the nation in marijuana users young and old. But the dealers are doing something else, too: They’re adding products to the pipeline — methamphetamines, bootleg painkillers, cocaine, fentanyl and heroin. The cartels aren’t stupid. They know their business. More pot users means more customers chasing higher highs. It’s a simple numbers game.

When I watch Washington’s wall debate play out on TV, I cringe to think of parents in Mexico seeing the same coverage. I don’t know how they resist kicking their TV sets. I guess you don’t do that when you live in a country with an average annual income of $9,147.

Candidate Donald Trump promised us that Mexico was going to pay for his great, big, beautiful wall. It was all a joke, of course. No one expects Mexico to pay for a 2,000-mile border wall. If Mexico could afford one, it would have built the wall years ago.

William F. B. O’Reilly is consultant for Republicans.