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L.A. Now Live with Steve Lopez: Are U.S. drug users to blame for violence in Mexico?

June 4, 2012 | 12:40 pm

Steve Lopez took on the causes of the Mexico drug war in his Sunday column. At 1 p.m. he will take questions and comments from readers. A sample from his column:

Illegal drugs by the tons are smuggled into California each year by sea, by land and by air. Cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin are either produced in or pass through Mexico, where 50,000 people have been killed in the last six years in an escalating war among cartels. Some of the victims have been beheaded, mutilated or left hanging from bridges, not necessarily because of their involvement in the trade, but as a diabolical demonstration that the drug lords will stop at nothing to dominate the market. Those drugs end up in every neighborhood in Southern California and every city in the United States, feeding a never-ending hunger. But few people north of the border seem to make the connection. The Mexican carnage is conveniently distant. It's Mexico's problem, not ours. When a 24-year-old Echo Park illustrator and recreational drug user goes to a warehouse party or a dance club, she told me, cocaine, Ecstasy and other drugs are always available and often used openly. Given the horrific stories from Mexico, I wondered if the price of those drugs is ever a consideration.