Right now, Mexico and the US are faced with what can be termed police brutality. Having lived here for awhile now, I think the violence in Mexico has been fed by the US , not only because of the purchase from Mexico of drugs and t he sale to narcos of weapons. US has armed Mexico's police, egged on the "War on Drugs," and Obama has treated Peña Nieto as a "friend." The Administration in the US appears to know nothing about Mexico, nothing outside what EPN and buddies want it to know. So when the 43 students were massacred, it was outside the US area of interest. You hardly saw it discussed in the NYTimes.
These 43 students were probably killed much more coldly than Michael Brown was. They were seen, it seems, as a group that had found itself in a position inconvenient for the mayor's wife who was planning to give a speech that night. The students were turned over to members of a narco gang who presumably were told to get rid of them. THe terrible thoughlessness that went into their massacre is blinding: they ended up as ashes in garbage bags. In Guerrero, the state where this took place, the mayor and his wife have been imprisoned and the governor of the state has resigned. But the US has really said nothing to change anything, let alone rescind some of the funds which pay for the violence. In an article in Foreign Policy, Roger Ackerman has described this situation in more detail in an article called Why America is to Blame for Mexico's Carnage and Corruption.
In the United States, the Grand Jury finally emerged to say that it didn't have enough evidence to call for a trial for Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown. There is a tangled history for this. The prosecutor who many have said acted more like a defense attorney for Darren Wilson is the son of a police officer killed by a black man. Could he be fair? As in Mexico, and even more so, when we see police now we often see them fully armed in military-style geer riding in armored vehicles. I can't imagine that they don't see the crowds are approaching as The Enemy, not people they are supposed to serve. In the US the Michael Brown killling is not an isolated event. Police violence flares all over the place. And the President of the US says that we are a nation of laws so that we must respect the Grand Jury's statement. Yet corruption has been eating at the structure of our country for as long as we've been a country. It's getting worse, though, when people have come to assume the worst. In an article in The Guardian, Gary young wrote, "The trouble is that the United States, for far longer than it has been a 'nation of laws,' has been a nation of injustice. And in the absence of basic justice such laws can amount to little more than codified tyranny. When a white cop, Darren Wilson, shoots an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, dead and then is not indicted, the contradiction is glaring. For a world where it is not only legal for people to shoot you dead while you walk down the street, but where they can do so in the name of the law, is one in which some feel they have nothing to lose. And, in the words of James Baldwin: 'There is nothing so dangerous as a man who has nothing to lose. You do not need 10 men. Only one will do." THis situation, as much as the situation in Mexico, bodes ill for a sturdy respect for law. The whole article can be found here.
In both countries, there has been an outpouring of support from people from one side of each country to the other. In both countries, there is a fear of lawlessness by those who are supposed to protect society. In both countries, a single event seems the catalyst for change. In both, it is possible that nothing much will change yet.