28 people were killed this week in an arson attack in Mexico

I came across this story this afternoon and was surprised that it hadn’t received more attention. The drug wars have been heating up again in Mexico and this week a group of gunmen stormed into a nightclub and started shooting, then locked people inside and set it on fire. A total of 28 people were killed and several more were seriously injured.

Survivors said gunmen sprayed bullets when they descended on the bar, the Caballo Blanco (White Horse), then blocked the exits and set the club alight.

Because of the loud reggaeton music pounding inside, many patrons and dancers did not notice the attack until the bar was in flames, they said.

In addition to the mass murder, there is a corruption scandal brewing. The suspect who allegedly led the attack is someone known as “La Loca” meaning the crazy one. La Loca was arrested last month and then released. Now Mexico’s president says it’s a possible conspiracy:

“There’s a problem there that needs to be investigated regarding the actions of the Veracruz prosecutor’s office,” said Lopez Obrador, a leftist elected last year on an anti-corruption platform.

“There are two things going on here: one is this shameful act by organized crime, the most inhuman thing possible; the other, which is also reprehensible, is a possible conspiracy with the authorities,” he told a news conference.

The Associated Press reports today that the arson attack is just the deadliest incident in a nationwide drug war that began heating up last year:

From 2006 to 2012, much of the drug war killing occurred in a string of northern Mexico cities — Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Culiacan, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo. “Now it is more dispersed, and that also makes it harder to control,” said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst in Mexico.

But counting down all the similarities — deadly arson attacks, bodies left piled in heaps or hung from overpasses, massacres at parties, beheading videos posted on social media — the parallels between now and then are all too clear. “It’s like deja vu all over again,” said Hope.

The article goes on to note that even children aren’t safe from the violence anymore. It is becoming routine for cartels to kill entire families in order to target one adult. There were a record number of murders in Mexico in 2018:

A report released by Mexico’s Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection recorded 33,341 intentional homicides in 2018, a 15% increase over 2017, which held the previous record for the highest number of opened investigations with 28,866 cases.

Widespread violence over more than a decade has ravaged cities and towns alike, as drug cartels and criminal organizations appear to operate with impunity, facing few if any repercussions from law enforcement agencies that are rife with corruption or crippled by intimidation.

So far this year, the number of murders is even higher, putting Mexico is on track to set a new record:

There were 17,065 victims of homicide and femicide between January and June, according to National Public Security System statistics for the first five months of the year combined with figures for June that were published daily by the Secretariat of Security and Citizens Protection (SSPC).

The government’s preliminary figures have underestimated the actual number of homicides by 20% this year but even so the figure above is 3% higher than the 16,585 murders recorded in the first half of 2018, which ended up being the most violent year on record.

All of that to say, the violence in Mexico which has been bad since 2006 now seems to be escalating to a new level where even mass murder of civilians is considered fair game.