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Most Dangerous Cities


A new survey of the world’s most deadly cities show that the top 33 are in the Americas, with the vast majority along the drug highway in North America and northern South America, beginning with San Pedro Sula, Honduras, followed by Ciudad Juarez. This includes New Orleans and Detroit. At #34 sits Cape Town. Mosul is #44. What do all these cities in the Americas have in common? I can think of two things. First, they are on the road to the United States for drugs. Second, the all have violence fueled by the loose gun laws of the United States. While it would be naive to argue that legalizing marijuana would completely solve these problems (drug gangs are already transitioning into kidnapping, extortion, illegal logging, and other illicit activities), ending the war on some people who do some drugs would sure make a huge difference.

The second thing Americans could do would be enacting reasonable gun control legislation. Since we will do neither, we can expect these horrible numbers to continue. White Republicans will talk about the savage nature of brown people killing each other and demand ever higher walls on the border, either unaware or unconcerned with how the policies they espouse fuel these horrors.

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  • AWB

    I realize this is somewhat beside the point, but there are several South American cities in the top 33.

  • DocAmazing

    My wife is amazed that my native Oakland appears nowhere on the list. Now she has no excuse not to visit my mother.

    • DrDick

      Trust me, she will find one.

    • Bill Murray

      How about “There’s no there, there”

      • No trash my town and Gertrude Stein. What she was saying could reasonably interpreted as lamenting a loss of what she knew as opposed to the saying there was nothing ever there.

  • Jeffrey Beaumont

    So I am somewhat suspicious of the loose American gun laws thing. I mean I certainly see the problem, and agree with most gun control, but has it ever been hard for cartels to get their hands on whatever weaponry they want? If we reimposed the assault rifle ban, they would still get the guns, probably of the fully automatic type not available in the US.

    • It is estimated that up to 95% of the murders committed in Mexico are accomplished with American purchased guns. To what extent they would find the guns elsewhere, I don’t know. But it ain’t helping. Like legalizing marijuana, it wouldn’t end the violence, but it would help.

      • It is estimated that up to 95% of the murders committed in Mexico are accomplished with American purchased guns. …

        I find this a bit hard to believe. Are 95% of Mexican murders even committed with guns?In the US it’s only about 2/3.

        • Jeffrey Beaumont

          I must assume that the stat is 95% of gun murders.

  • Njorl

    I wonder what result would “win” in this poll?

    I would object most to:

    a)Foreigners sending drugs into my country to be sold illegally.

    b)Foreigners sending guns into my country to facilitate crime.

    c)Foreigners sending money into my country to bribe my government officials.

    d) b and c

    • DocAmazing

      d) Foreigners sending drugs into my country to be sold illegally and at too high a mark-up.

    • Bill Murray

      e) foreigners sending their pregnant daughters to my country to outbreed the real residents

    • Malaclypse

      f) Foreigners.

      • DocAmazing

        g) Foreigner, except for “Cold as Ice”.

  • Of course criminals will always find outlets for their talents. And I agree with you on the marijuana thing. On guns though; no need to disarm me just because some foreigners can’t behave themselves. Criminals use violence because they don’t have the intellectual and social resources to solve their problems another way.
    Maybe you should rename your blog so as not to glorify and dramatize gun culture. See, you can show us the way without even having to leave your keyboard.

    • Guns don’t mow people down in the street, knives would do the same thing!!!!

      • Bill Murray

        so would cars, but we would never contravene someone’s right to use a car

        • Murc

          People don’t, in fact, have a right to use a car. And we remove peoples privilege to operate motor vehicles all the damn time.

          There’s a long, long, long continuum between ‘nobody can have guns ever’ and ‘you have the ability to easily and anonymously traffic in deadly weapons.’

      • HonorableBob


        You need to get over this. The second amendment is an individual right, passed as one of ten individual rights and was reaffirmed recently by the Supreme Court as an individual right.

        As a person that makes impassioned haranges for “rights”….many of them implicit, not codified, controversial and not widely accepted, it just looks silly to see you then turn around and constantly dishonoring this explicit consitutional right of the people. A right that is not in question at all.

        How *do* you square any of this?

        • Erik Loomis

          Like all conservatives, Honorable Bob’s stance on the 2nd Amendment is notable for its consistency given his equally strong stance on upholding the 4th Amendment.

    • CashandCable

      It’s not just “foreigners” misbehaving themselves – it’s the hundreds of US citizens and residents conducting straw purchases on behalf of the cartels, because the gun nuts think it’s perfectly reasonable for any random person off the street to pay cash for five AK-47s.

      • Slocum

        This: if you hunt or have home protection concerns, and have a rifle or a couple of pistols, then that’s not the issue being raised here.

        • DrDick

          For home defense, go with a 12-guage shotgun with #8 shot. You do not really have to aim (and most of us cannot do so under pressure) and the shot won’t go through the walls and kill your neighbors.

          • Murc


            I automatically don’t take people who say they have pistols in their homes ‘for defense’ very seriously. I don’t discount that they may have legitimate security needs, but they’ve met them in a dumb way and clearly haven’t done any research.

            Want to defend your home? Long guns.

    • Walt

      Criminals use violence because they don’t have the intellectual and social resources to solve their problems another way? What problem do you think they’re solving? The “how do we make millions of dollars” problem?

      There’s no problem to solve, unless “I would like to have millions of dollars” counts as a problem. The cartels use guns because they are competing for a lucrative yet illegal trade.

    • dangermouse

      Hey guys, stop hypocritically glamorizing lawyers and money.

  • Murc

    drug gangs are already transitioning into kidnapping

    This is actually something that saddens me a lot.

    Kidnapping for profit or leverage has become a nonexistent crime in the US; there’s no success to be had in it. While this of course is to be applauded (it represents a very real and effective law enforcement triumph) it means that the sickening, terrifying threat of it has become just another problem that faraway brown people have that we don’t give a shit about.

    • CashandCable

      According to Ioan Grillo (whose recent book “El Narco” is very good) kidnappings could actually be addressed by the Mexican Police if they had the resources and training. He argues that kidnapping is not yet so widespread that a crackdown on a few rings can’t make a difference, and that the necessity of communicating with the families of the victims makes kidnapping rings more vulnerable than general DTO operations.

      But yeah, the business is pretty disgusting. Rounding up entire groups of immigrants heading for the Rio Grande and holding them for $2000 a head. Heck, we still don’t know for sure how many bodies were found in that mass grave in Tamaulipas last year – could be 177 like the “official” toll, could be 500. Most of the biggest massacres in this fight have involved immigrants, but nobody talks about that fact.

  • Guest

    “White Republicans will talk about the savage nature of brown people killing each other and demand ever higher walls on the border, either unaware or unconcerned with how the policies they espouse fuel these horrors.” And they will collect lots of votes from frightened old white people while doing so.

  • witless chum

    It isn’t about legalizing marijuana, it’s about legalizing cocaine. That’s where the bigger money is and that would hurt the cartels most. We produce a fair amount of our own marijuana, but none of our own cocaine.

  • HonorableBob

    I would be interested, truly interested, to know what correlation these ‘dangerous cities’ have with the average lawful citizen’s ability to arm themselves.

  • Jeffrey Beaumont

    Two things on the second amendment comments:

    First, to pretend that guns are simply tools, or permanently untouchable because of an eighteenth century approach to the issue is silly. These are tools explicitly designed to kill people (yes, I know, many are not… those aren’t the guns going to Mexico either). Secondly, guns have changed a lot since the 1780s, and are now much more dangerous, pervasive, and widespread.

    Second issue… everyone, left or right, needs to get the second amendment’s meaning straight. It was designed to ensure that there was an armed populace capable of starting another revolution, should events require it. As such, the target of those protected guns is, in the first instance, our own government, and in the second instance, invaders. Now, I think the right is uncomfortable acknowledging this because it is a little disturbing/crazy and probably pretty meaningless today… even if the armed population wanted to fight back with the best rifles available, I think the predator drones still win. I think the left doesn’t like the argument because it points to a certain built-in libertarian streak in the Constitution. Not a big one, mind you, but it is there.
    But in general, I think we should all remember that the second amendment essentially calls for some sort of Swiss style system, where every adult (male in this case) is supposed to keep a military grade gun because, in theory, they are all part of the national militia, and expected to defend their countrymen if necessary. Otherwise, the swiss are a lot more controlling of guns than we are.

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