Unfortunately, this year Puerto Rico is going to establish a new record for the number of murders. As of the end of this past long-weekend, we have 989, six shy of the record of 995, set back in 1995 (the year I arrived on the island). By the way if you're keeping score at home, this means we currently have a murder rate of 26.44 murders per 100,000 citizens or .0265% (a very low percent, so why is the number of murders so alarming?)
The assistant superintendent of Field Operations for the Puerto Rico Police Department, Leovigildo Vázquez, indicated that 2011 will be the worst year ever. In a radio interview on WKAQ, Vázquez identified that 50% of the murders registered this year are associated to narcotics drug trafficking.
I've written at length that this is THE most important problem that we face as a society. For me it is a clear and obvious barometer for some of the root causes of our problems:
- The continuing degradation of the rule of law and broken windows combine to create a lethal combination. Symptoms of these factors include: corruption and potent black market economy,
- Overpopulation, a lack of jobs, a negative economy, and mass consumerism combine together to push more and more people to sacrifice their ideals, values, and future.
- A political system that keeps us divided, combative, and weak.
- Powering all of these factors is the poor educational system in Puerto Rico.
When you combine all of these factors you have a system that is extremely complex and very difficult to change. In addition, it is a system that took approximately 60 to create, so there are no quick fixes. It will take decades to reverse these trends, and any political candidate that says any different is lying.