We may like to think that we are inured to this type of slaughter in the 21st century but it still shocks us when we hear about it.
At the largest mass grave site ever found in Mexico, where 177 bodies have been pulled from deep pits, authorities say they have recovered few bullet casings and little evidence that the dead were killed with a gun.
Instead, most died of blunt force trauma to the head, and a sledgehammer found at the crime scene this month is believed to have been used in the executions, according to Mexican investigators and state officials. The search continued Sunday, with state officials warning they expect the count to rise.They say as many as 122 of the victims were passengers dragged off buses at drug cartel roadblocks on the major highway to the United States.
As forensic teams and Mexican marines dig through deeper and darker layers here, the buried secrets in San Fernando are challenging President Felipe Calderon's assertions that his government is winning the war and is in control of Mexico's cities and roads.
In the past four years, more than 35,000 people have been killed and thousands more have simply disappeared, since Calderon sent the military to battle Mexican organized crime with $1.6 billion in U.S. support. U.S. officials in Mexico worry that criminal gangs are taking over sections of the vital border region not by overwhelming firepower but sheer terror.
President Calderone is a terrible liar. There are several Mexican states where the writ of Mexico City law does not run in large areas. It is virtually a free fire zone in many border towns with the United States. And it is extraordinarily dangerous to attempt to cross the desert into the US as you are likely to be robbed and shot by roaming drug gangs.
One wonders what it will take for Calderone to admit the obvious. Perhaps a few more exhumations of mass graves will shock the Mexican people into demanding tougher action by the president.