How bad can things get?

For the most part, life in the Federation is good. Yet it’s unnerving to see the ninth homicide of the year recorded. In the killings that have resulted in charges being pressed, we expect to learn more about the details – specifically the “why” – behind each incident.

If the past is any guide, there will be a mixture of motives.

However, in several cases, there is widespread speculation that gangs and drugs were involved. The police, who tend to keep such details to themselves, aren’t saying much in hopes of being able to arrest the responsible parties. The reasoning goes: The more details the killers can read in the press, the better they are able to judge the case being prepared against them.

It’s sound thinking.

What’s frightening, though, is how bad things can get. Below is an excerpt from a story about a situation that developed in Mexico this week:

“There are no police anymore in Villa Ahumada. Even the mayor has fled.

“Drug gangs have virtually seized this town of 1,500 not far from Texas, as Mexico’s cartels grow increasingly audacious.

“The Mexican military took over the police department this week because all 20 officers on the force have either been killed, run out of town or quit, officials said Tuesday.

“Late Saturday, some 70 assailants barged into town and killed the police chief, two officers and three residents. At least eight people were kidnapped.

“Cartels across Mexico have been launching brazen attacks, beheading police and killing soldiers in response to a military and federal police crackdown. Since taking office in 2006, President Felipe Calderon has sent more than 25,000 troops to drug hotspots.

Shootouts occur almost daily, especially along the U.S. border and in other states where the cartels have a strong presence.”

That’s about as bad as things can get.

It would be inaccurate and sensational to say the Federation of St. Kitts-Nevis is anywhere near the level of violent insanity described in the story out of Mexico. Although this country’s problems with drugs, drug transshipments, violence and gangs are well-documented, no responsible person is suggesting that the Federation is that far gone.

But…

We are less than five months into the year and there have been nine murders. Woundings appear to be more and more common. Violence seems to be getting worse. Although there is widespread discussion of the need to take various steps by law enforcement officials, political leaders and community leaders, nothing much seems to be happening.

Mexico has its own unique set of problems, especially related to crime, that do not exist in the Federation. (As the old saying goes, “So far from God, so close to the United States.”)

Yet Mexico is a template for what happens when money, drugs and power intersect with a violent minority who has no respect for society or human life.

What has happened there does not have to happen here.

But it could – and that’s how bad things can get.