The People We Aren't Considering

We've just gotten news of this horrific story from Mexico:

Just after Christmas, drug hitmen rolled into the isolated village of Tierras Coloradas and burnt it down, leaving more than 150 people, mostly children, homeless in the raw mountain winter. The residents, Tepehuan Indians who speak Spanish as a second language and have no electricity or running water, had already fled into the woods, sleeping under trees or hiding in caves after a raid by a feared drug gang on December 26.

Adam Ozimek comments:

If one of the casualties of the drug war was that things like this were happening in middle class American towns there would be no drug war.

...the only way the utilitarian calculus of our drug laws comes down in favor our of current system is if you value the well-being of Mexicans as being worth an order of magnitude less than Americans. Even then you’d probably have to value the welfare of the Americans who are rotting in jail for non-violent drug crimes very low in order to tip the utilitarian scales in favor of current policy. Something is dreadfully wrong with our social welfare function if we can’t clearly and unambiguously declare that the costs of the status quo are vastly outweighing it’s benefits. I suspect the problem is the people whose welfare we aren’t fully considering.