Monday, January 19, 2009

Vigilantes rise in Mexico

Shadowy vigilante groups are threatening Mexico's drug gangs near the U.S. border in retaliation for a wave of murders and kidnappings that killed 1,600 people in this city alone last year.
Honestly, as bad as the situation in some parts of Mexico has gotten, I've been expecting this for a while. Not only have there been a massive number of murders, but many have been brutal, and some have been terrorist-style executions. But what really gets me is this:

"People's reactions are understandable. But this is not the route we should take to solve things," said Andreu Rodriguez, an opposition lawmaker and the head of security issues in Chihuahua's state legislature.

What else are they supposed to do? The government obviously can't protect them, and you won't let them own the weapons they need to protect themselves! The only thing they can do is band together and try to fight on their terms, not the gangs' terms.

"We cannot tolerate the presence of these type of faceless, anonymous groups," said Manuel del Castillo, a spokesman for the state government.

Again, what other options do they have? If they are open in their defiance of the gangs, not only will they become the next victims, but the gangs will likely target their friends and family, too. Plus, they will have to worry about the government arresting them for "vigilanteism" when all they are doing is trying to protect themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods, which is something their government - that would be you SeƱors del Castillo and Rodriguez - has utterly failed to do.

I may come across here as a fan of vigilante activity. Despite a certain fondness for the old Shadow radio shows, and innumerable comic books, I don't really approve of vigilanteism. I prefer the rule of law and trial by a jury of one's peers. But in this case, the police, the courts, and even the military have shown their inability to protect the citizens they have rendered helpless through disarmament, so I find myself left with the question:

What else can they do?

1 comment:

Crotalus said...

As you said, what else can they do? I think that sometimes, vigilanteism has its place. If a government cannot (or will not) protect those it claims sovereignty over, then they must do it themselves. They must also consider the gov't their enemy, and protect themselves from it.