Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mexican Vigilantes, the War on Drugs, and Gun Rights

Armed vigilantes are battling drug cartels in Mexico.  Business Insider has a great set of photos about recent events.

The WSJ also reported on the vigilantes successful take over of Neuva Italia, a small town in Michoacan.
Hundreds of armed vigilantes stormed a town in rural Mexico on Sunday morning, forcing out most of its local government, witnesses said, and declaring they were close to ousting a powerful drug cartel that has menaced the region.
The takeover occurred in the southern Mexican town of Nueva Italia and was led by one of the area's so-called self-defense groups: armed squads of vigilantes that are making fast gains in some areas against organized-crime groups that Mexico's security forces have failed to defeat.
The LA Times is reporting that the vigilantes are holding 11 local police in custody, whom they blame for collusion with the Knights Templar drug cartel.

This has implications for U.S. policy.

First, our brain dead drug policies are partly to blame for the situation.  Legalization of marijuana and other drugs would vastly reduce the money available to the cartels to fund weapons buys.  I don't approve of abusing drugs, I just know that preventing drug abuse through police enforcement is a cure worse than the disease.

Second, the government is ineffective in Mexico at maintaining the law.  It must take high levels of fear and frustration to get ordinary people to turn to vigilantism to defeat criminal gangs.  This is one reason why citizens have an inherent right to possess firearms; you ultimately can't fully rely on government to protect you.  Governments the world over have failed to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, no amount of wishful thinking will change that.

Third, the anarchy in Mexico doesn't bode well for our ability to maintain economic ties, which depend on a reasonable ability to cross the border with goods and services.  The worse the anarchy, the tougher we will end up making the border crossing.

What You Should Be Reading


  1. Dude, we're losing civilization. As in Camden-is-Mogadishu (or any of a number of other American cities-is-Mogadishu) and you want to surrender, but just on the drugs. Good luck with that. Let me know what happens when violent, illiterate druggies start taking over the malls. Oh, wait.

  2. As you point out, the drugs are already in the possession of the teens. Why should the profits from that enterprise go to violent drug lords?