You’ve probably heard or read the story by now: People in a group of villages in the southern state of Guerrero, Mexico, are taking the law into their own hands. They have formed vigilance committees. They are rounding up drug thugs and putting them on trial. They are tired of their government’s seeming inability to protect them from drug gangs. So they are taking the law into their own hands.
Imagine if that happened here. Think what it would be like if a bevy citizens of Madera County decided the Sheriff’s Department or the police departments of Madera and Chowchilla couldn’t handle crime. Suppose these citizens were getting sick and tired of drug dealers, drive-by shooters, graffiti vandals and burglars. Think what it would be like if they took the law in their own hands.
The first thing the vigilantes in Guerrero did was kick the federales out. The federales are the Mexican law-enforcement authorities. But they weren’t very good at enforcing the law. So the vigilantes told the federales to stay out of the way, please. The vigilantes set up road blocks to keep the federales at bay.
Can you imagine telling the sheriff’s deputies and city police officers to stay out of the county?
Once they had taken care of the federales, the vigilantes began to round up bad guys, or people they suspected of being bad guys. The suspects are being kept in makeshift jails awaiting vigilante trial. A curfew is being enforced. Extortion, blackmailing and kidnapping have for the time being ceased.
For the first time in a long time, the law is being enforced.
One militia group leader is quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying, “We brought order back to a place where there had been chaos. We were able to do in 15 days what the government has not been able to do in years.”
Time will tell how this works in Mexico. I hope the bad guys run away.