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Mexican Vigilante Groups Become “Institutionalized”


The Mexican government is putting forward a controversial initiative to work in cooperation with armed vigilante militias in the state of Michoacan. There are reportedly 20,000 armed civilians that have organized themselves into paramilitary militias over the last few years to combat the growing violence of the drug cartels. One of the main narco groups that the militias have confronted is the bizarre cartel known as the Knights Templar. These guys dress up like knights and conduct weird medieval rituals when they aren’t out murdering people and trafficking cocaine. The Mexican government has been unable to put any real stop to these narcos, so the people decided to take matters into their own hands in self defense of their homes.

This is such a bad idea. While I appreciate that the people of Michoacan have to protect themselves, historically militia groups under government control have not led to good results. Usually these bands of concerned citizens end up becoming government death squads. Because they are not subject to the same rules and regulations as the army or the police force, they can do things that aren’t exactly legal or ethical. That’s a dangerous tool to be in anyone’s hands. Still, if these militias must exist it might be a good idea for the government to keep an eye on them and work in partnership. Though I can easily see the militias turning on the army. It will be interesting to see if this move by the Mexican government does anything to lower crime.

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