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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.

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With over a dozen years of combined experience in military law enforcement, force protection analysis, and writing a variety of professional products for the US Air Force, state government in California, and the general public, Ms. Longmire has the expertise to create a superior product for you or your agency to further your understanding of Mexico’s drug war. Longmire Consulting is dedicated to being on the cusp of the latest developments in Mexico in order to bring you the best possible analysis of threats posed by the drug violence south of the border.

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September 16, 2010

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It might be useful to look at the origin of our our rights. Every right we have exists to aid us to fulfill a duty we have. I have a duty to protect myself and my family, therefore I have the right to engage in that defense and to possess the means for that defense. These rights necessarily must be an objective reality and originate from outside of man-made institutions (i.e. God). Otherwise our rights are just governmental creations and could lawfully be taken away.

I am not sure countries like Mexico have in their culture this concept of rights coming from God to the individual and then given by the individual/family to the government. Not sure if this is an artifact of the colonial days where the aristocracy would supposedly take care of the "peasants" or a result of the socialism/communism in the region which denies many rights from the people and places those rights under the control of the government. So I believe the biggest obstacle for Mexicans to owing guns would be their own preconceptions on whose duty it is to protect them. It is this presumption that it is the government's responsibility to protect them from the Narcos that will prevent most people from taking up an active and lawful defense. When we refuse the fulfill a particular duty that we have, we eventually give up the rights which enable us to fulfill that duty. It seems that is is what the people in Mexico (and many countries in the world) have done. Unfortunately those they have entrusted this duty to are either aligned with the wolves or worse than the wolves.

On the topic of vigilantism, I believe the widespread taking up of arms (and the duties associated) would decrease incidence of people taking the law in their own hands. It should be noted that this "law" refers to the only 2 duties that lawful law enforcement have: The duty to enforce the law and arrest criminals. As with all other duties/rights that government has, these duties originally resided in the people and given to law enforcement by the people so a trained, neutral 3rd party can execute them.

Most individuals want to live within Natural Law and do not want to engage in activity that would most likely result in organizations like La Familia. It is a feeling of helplessness that drives people to these extreme measures. This can be also seen in Mafia groups that spring up within newly arrived immigrant groups. These unlawful groups provide a sense of protection and security when the people cannot rely on the government for protection (which can never be relied upon) or have the means or willingness to provide this protection. The "lax" gun laws in Arizona, Vermont, and Alaska has not led to an increase in Vigilantism because the people, for the most part, do not ultimately look to the gov to protect them and have the means and will to provide that protection themselves.

Until the people realize that their protection is their duty, providing them the means for that protection might not do too much good. Unfortunately the problems in Mexico and many countries will require a cultural change for the people experience and preserve real freedom.

Where can I find more information about vigilante groups popping up in Mexico? Thank you.

How could arming Mexican citizens possibly make the situation any worse? It's a bloodbath in the northern states now. I say - give the people on the streets a chance to protect themselves.


On a separate note ... I notice that Calderon's teams have arrested another leader of the former Beltran-Levya cartel. And today the Mexican army disrupted an illegal roadblock that was probably run by the Zeta's. On the surface - it all looks good.

But I can't escape the feeling that the Sinaloa Cartel is gaining ground daily from all these actions by Pres. Calderon. Yes - it's true that no long ago the 3'rd highest leader of Sinaloa was captured. But was that arrest real - or a "give-away" by Chapo Guzman to deflect the heat on his own cartel? Good question.

Right on anonymous_coward!! I'm with you 100% and like your trend of thought.

Somewhere on the Internet there is a blog post by a gringo gun nut living south. He said that when hismexocan coworkers discovered he liked guns they were all eager to show off theirs. Many were ak47 full auto with no serial numbers, never had them. Meaning that there is a factory somewhere producing ak's outside the law. He said the semi auto ar-15 and handguns
coming south were bought by middle class
mexicans who would buy them from a friend living in America because middle class people tried to stay away from dealing with Mexican criminals.

I agree with P it seems like it can't hurt,it mite reduce the number of cars hijacked for road blocks and maybe reduce some of the kidnappings.But the whole question is pretty much irrelevant,as pointed out "things move at a snail's pace already in Mexico's judicial and legislative system." Mexico has a 60 year's or more history of the cops getting a free hand in suppression of political dissent and I'm not sure if there's been any change,the huge profits drive the drug war a armed citizenry couldn't hurt.

I work in Mexico and I watch this circus every day. Weapons from the US aren't the problem. Sure, there are pistols and rifles smuggled from the US but the machine guns, grenades and rocket launchers don’t come from th US. No one is going to buy a full auto AK 47 in the US for $30,000 when they can buy one in South America for $150. Besides, most law enforcement sell their weapons to the narcos (and their uniforms and bullet proof vests) in order to raise money for weddings, Christmas, quincenieras, etc. (No one who takes bribes and works with the narcos has a problem selling guns to them).

Imagine a war zone like Afghanistan, awash in weapons. The police have an infinite supply of them (bought with US drug interdiction money). The narcos end up with police equipment all the time. The reason the narcos frequently look like police isn't because they are trying to imitate them, it is because they bought their equipment from the police.

Many Mexicans are completely frustrated that they cannot legally own guns because there's more to gun ownership than shooting people. It is a sign of power. An armed citizenry suppresses corruption. The fact that an honest citizen can't have a gun places him lower on the food chain. Most of my Mexican friends believe (and I concur) that private firearm ownership would put pressure on the police to clean up their act.

If I recall Venezuela has purchased extremely large quantity's of small arms from Russia,no chance of these winding up in Mexico is there,or is my recollection incorrect.

I think that as in Washington DC, ALL people should have the option of arming themselves to protect their lives and families. That old BS about the police protecting you is unrealistic and false. In Mexico in particular, the police cannot even protect themselves! People should always be guarenteed the right to choose whether or not to be armed for self preservation. Just my .02 worth.

Silvia,

Mexico has been fighting a war on drugs for the last four years ever since President Calderon took office.

Yet, it is important to put things on perspective and not reduce the debate to the violence that is taking place in several cities in the country. And it is also equally important in this debate to recognize that this violence in Mexico was not there ten years ago, and that for many decades, Mexico was a very peaceful place in general and that there are many cities, and Mexico is indeed a big country, where there is no violence and where crime rates are significantly lower than in most US cities.

Mexico is fighting many wars, not only a war on drugs, but also a war on corruption, remember we come from a totalitarian, one party regime and that corruption was precisely the way the old party was able to sustain itself for so many years. Like Hugo Chavez is doing now in Venezuela, the PRI corrupted everything printing money and spending it.

Many reforms have been passed in Mexico in these very short ten years of democracy we had, a law obligating government entities to transparent all of their transactions, there are many audits being conducted today across all sectors of the government, our Supreme Court is now independent, our Federal Reserve is also independent, our IFE, the Federal Electoral Institute is also independent, there are many Human Rights commissions in every state and nationally, there are anti-trust regulatory bodies to promote competitiveness and fair play in business.
Just a couple of days ago President Calderon summitted a bill to Congress to unify all police forces in states, to create a unique police force for each state centralizing command.
Police corruption in Mexico is common at Municipal levels, but at Federal Police level is harder to find it, our Federal Police has gone through incredible changes in its structure and our federal police officers now receive countless certifications and training and their salaries are much higher. But we still have a problem with our municipal police forces, there is a lot resistance in Mexico, corruption because a way of life at municipal levels and that is something our society is trying to erradicate.
We in Mexico are seeing many changes, our society is undergoing many structural changes, there are many reforms taking place, there is more effectiveness in our federal and state governments today, there is a learning process for all of us.

Mexico is not what it was many years ago, many americans have an old picture of old Mexico and they still think we are a poor corrupted nation of savages, that is wrong, Mexico is the second largest economy in Latin America, we export twice as much as Brazil and most of our exports come from manufactured goods from thousands of Mexican companies and American, German, French, English, Japanese companies also established in our country. We enjoy the best wages in latin America, we in Mexico buy nearly 10% of all american exports so hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of american jobs depend on Mexicans purchasing American cars, american goods, american toys and many other american products and services. Mexico buys more american goods than China or any other country in the world except Canada. Mexico is the 11th largest economy in the world and we are expected to grow even more when we reach our potential.
But Mexico is also sitting between North America and Central and South America, so every year more than five hundred thousand central and south americans cross our borders trying to get to the Mexico-US border. Along with many poor honest people from Central and South America, there are also thousands of criminals, specially maras from Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. As the Americans tighten the grip and control of the border, thousands of these people are getting stranded in our north cities, adding to the already existing social and crime problems we have.

I don´t believe Mexican people need to have any kind of guns, that may work for Americans, but we in Mexico expect things to change, in the past couple of decades Mexico has spent billions of dollars in education, health care and infraestructure, but our politicians forgot about our security.
However today Mexico is spending tens of billions of dollars, our very own hard earned dollars, in more weapons and equipment for our military and soldiers. The US has committed to help Mexico with 1.4 billion dollars but so far we have only received some pieces of hardware and a few other things. But we don´t need that really, many of us here feel that american politicians only try to help Mexico in order to show their constituencies that they are "doing something". Instead of doing something about the existing drug cartels in the US....What? did I mention "Cartels in the US? OH! yes of course, there are no drug cartels in the US, please don´t say such a rude thing! there are only a few, a couple of teenagers selling drugs somewhere in some american city. It really amazes me how american analysts avoid to use the term "american drug cartels", no, they use "gangs", that sounds better right?

But the truth is that we would like for the US to do something about the cartels operating in the United States, in American cities, selling, distributing, controlling large territories, dealing and killing unmolested by your police. Now that is some good topic to add to this discussion about violence and gun control in Mexico.

Eventually, I am sure we will be able to take control and suppress these "Mexican gangs" and though I know nothing will ever be like in the past, I know that we as a society will prevail just as we have done it many times before.

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