El Salvador (courtesy america.aljazeera.com)

theguardian.com‘s post One murder every hour: how El Salvador became the homicide capital of the world lays the blame for the country’s record-setting carnage at the feet of “weak government, dire inequality and a historical national tendency towards violence both in institutions and households.” To be fair, writer Jonathan Watts highlights the recently escalated conflict between El Salvador’s two major drug gangs and the police  but his analysis somehow completely misses the impact of El Salvador’s gun control regime. In fact . . .

gunpolicy.org pegs the country’s private gun ownership rate at 9.7 firearms per 100 people. That puts El Salvador at number 92 out of 178 ranked countries for private firearms ownership. In contrast, America is number one [with a bullet], with 101.5 firearms per 100 citizens. Is that a factor? The Guardian doesn’t seem to think so, even though . . .

Even before the latest surge, fear permeated daily life, particularly in poor communities where the gangs stake out most of their territories. Residents who cross the invisible line between them – usually an innocuous-looking bridge, road or park – risk beatings or even death. Taxi drivers dread wrong turns that can lead to robbery or kidnap. Shopping trips, lovers’ trysts and football matches are all circumscribed by safety concerns. Even staying at home is no guarantee of safety.

Shopkeepers, hairdressers and restaurant owners are frequently assailed by extortionists, who typically threaten arson attacks or to cut off the ears or fingers of spouses or children. Parents watch with rising alarm as their sons and daughters approach pubescence – and the inevitable pressures that follow to join the local gang. There is often no one to turn to for support: teachers are intimidated by students and police are afraid to enter many communities.

“Our son doesn’t dare go out because gang members threatened us. He hasn’t been to school for three months” said Bianca Sanchez, whose name has been changed, a hairdresser in the Aguilares region. “In our neighbourhood, people are killed all the time.”

You can bet that the only Salvadorians with a legal firearm are wealthy or well-connected, leaving the poorer populace at the mercy of the gangs and the police, funded by U.S. narcodollars, who’ve somehow developed (continued?) a fondness for extra-judicial assassinations.

Ironically, anti-gunners see the situation in El Salvador as a rationale for disarming American citizens. “This is the vision that the right wing and NRA has for the U.S.,” commentator AMExdemocracy opines. Getting it exactly backwards. [h/t SS]

26 Responses to This Is What Happens to A Disarmed Populace: El Salvador Edition

  1. The same lowlives that are responsible for most of the violence on El Salvador are responsible for most of the violence here — namely, street gangs. Fortunately for El Salvador, the US is trying to help reduce El Salvador’s crime rate by importing as many Central American street thugs as we possibly can. How great is that!

  2. “how El Salvador became the homicide capital of the world”

    US government’s drug war.

    Incidentally the El Salvadorian government is considering drug legalization and booting the DEA out. Too bad that will simply result in far more violence in the form of an invasion by the ever-friendly US military, protecting the American nation in some way (tyfys).

    • heck the will just run the legal dope up to us sanctuary cites and set up shop,,while collecting us benefits ,, were so screwed its not even funny

    • So, end the drug war, and roving hordes who thrive on cutting off fingers and ears for a living will suddenly become gentle little lambs, mellow out and go straight? Surely, you jest. And what does extorting and firebombing legitimate businesses have to do with the drug trade?

      • Consider a disarmed slave country like England, where politicians using the same stupid argument you are using with drug prohibition: if firearms are all made legal, would all these armed criminals and black market gun dealers suddenly go straight?

        No, because that’s not how market incentives work. 🙂

      • “And what does extorting and firebombing legitimate businesses have to do with the drug trade?”

        Firebombs and the free time to make them, bought with drug money.

        There’s not enough money in mom-and-pop extortion to fund a full time criminal career. But there is in the drug trade, because the customers are far wealthier than the locals, hence pay more money for the product. Remove that money, and gangbanging becomes notoriously low reward, hampering recruiting.

  3. To bring firearms back to the citizens would be problematic. This is what the anti-firearmers excuse. Of course they will say El Salvador has nothing in common with the US and how ridiculous it is to compare. They believe the police and army will care for them when this is impossible, go ask a cop. So then the anti’s want Marshal Law? So then they think El Salvadorian’s having no self-protection is a good thing? What kind of person could believe this?!

  4. And in what feat of logic can this be the NRA’s fault?

    Although most progressives have their logic filtered through Marxist-Leninist theory.

    • The secret is that it’s not logic at all. Most progbots wouldn’t recognize logic if it bit them in the ass (and it frequently does).

  5. If this happens in the USA I am just not seeing ammosexuals leading a resistance. Too many keyboard Rambos and not enough genuine people with guts.

    • There are still men made of steel in America, figuratively speaking. That was proven recently on August 21st on the Thalys train.

    • Prohibited by law, jackass. I am not going to clean out the local drug gang so that I can spend the rest of my life in prison for doing so. When the government gives rewards for the killing of gangbangers, that segment of history will be over in a week.

      • To clear out the local drug gang, first you have to clear out those who would put you in jail for doing so. Failure to do that, and bending over three times backwards trying toe excuse that failure, is the the root of the rot. The drug dudes and similarly irrelevant little round offs, are just an insignificant trifle.

  6. Sadly, I do not see any end to this sort of thing any time soon.

    When truckloads of people would rather extort than work, when there is little work for people who want to work, and when truckloads of people have no respect for the dignity of human life and have no qualms murdering other people, that is a disaster.

    If most people owned and carried handguns, would that stop some extortion and murders? Sure. Would it come anywhere close to eliminating extortion and murders? Not without a change in the fundamental values of the people.

    Firearms in the absence of widespread values do not get us very far. Widespread values in the absence of firearms make us vulnerable to the few human predators who will always exist. If a nation is to prosper, they need widespread values to defend against large-scale predation and firearms to defend against one-off predation.

  7. “This is the vision that the right wing and NRA has for the U.S.,” commentator AMExdemocracy opines.

    I’m at a total loss as to the meaning of this statement. This person is completely clueless.

  8. This biased and ridiculous article doesn’t even mention that about 80% of the guns owned in El Salvador are unregistered and belong to gang members or their collaborators. Or the fact that many citizens refuse to register their guns in El Salvador ever since the Civil War. I lived there, and the percentages of gun ownership listed here are a joke. Guns in El Salvador are as rampant as they are in Honduras. And that’s why these countries are so dangerous. The fact is, many ten year olds in El Salvador own guns. They are gang members and they will shoot you just as quickly as they will look at you. This article is bullshit and puffed to prove an agenda. The author should try GOING to El Salvador, before writing about it. Take a leisurely vacation in areas like Santa Lucia and get back to me on gun ownership. I think the author may have a different take. Or maybe spend a lovely week in La Vietnam, or any of the communidads where bodies are discovered every week from gun violence. What a crock of shit this was!

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