The Mexican drug cartels have grown even bolder and stronger in recent years. Just last week, in the Sinaloa state, drug cartel forces defeated the Mexican military forces and police in street battles in the capital city.
Yes, the narcos defeated Mexican government forces in an all-out battle. Can you say “failed state?”
As Claire Berlinsky writes . . .
The forces that emerged were in the literal sense awesome and awful. Heavy weaponry that would be familiar on any Iraqi, Syrian, or Yemeni battlefield was brought to bear. More and worse: custom-built armored vehicles, designed and built to make a Sahel-warfare technical look like an amateur’s weekend kit job, were rolled out for their combat debut. Most critically, all this hardware was manned by men with qualities the Mexican Army largely lacks: training, tactical proficiency, and motivation.
Then the coup de grace: as the Chapo sons’ forces engaged in direct combat with their own national military, kill squads went into action across Culiacán, slaughtering the families of soldiers engaged in the streets.
Mexico has strict gun control, with a ban on military-style guns and calibers, exactly one gun store in the entire nation, along with gun (and gun owner) registration. What’s more, Mexico imposes long prison terms for possession of a single round of prohibited ammunition.
Does this make our southern neighbor a crime-free utopia as Beto O’Rourke would have you believe? Hardly. With over 33,000 murders last year and this year’s numbers up 3.3% over that, Mexico makes Chicago-style violence seem bucolic.
The Federalist has a piece on the latest narco violence south of the Rio Grande.
The southwest U.S. border might be quieter now than it was this spring at the height of the migrant crisis, but south of the Rio Grande the Mexican state is disintegrating.
Last Thursday in the city of Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, a battle erupted between government forces and drug cartel gunmen after the Mexican military captured two sons of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The elder son, Ivan, was quickly freed by his men, who overpowered government forces and secured his release. Ivan then launched an all-out siege of the entire city in an effort to free his younger brother, Ovidio.
The ensuing scene could have been mistaken for Syria or Yemen. Footage posted on social media Thursday showed burning vehicles spewing black smoke, heavily armed gunmen blocking roads, dead bodies strewn in the streets, and residents fleeing for cover amid high-caliber gunfire.
Armed with military-grade weapons and driving custom-built armored vehicles, cartel henchmen targeted security forces throughout Culiacan, launching more than one dozen separate attacks on Mexican security forces. They captured and held hostage eight soldiers, then kidnapped their families. Amid the fighting, an unknown number of inmates escaped from a nearby prison. At least eight people were killed and more than a dozen were injured.
The eight-hour battle ended when government forces, outgunned and surrounded, without reinforcements or a way to retreat, received an order directly from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to release their prisoner and surrender.
That’s right, Mexico’s President told his own military to stand down.
Lopez Obrador later defended this decision, insisting that his security strategy is working and saying, “Many people were at risk and it was decided to protect people’s lives. I agreed with that, because we don’t do massacres, that’s over.”
Gun control doesn’t lead to crime-free utopias. It leads to predatory violent criminals and government tyranny. When only the government and criminals have guns, the strong victimize the weak with impunity.
Right now, Mexico finds itself doing a good impression of a failed state. What’s more, people are left helpless in the face of drug cartel henchmen and sometimes-corrupt police and military forces.
Let’s not follow Mexico’s failed state down the road of gun bans and gun confiscations.