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By Paul Brown

Civilian militia aka autodefensas (self defenders) members in Michoacan, Mexico were recently inducted into the rural Mexican police, facing the threat of arrest if they refused as reported in the New York Daily News. It’s no secret that the Mexican federal government is not a fan of the autodefensas. In February the Mexican Senate approved reform of terrorism laws so they would make actions taken by the militia illegal. When the population is armed the elite few at the top no longer have all the control. Sound familiar? . . .

Clearly declaring the autodefensas terrorists hasn’t worked. For the most part they have refused to disarm, and without reliable means to remove or counter them, the Mexican government has offered them what appears to be a Trojan horse. Sure, now they carry some more legitimacy, and they no longer have to worry about being arrested for defending their own homes, but I see some pretty realistic potential drawbacks.

  • The autodefensas were formed to counter the established violence and corruption. If you join that system, do you not risk becoming a part of it? I believe these are men who truly believe in justice and freedom, and that’s why they started doing what they’re doing, but it’s hard to resist systemic corruption when you are immersed in it.
  • Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. This could be one of the strategies being employed by the Mexican government. After surveying the situation they found that countering the autodefensas was not a viable strategy. So bring them in close where you can watch them and control them. Now you don’t have to fight them.
  • Just because you follow the man’s rules does not make you safe. These men joined with the threat of arrest hanging over their heads. It was either that or disarm, and they were not ready to do the latter. It seems unlikely that they would be arrested all at once, but now the Mexican government could still investigate them one-by-one and arrest them for “other” problems, slowly, over time in a way that might not catch media attention.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. According to the New York Daily News article only 3,300 out of an estimated 20,000 members of the autodefensas have actually joined the police forces. That’s good news. More and more, we’re seeing that standing up to those who wish to disarm us, even when it is your own government, is a legitimate means of protest. And furthermore, it works.

Why is all this important?

There are a million different strategies any movement can use. The antis have quite an extensive playbook to pull from, so it’s worth watching what some of them are doing next door so we can consider, “What would I do if….”

I find the specific circumstances currently underway in Mexico to be pretty unlikely to occur here in the United States, but unlikely is a far cry from impossible, and a few months ago I would have said it was unlikely that Russia would invade Europe…oops.

Paul Brown is a Marine Corps OIF veteran who runs Liberty Rifle Company, LLC, conducts firearms training, and has written several articles for The Washington Times.

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  1. Even the most uneducated Mexican farmer or laborer is way too smart to fall for this. They’re not going to join the Mexican government because the government is the enemy.

    I recently saw Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown show focusing on Mexico City. See it if you want a taste (see what I did there) of real, honest journalism.

  2. Even if only 15% have reportedly joined the police, it’s still troubling for the autodefensas.

    That 15% could be pushed to go after the remaining autodefensas, others could be nabbed for domestic terrorism, and all of a sudden the movement is fighting each other instead of cartels and thugs.

    Stomping out armed citizenry is probably one of the top priorities for the elites right now.

  3. The rural police are not the central, in bed with the cartels government; they’re too few, too thin and generally not at all bad as individals. Corruption among them is along the lines of taking a bribe to fix a ticket rather than looking the other way when murders happen.

    This might work out, leading to less us-and-them between police and policed and helping to coordinate the militiae. In effect, the “town marshal” is deputizing a posse; not an inherrently bad thing.

    I hope it works out, at least locally; as for the Federalés, well…

    • “In effect, the “town marshal” is deputizing a posse; not an inherrently bad thing.”

      Or you could say calling on a well regulated militia…

    • Unless part of joining that posse is registering your weapons, which is the case here.

    • Historically, Rurales have had a long presence in Mexican governments so inviting the Autodefensas inside isn’t all that bad an idea. Obviously, this give the central government an opportunity to co-opt a potential armed threat. But, given the knotty history of Rurales, it will be a tossup as to just who is co-opting whom. The government may have just grabbed a a tiger by the tail.

  4. Of that 15% I wonder how many are plants who want access
    to police intel or possibly to start rooting out the most corrupt
    and naming them to the autodefensas. You can bet this is
    already running through the mind of the Mexican government.

    • Yeah, I was thinking this could be a way for the autodefensas to keep tabs on the gubmint.

      Upside, downside.

  5. Its a registration scheme – accept instead of guns, they are registering the people…who they will likely punish later. Any Autodefensas short-sighted enough to sign up for deputization will regret it later when they get decommissioned and asked to hand in their guns or go to jail.

    • Good ol’ Admiral “Gloom and Doom” Ackbar, what would be do without your wisdom?

  6. Hell, not just the federalis, the democrats aren’t even fans of the Autdefensas, their mere existence flies in the face of liberalism. Mexico- the land that liberals forget.

  7. Can Joursy (NJ) be the next location of Autodefensas rising up in the face of crime and corruption?

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