Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vigilantes

In the US if we see someone breaking in someone's house we call the police. It is simple as picking up the phone and dialing 9-1-1. 

In Honduras, we have the option of dialing 1-9-9 but frequently the police never come and this number does not work for all cell phones, just TIGO.  However, you can call this emergency line and you will never see the patrol show up.  Whether it is that they are not dispatched or preoccupied who knows...what I do know it is more frequent than not that they never arrive.  I called one night when a suspicious person was wandering around the neighborhood, no one ever showed.  A neighbor had their house broken into during the day, the police never showed. 

Then yesterday I read where a neighborhood was tired of having their houses violated by a ' ladron' and they hung him from a tree. Sounds like the old lynchings that occurred in the US except this isn't about race it is about crime.

Then today I wake up to read in the Herald that three more have been brought to vigilante justice by a neighborhood.  They were shot execution style.

Both of these instances of vigilantism occurred in Choloma a sector here close to San Pedro Sula that is known for high crime rates and the population has had enough and started to take things into their own hands.  Who can really blame them? What would anyone do?

What we need is a police force who has the adequate tools to protect the population so that this type of vigilante justice is not needed.  Until then no one can blame the neighbors for protecting each other.  In my neighborhood we are united as well and it keeps crime at a minimum.  I worry seriously for the resistence if they show up in our neighborhood today because the reaction will not be nice.  I can only hope that they are guided to find there way to a different area because the people here will protect each other and their property over all political agendas.

What can be done?

Well first world assistance in CIS would be good, DNA capabilities would be nice as well...ballistic technology that works, and a justice system that prevails most of the time would be really nice....our prisons are full of innocent people and on the outside we are full of criminals and gang members.  If the first world wants to help the third world advance into the first world they can start here.

Clarification

One of the readers of the blog here said they were surprised that I support police brutality so I found the need to clarify what my position is on the treatment of protesters.

I think that what may be occurring or I in fact recognize as a difference is in the laws of two different countries.  In Honduras protesters do not go to jail for assaulting police officers or even just common criminals.  There is no code that prevents a police officer from being assaulted and resulting in prison time and any action on part of a police officer after being assaulted is concidered self defense...a right protected by the constitution of Honduras.  The difference between the states and Honduras is that a person who assaults a police officer in the US will find themself with a long jail sentence and a criminal record that will last them a lifetime for making the error of assaulting a police officer...even just spitting on them results in jail sentences that are quite lengthy.

In Honduras by contrast...the only defense a police officer has in reaction to being spit on, hit, or have their life endangered is taking the stick away from the protester and hitting them with the same stick they were threatening someone else with...

Now is the distinction clear? 

I believe that Honduras needs strong penalties for assaulting a police officer, but only time and education can lead to that.  Most of the population would find it harsh to lock someone up for twenty years for spitting on an officer of the law, but in the US we would shrug our shoulders and say they should have known better.