The western Mexican state of Michoacan is comprised of decent, hardworking people. Fed up with drug cartel crime and murders as well as police and government inaction dealing with them, these decent, hardworking people did what any self-respecting group of citizens should: They took up arms and rid themselves of the scourge the government was too cowardly to deal with.
Now that residents successfully rid their towns of the drug cartel the Mexican government is sweeping in to "save the day".
Only governmental saving the day looks the same as it always does.. a lot like the tyranny they just rid themselves of.
In this case residents will be "allowed" too keep their guns... so long as they register their guns, of course.
The ceremony in the town of Tepalcatepec, where the movement began in February 2013, will involve the registration of thousands of guns by the federal government and an agreement that the so-called "self-defense" groups will either join a new official rural police force or return to their normal lives and acts as voluntary reserves when called on. The government will go town by town to organize and recruit the new rural forces.
"This is a process of giving legal standing to the self-defense forces," said vigilante leader Estanislao Beltran.
Not everyone is thrilled with the government stepping in after the fact, demanding all firearms be registered, and those individuals join the new rural police force.
Given the government's lack of ability to deal with drug cartel violence, many couldn't care less about the "legal standing" of themselves or their firearms.
"We don't want them to come, we don't recognize them," vigilante Melquir Sauceda said of the government and the new rural police forces. "Here we can maintain our own security. We don't need anyone bringing it from outside."
There is a lesson here for those willing to see it. A free people does not need permission from government to protect themselves, their families, their communities and their livelihoods. Such a concept is an athema to liberty.
The new rural forces are designed to be a way out of an embarrassing situation, in which elected leaders and law enforcement agencies lost control of the entire state to the pseudo-religious Knights Templar drug cartel. Efforts to retake control with federal police and military failed.
If government is so all-powerful, they wouldn't need a way out of this "embarrassing situation", would they?
"This (demobilization) agreement is just something to please the government," said Rene Sanchez, 22, a vigilante from the self-defense stronghold of Buenavista. "With them or without them, we are going to keep at it."
Residents of Canada and the United States ought to listen to the simple wisdom of the so-called vigilantes of the Michoacan state of Mexico. It's a maxim I've stated repeatedly over the years.
The only ones present when criminals strike are we mere citizens... the saviours of government and the police are nowhere to be found until much later, if we are lucky enough to still be alive upon their arrival.
Self-defense is deeply personal, and we must take responsibility for our own safety. Nobody can assume that responsibility for us.
Government cannot provide it for us, no matter how much they try to convince us otherwise.