Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, January 29, 2016

Losing legitimacy

When citizens lose faith in the government, the government loses legitimacy. When that happens, anarchy and/or revolution can result.

As Frustrations With Mexico’s Government Rise, So Do Lynchings
The lynching began around 7:20 p.m., not long after the brothers had finished conducting their final interviews on tortilla consumption.

Residents confronted them, mistaking the pair for kidnappers. The police confirmed that the men were, in fact, pollsters for a marketing company and whisked them to safety. Irate residents rang the church bells in the town square anyway, summoning hundreds.

The mob then stormed the arched doorways of the government center, set fire to its library and snatched the brothers from the police…

Tired of government corruption and indifference, the mob fashioned its own justice, part of a longstanding problem that Mexican officials say is on the rise.

The killings raise difficult questions for Mexico, highlighting an alarming development: By some accounts, there were more public lynchings this past year than at any other time in more than a quarter-century…

The mob actions were born of a sense of hopelessness and impotence shared by many in Mexico, where 98 percent of murders go unsolved and the state is virtually absent in some areas…

Interviews with dozens of residents about the lynching of the brothers… revealed little remorse. In the end, the fear that two suspects might be escaping with the help of the police outweighed concerns over spilling innocent blood…

In the borough of Iztapalapa, residents have raised banners warning thieves that they will not be turned over to the police. Instead, vengeance will be taken on their mothers…

Such frustration has long been an issue, along with the tendency for people to take the law into their own hands. In the last few years, self-defense groups have popped up to fight organized crime, filling the void left by government forces either incapable of combating criminal gangs, unwilling to do so or actively working alongside them.

But for all the government’s flaws, vigilantism rarely seems to do much better.

The initial gains of some self-defense groups give way to predatory behavior, creating a new order of bandit…

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