Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Someone to Watch Over Me

If you ever wondered why the cult of the strongman is so popular in Latin America, here's a survey of queretanos attitudes toward security. Apparently 84% think Querétaro is safe, and 85% think that the current level of police activity does a pretty good job preventing crime. Fair enough - we think so too. But then eighty-six percent go on to say, yes, "we believe it's necessary to implement more security controls." Hey, sure - the state is safe, the cops are doing a fine job, by all means, let's overdo it! We're pretty sure that if we spoke Spanish a little better, we could take control of the statehouse without firing a shot.

Or at least we could have a few days ago. But on Monday, the local police here in perfectly-safe Querétaro added to their arsenal the following items:

64 9mm Beretta pistols; 65 semi-automatic Heckler&Koch 9mm pistols; 73 5.56mm x 45mm rifles; and 40 12-gauge Mossberg shotguns.

242 guns might not seem like a lot for a police department in a city this big (our American attorney, for instance, keeps a similar arsenal in the trunk of his car) but the fact that it was front-page news in four local papers leads us to conclude this is a big deal - or, put another way, that most of the cops in this town have no idea how to handle these things. We're guessing the numbers in next year's survey might be considerably different.

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