Thursday, April 12, 2012
A to Z: Kidnap, Kidnapped, Kidnapping
Look at these words--read them to yourself a few times. KIDNAP. KIDNAPPED. KIDNAPPING. Don't they start to look funny? Like... They lose their meaning the more you look at them, right?
That's kind of what's happened in Mexico. And, I imagine, in Colombia during the 80's rampage of FARC-associated kidnappings. We tend to lose perspective when things are too close.
Mexico is no stranger to kidnappings. In the 70's people "of means" took to hiring bodyguards (guardaespaldas, slanged into guarros--yeah, practice that rolled R, people). Children were escorted to and from school by burly frowning suits that filled schoolyards with the crackling of radios.
The 90's brought the secuestro express, or "express kidnapping". And the new millenium brought cash-hungry (and bloodthirsty) drug lords who take their lessons from The Godfather. Severed fingers or ears are delivered with ransom notes, and kidnappees are as likely to be killed with or without payment of the ransom.
It's a different game now, and no one knows the rules.
Unless, of course, we all go Mel-Gibson and refuse to negotiate. But--really, who has the guts to do that?
The bigger problem, in Mexico at least, is that the justice system has lost perspective, too. When it comes to kidnapping--to the general drug-related violence--they're either completely ineffective or they go overboard.
You might--or might not--have heard something in the news lately about a certain French girl, Florence Cassez, who's been convicted for kidnapping in Mexico. She's the subject of tomorrow's post. Her case is an excellent illustration of everything that's wrong with Mexico's judicial system.