As a mayor, if your city is plagued by widespread violence, general lawlessness, and institutional corruption, how do you protect your citizens? Should you try to pass strict gun legislation that bans personal ownership of firearms? Or should you take the exact opposite approach and train citizens how to shoot and defend themselves?
The Mayor of Garcia, Mexico, in Nuevo Leon, Jaime Rodriguez Calderon has decided to take the latter approach. He has decided that the best way to thwart criminal activity is to provide defense training and shooting lessons for concerned and law-abiding citizens.
Rodriguez told CNNMexico.com, “Many people call me because their son or their husband has been kidnapped, or some family member’s car has been stolen. I said to myself, ‘Wow, how can we, the citizens, defend ourselves.’”
“Many of them want the training and knowledge … to defend their families and their heritage,” Rodriguez added.
Of the 40,000 people who reside in Garcia, approximately 3,000 have signed up for the self-defense program, which, in addition to providing weapons training, teaches residents the basics of field dressing gunshot wounds and other important survival tactics.
“Imagine if there is someone wounded and no one in the neighborhood knows what to do. It’s happened to us that in the street there is someone who’s been shot and the (paramedics) don’t come,” Rodriguez said.
A starting date for Rodriguez’s self-defense program has not yet been set, but it will take place in the city’s hunting club and participants will train with .22-caliber firearms, according to the report.
In addition to Rodriguez’s citizen’s defense initiative, Nuevo Leon state lawmakers are considering a bill that would improve gun rights for citizens making it easier for them to obtain firearms for self-defense.
Nuevo Leon borders Texas and it has seen an upswell in violence in recent years as rival drug cartels continue to battle over favored trafficking routes.
It is hard to say what an initiative like Rodriquez’s citizen’s self-defense program means to the international community. As in today’s times empowering the people seems to be the last measure politicians are willing to take to address crime or really any social pandemic. Unfortunately, many cities are running out of options and this “last resort” is something that is begrudgingly pursued, if at all.
But if politicians and local authorities were to really examine the facts, they would understand that a well-armed society of responsible gun owners is a polite society, a safer society. That if they were to empower the people from the beginning they would not be struggling with many of the issues they currently face. Many of them don’t realize (or just don’t want to realize) that public safety and crime prevention starts with the people, not with bureaucracy and ill-fated legislation.