Police in Tijuana Are No Longer Empty-Handed

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The war on drugs continues to rage in Tijuana, Mexico, but police officers there are in a much better position to fight it now that they have been given weapons.

Although, since the weapons are slingshots, maybe their position is not all that much better.

Tijuana’s 2,000 officers had guns up until January 5 of this year, when President Felipe Calderon ordered them all disarmed because of allegations that a corrupt network of police is working with drug traffickers.  3,300 soldiers and federal police were sent to Tijuana to carry out the order and to go after the gangs.  The guns are still being "inspected," and so in the meantime the local police force has been doing all its policing mano a mano.  This is probably especially fun since there were over 300 murders in Tijuana last year, including the killings of 13 police officers.

Upset with this development, about 100 officers demonstrated outside the town hall on Monday asking to get their guns back.  The government didn’t agree, but did give them something almost as good — slingshots, along with all the ball-bearings they could carry.  Even then, the government only gave out about 60 slingshots, and only to officers who patrol tourist areas.  Those should come in real handy if a tourist is being attacked by a feral cat.  But it is probably not lost on the brave officers of the Slingshot Squad that any actual criminals who might show up may well still have actual guns, and perhaps should not be pissed off by being shot with a ball bearing.

Oddly, the Wikipedia article on Tijuana does not say anything at all about a crime or drug problem.  The city’s "reputation for violence has been blown out of proportion," says the article’s unknown author, who I suspect may be an employee of the Mexican government, although I admit am basing this only on the article’s clear focus on the more positive aspects of Tijuana, such as its cultural center, excellent universities, and wonderful restaurants, which the author states "have the best seleccion of food en the hole country."  So I’m only speculating.

Link: MSNBC.com