Mexican cartels are filling a massive vacuum in Mexican civil society during the Wuhan virus pandemic.
ABC News reported that a volunteer group collaborating with drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s family is handing out essential goods to the poor in the city of Guadalajara
The group calls the items “Chapo Provisions,” and they’re part of an effort of a company run by the former Sinaloa Cartel kingpin’s daughter, Alejandrina Guzman. The company’s product line features clothing and liquor, sometimes with his image. Additionally, Chapo’s Provisions feature the drug lord’s image.
Experts believe that cartels are running these operations to improve their optics among the general populace.
“They want social support to make a social shield,” stated Gerardo Rodríguez, professor of national security at the University of the Americas Puebla.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has advised drug cartels not to give out charity and to stop attempting to gain the support of locals who desperately need supplies.
Opportunities like these allow for cartels to pivot and focus on cultivating an image that runs counter to their bloodthirsty operations.
“They exploit the fear of the public,” stated Sergio Tirrò, a member of Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement arm.
As the EU locked down entire economies to contain the spread of the virus, Tirrò claims organized crime groups were producing counterfeit medical equipment and supplies.
“Those people are very well organized,” stated Tirrò, noting that organized crime groups with international level operations tend to have powerful operational capacity. “They split the roles and responsibilities and are based in more than one country.”
Tirrò revealed that these groups have made “substantial profits” off the products they’re selling online, which include masks, Wuhan virus tests and gloves.
“They also cause a false sense of security in citizens and consumers because they believe that they are buying genuine products to protect themselves,” Tirrò asserted.
With shortages of medical supplies growing, Tirrò believes organized crime groups will continue exploiting the chaos even as authorities nab them.
“We suspect that in the near future, as soon as a genuine vaccine is developed, criminals will be ready to offer counterfeit vaccines over the web,” he opined.
Power does not like a vacuum and cartels are willing to fill that in a heartbeat.
Mexico is a failed state, so in times of crisis, cartels will likely take over functions that are normally under the government’s purview.
If Democrats Win, Will Guns Sales Go Through the Roof?
No matter who wins in 2020, the biggest story of this election cycle has been the record levels of gun sales. In a piece titled “Guns Sales Break Records With Gun Control Legislation Likely If Democrats Win”, Newsweek highlights the meteoric rise of gun sales in 2020 and how these sales will only go up under a Biden administration.
It’s likely that a Biden win on November 3, 2020 will give life to gun control measure such as universal background checks, assault weapons bans, and national gun buybacks. Scott Reeves of Newsweek noted that “coronavirus pandemic, urban riots and the likelihood of increased regulation if the Democrats win the White House, regain control of the Senate and hold the House” have led to the unprecedented firearms sales. A Biden win would only accelerate this trend, as people become frightened by the prospect of gun control.
Through September, background checks recorded by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reached 28.826 million. This total surpassed 2019’s record of 28.369 million, representing a 28 percent increase, according to the FBI report. As of September 30, Illinois was leading the nation in background checks with 5.6 million. Reeves noted that other states such as Kentucky (2.364 million) checks, Texas (1.730 million), Florida (1.386 million), Indiana (1.203 million), California (1.187 million) and Pennsylvania (1.030 million), were also experiencing significant upticks in gun sales.
Since NICS came into effect on November 1998, a total of 361.830 million background checks for all purposes have been completed since the program began in November 1998.
Zogby Analytics provided some more data showing how enthusiastic Americans are about buying guns:
Zogby Analytics in Utica, New York found that the number of gun owners increased 3.9% between October 2019 and October 2020 to 31.3% of the population. The number of individuals in a household keeping a gun at home, work, vacation cottage or club for personal protection, hunting or target shooting increased 7% to 42.2% in the last year. Membership in the National Rifle Association, a gun rights advocacy group, increased 6% to 17.7% in the last year, Zogby’s polling found.
“While there is fierce debate in Washington D.C. and among voters about what certain types of guns and accessories constitute ‘assault weapons,’ adults in the U.S. are buying and keeping more guns,” Jonathan Zogby declared.
Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, an anti-Second Amendment organization, is of the opinion that uncertainty brought about by the Wuhan virus pandemic, riots, and the election are contributing factors to the rise in gun sales.
“Typically, gun sales rise in times of fear,” he said to Newsweek. “We live in a time when there’s a lot of fear, including fear that there might be more gun regulation with a Democratic President and Democratic majorities in Congress. And, there’s been a lot of unrest.”
Americans actions speak louder than their words. Even if Joe Biden does the unthinkable (and the very unlikely) by winning on November 3, his administration will encounter stiff resistance from gun-owning Americans across the political spectrum.
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