I have wondered how what follows has anything to do with the struggle for democracy. But it does, if we talk about democracy in our own little barrio. Last night, with faces covered by bandanas, the Usual Suspects inched along the top of an unfinished wall—like the Siamese cat Ratón during Monday night’s invasion by police and Army—and tore out T’s camera, which had been guarding the vacant lot. The theory is that certain parties hope to claim that lot eventually and, I suppose, feel possessive of what is and is not seen going on in the lot. The lot is also the escape route for the gangbangers when the authorities come in hot pursuit.
The masked Usual Suspects, and their little gang, are terrorizing the neighborhood to some extent, to some extent just being extremely uncivil. As a friend recently said about her neighborhood in Mexico City, “Lo que falta es el civismo,” what’s missing is a sense of civic responsibility, public spirit. That is the case with our little friends. The neighborhood wants law and peace. The gang wants only their law—their negative anarchy. They are what plagues Mexico on many levels, from the narco world to the business monopolies to the political gangs—all of whom don’t particularly care about the public or the public space, the Commons.
After ripping out T’s camera, the Suspects, masked, openly exited their privada, climbed up in front of our front door, and threw a cotton long-sleeve shirt over the camera that guards the camera closest to their privada. The shirt, successfully placed, blocked the camera so it could no longer see. Then, one standing on the other, they ripped out a second camera, the one closest to their privada.
So now they have done something stupid, aggressive and war-like, leaving us citizens (I use that word loosely) in somewhat of a dilemma: How do you defend against Masked anti-social Revolutionaries?