Not a Good Sign

It's an ugly scene:

A crowd surrounds three policemen. After kicking and punching them nearly senseless, they let the policemen say something into a video camera and the cops protest their innocence. But none of it matters. People from the crowd come forward with gasoline cans and douse the policemen with gas. Then they're lit on fire and burn to death in front of the chanting crowd.

A helicopter shot showed the still smoking bodies laying in the street and the crowds milling around for a close look.

Where is this? Fallujah? Ramadi? Baquoba? The Sunni Triangle? No — drum roll, please — it's Mexico.

The three cops were, of all things, anti-terrorism cops. They were surveilling a school looking for drug dealers, but the neighbors thought they were kidnapers who came back to snatch more kids — two youngsters recently disappeared from the school and residents naturally suspect kidnapping.

The cops were held by the crowd for hours and the Mexican police (search) say heavy traffic and residents blocking the way prevented cops from getting to the scene in time to prevent the immolation. Television footage appeared on Mexican TV of the cops being interviewed, broken noses, bloody mouths, their clothes torn off, just before they were lit on fire.

What are we supposed to take from this?

Well, you could say that Mexican police are so corrupt and so hated that you cannot expect any help from them trying to stop illegal immigrants from crossing into this country. You could say that illegals might be running from cops so corrupt and thuggish that citizens would burn them to death in the streets.

You might say this does not bode well for anti-terror efforts between the U.S. and Mexico if Mexico cannot even keep its own anti-terror cops from being burned to death by anybody with a gallon of gas and a match. Al Qaeda (search) usually comes better armed than that.

When George W. Bush speaks to Vicente Fox (search), I wonder if he can nudge him about this situation: Mr. Presidente, in your capital city, street mobs are burning cops to death. In Mexico's War on Terror that's a good place to start.

That's My Word. Happy Thanksgiving.

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