"El Ponchis": Monster Or Victim?

Our politicians have made sure to follow the Washington line to downplay and criticize the so-called "Cable-gate" any time they get the chance.

But what most of Mexican society have been discussing lately has nothing to do with Wikileaks. Rather than being concerned with Julian Assange, Mexican folks are concerned about Edgar Jimenez, aka "El Ponchis": a 14-year-old hitman for a drug cartel.

Like something out of "Lord of the Flies", the media and the public has been shocked with the horrific truth of these under-aged assassins, employed by the cartels to eliminate their enemies. The strategy is as brilliant as it is gruesome: the teenagers are more easily by-passed by security and raise less suspicions; they get paid cheaper for each "contract"; and in case they get arrested, they get lighter sentences.

Such is the case with "El Ponchis", who will get only 3 years in a correctional facility. This has caused an uproar and a deep controversy. Should authorities liberate an assassin after only 3 years, risking that he rejoins the ranks of his former employers? or is redemption not entirely impossible for him with the proper psychological and sociological therapies?

 

And if he do gets out of the correctional completely reformed... then what? Will Mexico have also changed by then? will there be any job opportunities for him to make a decent living? and just who would give employment with someone with his criminal record?

 

Monster or victim: what do you think?

See video

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earthling's picture
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22 November 2004
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Oh the distinction between this boy being a monster or a victim is probably fairly simple. He is both, very likely.

Many boys (and girls) in history have been caught up in wars, and some of them have been turned into monsters.

Is it their fault? In the majority of cases, no it is not.

Were they happy to cooperate? Maybe some of them were.

Out of malice, or boredom, or ignorance? Which one is worse?

For this particular individual, I don't think anyone here can tell. Probably his mother doesn't know.

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We are the cat.

red pill junkie's picture
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Both victim and monster is probably a fair assessment. Aren't we all?

But where does the scales lean to?

It is truly a complex problem. Probably the most complex and pressing problem in the history of Mexico. Because this child is but a glimpse of the future of our nation.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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cnnek's picture
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Red Pill

I agree that he is both monster and victim. But, in my opinion, he is disillusioned with society and he see no future for himself. He might not have any self-esteem. I don't think that he feels wanted.

Let me change the subject for a minute. Economics is applied Behavioral Psychology. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration from a Behavioral Sciences Department, BBA, in Marketing and Management. I'm not Liberal Arts! But, that probably doesn't suprise anybody!:) What is a BBA? After I finished my under graduate courses in Economics, I took the Masters Program before I graduated. Since I didn't have another undergraduate degree at the time that I graduated I got a BBA instead of a MBA. The point is that 80 percent of my University Degree is applied Behavioral Psychology. Money is to an Economy what Gasolene (Petrol) is to an Automobile. In reality, Economist, like Government leaders, play with your minds in order to make you think that things will make you safe and secure. Coveting, wanting, your neighbor's goods is exactly what economists want you to do! So, scratch that Commandment! In any case, Economics Majors study various things like this.

Now, let me get back to the subject. I think that he should be supervised in one way or another until he reaches adulthood. I don't think that being held in a reform school for a longer period of time will be helpful. He can be reoriented in two or three years. But, that reorientation must be reinforced for a number of years, maybe three or four years. Supervision of children makes them feel wanted and needed. Then slowly he can be given more freedom and responsibility. Best, after his origional time in the reform center, would be a half-way house where he could experience love, community, and responsibility while being supervised in my opinion.

Personally, I'm totally opposed to making juvinal records public. He should be allowed to forget his past and change his name if necessary in my opinion. In terms of future employment, I'm like Henry Ford. I care about how a person's talents and abilities can be used to help the company now and in the future. I do not care about a person's history. Furthermore, I think that this is an attitude that businesses should adopt!!!

Finally, I think that people who would manipulate a child like this should be horse whipped! I say this; because, I'm sounding too much like a liberal. After the horse whipping honey should be poured over them; so that, the ants can crawl all over them while they are still tied up. I don't like people who manipulate children. Well, maybe toy companies are ok; but, junk food companies are not acceptable!

What do you think?

cnnek

{You Can Teach People How To Think Critically Or What To Think; But, You Can't Do Both! It Is Better To Teach People How To Think Critically!!!}

red pill junkie's picture
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Thanks for the comments, cnnek.

Let me ask you this, how is Japan handling the problem of reforming juvenile delinquents, and are they having success with it?

The problem I see right now with the correctional system in Mexico is that the prisons and reformatories are pretty much a crime school. The ones that they get in —who are probably the stupider ones, or even innocent people framed— have higher chances of getting out worse than before.

Everything costs in the slammers: the food, the cots and the blankets, not to mention the preserving of your... pride.

And all the security guards and penitentiary directors are rotten to the core, to add insult to injury.

A journalist I respect wrote the other day that he visited a correctional facility, and that he could see that many of those young delinquents had a very good chance to become productive members of society. Although I seriously doubt any of those teenagers have done the things "El Ponchis" did, so I really don't know.

PS: That part about the horse-whipping and the honey... how do you know they didn't start the same way "El Ponchis"? forced either by others or by circumstances? In any case, it's probably no worse than the things the cartels do to their enemies.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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Redoubt's picture
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So, for the sake of debate... let's assume that we create our own monsters and nightmares... but at the same time, the individual must bear some responsibility for their actions.

How does one balance this?

I think we have a degree of right v. wrong instinct we are born with. We know that pain hurts us so... inflicting it upon another is wrong - unless we excuse it as a tool to achieve some result - hence; torture, which we rationalize and then justify as being necessary.

At this point, it leaps from the domain of bad behavior and lands either in the house of the social affliction or war crime.

The choice is yours. In one, we hold the individual responsible for their actions. In the other, we place the burden upon society as a whole.

"The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it."

red pill junkie's picture
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Very valid arguments. We as people must grow to accept the responsibilities of our choices.

But the problem is... this is a 14-year-old we're talking about.

Once again I must stress that I don't presume to know the right answer to this problem.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
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Redoubt's picture
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"Very valid arguments. We as people must grow to accept the responsibilities of our choices.
But the problem is... this is a 14-year-old we're talking about."

As a father, I can identify with the innocence of age. But in the same breath, I feel there is the issue of responsibility that must be borne by the individual. This is something I have tried to teach my own kids, so that they understand that their actions affect those around them. There are certain lines that are not crossed at any age, that do not require us to answer for crossing them.

No, I cannot claim to have those answers either. I am not privy to all the data nor the circumstances involved. But I will say that if we have a larger problem with our youth, as a whole, then the problem is not in youth itself, but with the parents and the culture that produced it. It then reduces to what degree of responsibility the parent must bear and that of said society.

"The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it."

red pill junkie's picture
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I guess my main purpose with this blog post was to try to pinpoint Mexican society's responsibility in this matter.

Not because I'm on a personal crusade to save this boy. But because I don't want to see more members of his generation emulating him. Because I want to think that eventually —contrary to what Gwedd thinks— the violence will stop... some day.

As for the parents... last I read, the mother was arrested in the US, and was to be deported. She had a history of small-time drug-dealing.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
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cnnek's picture
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Red Pill,

Reforming Juvenile Delinquents is taken very seriously in Japan. It's more of a community project. In reform centers Juveniles are protected, rules are inforced, and skills are taught. This, however, is usually handled through mutual cooperation between family, schools, and community. Juveniles are taught self-dicipline, skills, and they aid in community projects, as well as, keep up with their studies. The Japanese method is between 80%~90% effective. It's not perfect; but, it works fairly well.

As for the Whipping and Honey, if these people that force children into crime can dish it out, then they had better be able to take it!!!

What do you think?

cnnek

{You Can Teach People How To Think Critically Or What To Think; But, You Can't Do Both! It Is Better To Teach People How To Think Critically!!!}

red pill junkie's picture
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Sounds to me like we could really learn a thing or two from Japan. Sometimes I think all of our problems are the result of our people's natural idiosyncrasies. I sure hope not.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
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cnnek's picture
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Red Pill,

Repeat offenders have to be imprisoned after the first three or four offences. But, most people can be reformed. There isn't an over crowded prison in Japan. Except in areas that are near U.S. Military Bases, children can take the bus or train and/or walk home at night safely. Except in areas that are near U.S. Military Bases, women are safe at night in Japan.

What do you think?

cnnek

{You Can Teach People How To Think Critically Or What To Think; But, You Can't Do Both! It Is Better To Teach People How To Think Critically!!!}

red pill junkie's picture
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Except in areas that are near U.S. Military Bases, women are safe at night in Japan.

I sense a pattern you're hinting at here ;)

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

earthling's picture
Member since:
22 November 2004
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Similarly, the innocent Japanese are not all that safe around those Chinese foreigners. Or so the Japanese will tell you.

And the Koreans and Chinese still feel the same about Japanese.

On the subject of young men being reformed by jail, I recall that something that typically reforms them was reaching the age of about 35. They apparently calm down about then. Probably has to do with changes in metabolism.

----
We are the cat.

cnnek's picture
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Earthling,

Unless you work at the same company, have been properly introduced by family or mutual friends, attend the same school, etc. what you say about asian women being around men is true. But, in all cases, the women are relatively safe; because, any unprovoked loss of control is strongly condemed in Confucian thought which is the foundation of all East Asian cultures. Remember here that Confucius was a deciple of Lao Tsu and that he taught the Tao of the ancient Chinese Sages. The concept of selfcontrol is central to Asian Culture. In Asian Culture, it is important to creat harmony. But, Asian women are never comfortable when they are too close to a man, any man, to whom they aren't related and this is often the case on public transportation. On trains, there are special women only cars!

In terms of prisons, we need to find better ways of reforming people. Prisons rarely reform people. In my opinion, prisons should be for the unreformable and the inmates should be made to work in order to pay for the expenses of the prisons. We need to try to find creative ways to reform people. It can be done!

What do you think?

cnnek

{You Can Teach People How To Think Critically Or What To Think; But, You Can't Do Both! It Is Better To Teach People How To Think Critically!!!}

cnnek's picture
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red pill junkie wrote:

Except in areas that are near U.S. Military Bases, women are safe at night in Japan.

I sense a pattern you're hinting at here ;)

Red Pill,

Who me hint? Is that what you think?:)

What do you think?

cnnek

{You Can Teach People How To Think Critically Or What To Think; But, You Can't Do Both! It Is Better To Teach People How To Think Critically!!!}

jackinthegreen's picture
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This is an interesting one. This boy might well be a victim. In sweatshops the world over children are exploited, often against the laws of the country (and with blind eyes turned). We would none of us look to punish the victim of child labour for breaking the law. This assassin may be no different.

Or he could be a willing participant, who at 14 is old enough to understand his decisions. He is, perhaps, an entrepreneur. He could have chosen to make and sell candles at a market stall - in which case many would praise his 'entrepreneurial spirit'. Instead he chose a high risk venture. I don't know what the rewards are for such a service industry in Mexico, but you many well be right RPJ - his career may be far from over, with this arrest just a monor setback - or great free publicity.

Our capitalist societies encourage risk taking, emphasising the importance of money and possessions above all elso. We should take risks, we are told. In the UK our government tell us it is the entrepreneurs who will solve our financial problems - those who see unemployment as an opportunity. Unfortunately the significant side affect of this capitalist culture is not so much crime as the devaluing of societal values developed over hundreds of years. These values are all well and good, but should be ignored if they interfere with profit. Governments do this all the time and others are encouraged to do the same. This 'teen assassin' simply chose a profession that we still tend to see as socially unacceptable.

I too am an optimist - sometimes - although many who know me might be surprised at this statement. I see the many horrors of the world and they fill me with despair, but I also see decent, honest, hard working people. The world is full of such people, people who are kind and helpful and generous. Admittedly this tends to be more the case amongst the poorer, but not exclusively so. The problem it seems is that too many people will see this boy as an illustration of the worst side of human nature - I disagree: this has nothing to do with human nature. We use 'human nature' as an excuse, often guiltily aware of what we are doing. The point here is that people have been deceived, whether through deliberate acts or by mistake [I think both] into thinking this is just 'the way the world is'. It is not - it is a choice. As soon as people open their eyes and recognise that there are other ways, then we could see incredibly rapid change for the better...

Unfortunately at this point my cynical side kicks in. It tells me I am right, there are better ways, we can change things - but it will not happen: too many powerful vested interests are served by the world as it is now. They will not allow eyes to be opened.

Modern Mexico is not something I know much about, but I do know that many countries face related 'problems'. I am reminded of a case here in the UK a couple of years ago where a 13 year old boy and a 16 year old boy spent all day drinking before indecently assaulting a passing 24 year old woman. They then severely beat her and threw her unconscious into a canal. She drowned. There are many such cases. Children (and adults, of course), setting aside social values for selfish interest - these boys boasted about what they had done.

As to what to do about the teen assassin, that is quite easy. Treat him as a victim - he is a victim. Of course, you'll also need to alleviate poverty and eliminate crime; you'll need to instruct your government to base all policies on helping others and none on exploiting. Easy.

RPJ you are doing all that can be done - you are trying to open eyes. Unfortunatley there are many more eyes to be opened (and many working to keep them shut). In my opinion, those who declare the 'teen assassin' a monster are working to keep eyes closed, even if they don't realise it - and of course, I'm guilty myself of recommending a bullet in the head for such criminals sometimes.

Hmn.. that last bit sounds a little ambiguous. Ah well.

red pill junkie's picture
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I relish in ambiguity ;)

Yes, many of the problems in modern Mexico is that the society is wired up to reward misconduct, and to punish or undermine honest behavior. The children are just adapting to the rules of the game, as it were. If we don't change that first, what's the use of trying to change the conducts of criminals?

And in keeping up with the ambiguity, and the optimist/pessimist view of the future, this video I saw last week gave me a lot of hope:

See video

Such an interesting contrast, isn't it? this young man is almost the exact same age as our "Ponchis". You put them side by side, and they show the very best and very worst this newcoming generation has to offer.

Maybe the main reason is that the English kid is trying to figure out whether it's wise or not to follow the rules of the game.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie