Puerto Rico's streets crawl with heavily armed, masked mercenaries bearing no insignia or nametags

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/15/katrina-rerun.html



The Red Cross hires mercenaries?


As much as it saddens me and blows my mind, there are a majority of people who are just fine with this kind of behavior. The tool in the white house is just a pointless target because he only reflects what the will of the masses. Those of us who think differently are still free to sit behind keyboards and make smart-ass remarks…for a while longer anyway. I have yet to see a unifying response though. It will come down to each of us resisting him and bringing what he represents to light but I don’t see the figurehead that it will take to unify a meaningful response to the ideologies he represents.
Maybe, hopefully it’s just the overcast rainy day here but I don’t know…nor will I give up.


In normal times, the homicide rate in Puerto Rico are high compared to the US, so it is not surprising that in a mass catastrophe like this, extra security may be called for. Gangs which are responsible for much of the violence may feel more free to operate in a time of breakdown of government services.

According to the most recent CDC figures, Louisiana has the highest homicide rate of any state, at 11.7 per thousand. Mississippi is close at 11.4, with Alabama the third highest state at 8.1 homicide deaths per 100,000 people. Three states are over 7 (Missouri, Arkansas, and South Carolina), nine states top 6, and seven states show a rating of 5 or more. Three states stand at 0 (New Hampshire, Vermont, and North Dakota) and the other half of the 50 states range from 1.6 to 4.7.
In the same year, 2014, Puerto Rico’s homicide rate was 18.5. It fell to 16.3 in 2015, according to calculations by InSight Crime. Accurate figures are hard to come by, since the population is falling too quickly to allow stable calculations, but it’s clear that the numbers are still much higher than those in the 50 states. They’re higher than the rates in Mexico and a number of Latin American nations, too.


What with the masks and lack of insignia and reluctance to identify their employers it soon becomes difficult to distinguish one group of armed thugs motivated by material gain from another. This is a feature and not a bug in the context of disaster capitalism.


Here are the 2014 rates for the top US counties. Some are much worse than Puerto Rico. I think there might be other similarities with Puerto Rico (such as large non-white populations) that make certain groups think it’s ok to play cops.

You can lose a day at the CDC site looking at numbers… https://wonder.cdc.gov

County                        #     Pop Rate
St. Louis city, MO (29510)	117	317,419	36.9
Orleans Parish, LA (22071)	139	384,320	36.2
Baltimore city, MD (24510)	175	622,793	28.1
Hinds County, MS (28049)	68	243,729	27.9
Robeson County, NC (37155)	37	134,760	27.5
Wayne County, MI (26163)	328	1,764,804	18.6

All the guns and none of the insignia, feels very much like the little green men of Crimea no?
I am not suggesting any major conspiracy or plan in the specific case of Puerto Rico. But there could those who want to normalise the presence of highly armed but ultimately anonymous soldiers in a democratic country.


When Mercs show up, it’s a sign things ain’t going so well.


Much as I also sometimes feel that is the case, polls suggest otherwise. Trump is the writhing maggot atop a deplorable plurality whose current political power bellies their popular support in raw numbers.


I’m just going to leave this here:


You mean like this?


Except of course for the actual majority that didn’t vote for him and the half of the country that didn’t or couldn’t vote.


The red cross has been off the rails for two decades or so now.


Should this type of org be needed in an emergency- the National Guard has about 350,000 members that The Great Pumpkin could activate without paying the exorbitant rates mercenaries charge - and a hell of a lot better chance of seeing people as citizens rather than policing targets they’re used to treating as not having civil rights,

And they’ll have things like engineers, equipment to produce power, clear roads, provide medical care.

Nah - better to just use disaster capitalism to grift into the pockets of donors and family members.


Can some real cops with guts over there arrest them for violating gun laws? It might at least force them to identify themselves and show some papers who they are working for.


It also burns me up that for every mercenary on the island, there’s a Puerto Rican being denied a meal. Sure, the mercs may have their own provisions, but that could be aid instead of maintenance.


The Red Cross does hire some local security. Nothing like these fools.

Maybe they meant the “Red Crosshairs.”


I wondered if it was an arms-race among aid groups. Any day now, Doctors Without Borders will have the Bomb.