Rio de Janeiro and the Old West
How Rio de Janeiro copes with murderers. How the Old West coped with them.
By Julio Severo
Nevertheless the title, the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has nothing to do with the American Old West. Not because there was no violence in the Wild West. There was, but not as much as one sees in Rio in the 21st century.
Injustice that has been plentiful in Rio was not plentiful in the Wild West. Just like in Rio, all the outlaws in the Old West carried weapons for their crimes. But, very differently from Rio, in the Wild West EVERYBODY carried weapons, so that in order for an outlaw to attack an innocent man, he needed to be quite astute because he could be killed.
Criminals in Rio attack their victims trusting that the State has made its dirty work of disarming the population, guaranteeing in this way total insecurity for victims and total safety for murderers.
In modern Rio, a murderer escapes often unpunished. For the outlaw in the Old West, Rio would be a truly wonderful place, because impunity that reigns in Rio didn’t reign in the Wild West. An American murderer was quickly judged and hung. When he fled, he was pursued by the sheriff and citizens ready to see that the murderer paid with his life for the life that he had destroyed. When a criminal fled to an ignored place, a reward was offered for his head, which meant that anybody that found him or killed would receive a financial reward.
The ethics of personal defense for citizens and capital punishment for murderers was in the Old West sustained in the principles of the Bible. The Protestant (or evangelical) ethics governed largely American society in the 18th century. The innocent man had the Bible in one hand and a pistol in the other.
In Rio, even though the number of evangelical and Christians is enormous, there is no ethics influencing the laws to give citizens the right of defending themselves or remove from criminals their existence of murderous activities. In Brazil in general and in Rio in particular, in their hands innocent men may only have the Bible, being left in all the murderers’ hands the pistols, rifles, machine guns, etc.
In the Wild West, criminals were faced by the bullets from citizens themselves, who had their rifles ready for ferocious resistance to crime.
In Rio, citizens hide themselves from bullets whenever they are able. When they are not, they are hit, even by stray bullets.
In the Old West, it was enough just one murder for an outlaw — whether he was adult or adolescent — to be hung. There were neither ECA (Statute of the Child and of the Adolescent, a Brazilian legislation complying with the United Nations Children’s Rights Convention) nor advocates for the criminals’ rights.
In Rio, criminals contend for the position of biggest murderer, and adolescent murderers are never sent to jail, having guaranteed their rights by ECA to kill how many citizens they want. With the age of 18, ECA guarantees their release from rehab institutions, with a totally clean record, as if they had never killed a fly in their lifetime. Is any surprise then that in Rio there are many advocates for the criminals’ rights, richly paid with taxpayer money?
In the Old West, an outlaw had to think twice before attacking an innocent man, for him not to end with a bullet in the middle of his forehead.
In Rio, an outlaw doesn’t need to think, because only his victims end with a bullet in the middle of their forehead.
In the Wild West, hanging was a murderer’s sure destiny.
In Rio, death is the murderers’ victims’ destiny, and murderers may opt for hanging, tortures and any other sadism that they want to apply to their victims.
Between the Wild West and Rio, I would prefer the Old West. There at least I would be able to defend myself.
And I am sure that nobody in the Old West would choose Rio, a truly wonderful city for all kinds of crimes.
An American from the Old West in Rio would automatically lose his weapon and his right to defend himself and defend his family, being completely exposed to heavily-armed criminals. If in a case of criminal aggression against his life he in an “unfortunate” act were able to take from the criminal his weapon and execute him, he would automatically be condemned by human rights groups, always ready to punish any action by citizens that are able to dispatch a criminal.
There are also the television networks, which denounce any indelicate attitude against criminals, guaranteeing in this way their safety and “human rights”.
In the Old West, there was equality. Outlaws were armed. But all of citizens also were armed. They were armed criminals against armed citizens.
In Rio, inequality is total. For the outlaws’ huge happiness, only they are armed. They are strongly armed criminals against a strongly unarmed population, where a murderer feels like a fox free in the hen house. That hen house might be called Rio, or even Brazil.
While murderers in Rio torture and kill innocent people, a victim that is able to repay ten percent to the criminal is condemned as a human rights offender. So Rio has become a hell.
If the Old West looked like Rio, it would be a hell for innocent people and a wonderful place for murderers.
However, the Wild West was not like Rio, so that cowboys would say, “Fortunately we are not in Rio!”
For the sake of justice and innocent people, I would say, “What a pity that Rio is not like the Old West!”
Note: That text was reviewed by a friend whose ancestors lived in the Old West. For generations, his family has had weapons. He himself has had an AK-47, but as a Christian, he told me that he would not use it for defending himself, but to defend his family and others. Brazilian citizens are not allowed to own an AK-47 or less powerful weapons. Yet, Brazilian criminals have much more powerful weapons than AK-47!
Portuguese version of this article: O Rio e o Velho Oeste
Spanish version of this article: Rio de Janeiro y el Viejo Oeste