El Salvador gang violence making Latin America murder Capital.

Gang violence is soaring in El Salvador. The country’s murder rate is one of the highest in the world. Now, amid criticism, the government is debating whether it should deploy the military.

El Salvador, one of the poorest and most violent countries in Latin America, saw well over 150 gang-related homicides within the last month alone. Now its constitutional court has classified the gangs as terrorist organizations.

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, 2015.05.21: Two policemen study the body of a man murdered at a busy intersection in downtown San Salvador during rush hour. They are part of the 911 response team patrols the streets of the capital. The 'halcones' respond first to crimes involving armed people, homicides and other serious crimes. The first 5 months of 2015 has witnessed a rapid increased in the number of police deaths at the hands of pandillas or gangs.

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR: Two policemen study the body of a man murdered at a busy intersection in downtown San Salvador during rush hour. They are part of the 911 response team patrols the streets of the capital. The ‘halcones’ respond first to crimes involving armed people, homicides and other serious crimes. The first 5 months of 2015 has witnessed a rapid increased in the number of police deaths at the hands of pandillas or gangs.

Authorities in El Salvador have registered closer to 4,000 homicides in the past year. If the death toll continues to rise at the same pace, one in every thousand of its 6.3 million Salvadorans will have been murdered by the end of the year. Outside war zones, only Honduras has a comparable homicide rate.

In both countries, the murders can mostly be traced back to “Maras”, one of the gangs whose income is derived from hold-ups, extortion, arms trafficking and the illegal drug trade. Their roots go back to gangs in the Latin districts of Los Angeles in the 1980s, when many Salvadorans fled their country during the civil war.

When the conflict was over, the gangs formed criminal organizations in El Salvador. “This process was accelerated after the USA began deporting illegal immigrants to their home countries,” states a study conducted by the research department of the US Congress.

Today, UN drug authorities estimate a total of 54,000 members in “Mara Salvatrucha” (known as MS-13) and the 18th Street gang (also known as Barrio 18) in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. El Salvador, the smallest of the three countries, is home to 22,000 of them. In neighboring Nicaragua, many smaller gangs are active.


Gang recruiters target students

Maras’ recruiters often target high school students. The organization offers youngsters what their parents often lack: the prospect of a livelihood and the feeling of being respected. Gang members often cover themselves in tattoos, which are earned through respect and brutality.

As many adolescents are recruited, Maras groups are often referred to as “youth gangs.” Anyone who thinks they are less harmful because of their age has another thing coming. The average age of the gang members is low because their life expectancy is proportionately lower.

Lucrative truce

For years, the gangs fought bloody turf wars. In 2012, Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 agreed to a truce. Homicide figures dropped from over 4,000 in the previous two years to 2,500 in 2012 and 2013. The ceasefire has been maintained because it is more profitable when each Mara can call the shots on its own turf in apparent peace.



But now, the killing is on the rise again: the death toll reached over 3,900 in 2014. If the current daily murder rate stays at 16 homicides per day, then last year’s total will be surpassed by the end of August 2015.

The spiral of violence

Ever since the gang truce was established, the victims of gang activities have been mainly civilians. But the gangs are now fighting each other again. According to El Salvador’s defense minister, David Munguia Payes, 85 percent of last weeks’ victims belonged to gangs.

Furthermore, the feud between the police and gangs has exacerbated: in January 2015, seven officers were killed in two weeks. According to sources in MS-13 circles, these were apparently acts of revenge for police tyranny. The police, for their part, swiftly announced that it would crack down on gang activities.

Organized crime in North and South America is continuing to spiral out of control and resulting in more violence and more deaths. They say, “The retaliatory nature together with the rhetoric is telling.” But this is nothing new, either is the escalation of government corruption.

This evokes reminders of the past: Salvadoran presidents have often stated that they would strike back hard. The gangs have always responded brutally to such declarations: in 2009, for instance, during the rule of former president Antonia Saca, known as “Super Mano Dura” (Super Hard Hand) the homicide rate rose to a historic high of 4,367 killings. This record may just well be broken this year.

Government making efforts

It is obvious that the government is taking the route of confrontation. Several months ago, a business association invited former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani to El Salvador to advise the country on security issues. During the Giuliani administration, the crime rate in New York went down drastically. Giuliani practiced a no-tolerance policy against offenders and he has recommended the Salvadoran government do the same.


Classifying Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 as terrorist organizations might demonstrate that the government is probably following the former New York City mayor’s advice and considering deploying the military, although there is little evidence to prove that military measures will reduce the violence. It might mirror what the results we’ve seen with the Cartels in Mexico. Doubts have arisen about the feasibility of Giuliani’s tactics in Central America, where officers are paid much less than in the US and, accordingly, tend to give in to corruption.

It is most likely that the first rehabilitation program for gang members in the history of the country may be established by the government as part of its anti-gang measures. The costs, however, could exceed the governments’ financial means. Approximately 700 police officers have been temporarily suspended for disobeying regulations. Another 200 were expelled from the force. A functioning police force would be the first step towards greater security. Positive changes could attract investors who can offer young people a better perspective than organized crime. Private sector certainly can be a solution.

Does the Insanity Defense justify the means?

With cases like Julie Schenecher who put a bullet through her son in his head while driving and another in his mouth and then returned home to do the exact same things to her daughter while she was doing her homework because she stated “they were mean to me”.

How about Megan Huntsman who was charged with killing 7 infants in her home and put them in cardboard boxes. Sometimes there is no justice where criminal defense attorneys do not even use the insanity defense where the evidence is so overwhelming and the defendant is acquitted of all charges such in the Casey Anthony case and in our system cannot be tried again. Where is the justice for these innocent souls?

Andrea Yates was legally insane when she drowned her five children in a bathtub, allegedly to save them from being tormented forever in hell.


Many scientists and legal scholars have complained that tests like these, used by the law to determine criminal responsibility, are unscientific. Given recent advances in our understanding of human behavior and of the brain, these critics argue, the legal test for insanity is a quaint relic of a bygone era.

These criticisms misunderstand the nature of criminal responsibility, which is moral, not scientific. On the other hand, legislation that has eliminated or unduly constrained the insanity defense, often in response to unpopular verdicts of not guilty by reason of insanity, is likewise off the mark. Between these two attacks, the concept of the morally responsible individual seems to be disappearing.

In an effort to hold most people accountable, and recognizing both the difficulty of establishing what was in the defendant’s mind at the time of the crime and the defendant’s incentive to lie about it, the law sought to establish strict standards for responsibility. As a result, legal insanity tests were drawn quite narrowly. They did not excuse most defendants whose intentional conduct broke the law, even if they might have suffered from mental disorders or other problems at the time of the crime.

The rise of various materialistic and deterministic explanations of human behavior, including psychiatry, psychology, sociology and, more recently, neuroscience, has posed a particular challenge to the criminal law’s relatively simple central assumption that with few exceptions we act intentionally and can be held responsible. With perceptions of insanity, they have no control. People are not responsible for their crimes: it’s their poverty, their addictions or, ultimately, their neurons.


If we agree that there may be some percentage of people whose moral cognition is seriously disordered, how can the law identify those people in a way that will not allow the materialism of science to expand the definitions of excusing conditions to include all criminals? That is, if paranoid schizophrenia can provide part of the basis to excuse some criminal acts, why not bipolar disorder, or being angry, or having a bad day, or just being a jerk? After all, a large number of factors over which we have no rational control cause each of us to be the way we are.

The short answer is that we should recognize that the criteria for responsibility. Most people are responsible, but some are not.

Convicting and punishing a defendant who genuinely believed that God commanded him to kill is not unscientific, it is immoral and unjust.

We should be skeptical about claims of non-responsibility. But, if insanity-defense tests are interpreted sensibly to excuse people who genuinely lacked the ability to reason morally at the time of the crime, and expert testimony is treated with appropriate caution, can the criminal justice system reasonably decide whom to blame and punish?



In the 1950’s came the abolishment of the Mental Institutions where souls were left to squalor. Now the decision makers have to make a judgment that is never based on fact. Mental illness is not an exact science. Law is not a science.

Global Challenges

What are the biggest problems facing the world in 21st century?
• Racism
    • Discrimination
    • Global warming
    • Environmental destruction
    • Nuclear weapons
    • Terrorism
    • Violence
    • Murder
    • Torture
    • Toxic waste
    • War
    • Genocide
    • Poverty
    • Starvation
    • Rape, etc.

  • Answer:
    The biggest challenges are getting the personal and corporate GREED under control, and securing the Internet where more than 90 percent of our business takes place today. Every day human creations produce pollution as a result of the devising and invention of machinery. Humans are responsible for nearly everything in the world that has been created and is the source of pollution. In my opinion the biggest problem facing human in the next 100 years is pollution such as nuclear waste. Atomic power is very good source of energy so humans can save oil. Humans can use water and many other things to make power but there are dangerous threatening things and nuclear waste is one of them because it doesn’t natural to the environment. Meanwhile all countries want to discover new knowledge. I think they don’t think about what might happen in the next century or in future. This is a serious problem, like what to do with the waste because we are no longer allowed to throw them into ocean or bury it underground. This waste can cause the earth to be destroyed, so it is impossible to grow anything in that area.
    The possible solution is we can use that energy just for some special cases. Politicians should not use this energy for war weapons, Atomic bombs or experiment on humans’ body. The devastation caused to Hiroshima and Chernobyl shows that atomic weapon and power can have irreparable results.

    As people are living longer today and Science is more advanced than ever before, the results of mistakes made now will be visited on the unborn generations to come. Human history has been an expert witness to tragic events from the past. We should do anything we can to prevent such tragic events occurring. Overpopulation! Notwithstanding American “diets”, we grow 1200 cal of food per person (all 6 billion) per day – and half of that is lost, spoilage, insects and other vermin. If the average is 600, and we eat 2400 guess how many people are staving. Poverty and a lack of access to water and sanitation. Both cause massive amounts of disease and death worldwide.The greatest problem facing the people in the world today is our own stubborn and willful refusal to accept responsibilities for our actions. We are the species that introduced the notion of atomic global destruction to the world and all we seem to be able to do about it is point our fingers at faceless governments and assign blame. We shake our heads sadly and sigh: “If only the leaders would lead then the people would surely follow.” The best we seem to be able to muster up in dealing with nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction is protest. Protest is fine, but it’s not enough. Demanding stricter controls from governments proven to be incompetent will not handle this problem nor will any mutually assured destruction solve this problem. This particular problem is overwhelmingly complex and requires a people much wiser and stronger than we are today.

    The age we live in today is often called the age of information but if anyone is really paying attention it appears to be more like the age of disinformation. Propaganda abounds across the globe and it is only effective because people are such easy prey to propaganda. It requires a higher level of awareness to discern fact from fiction and truth from talk. That level of awareness will not be accomplished before we learn how to accept responsibility for our actions. Accepting responsibility for our actions requires we become more honest with ourselves and admit we are too lazy and to willing to stagnate on all levels.

    Our marriages fail because we don’t make the effort to keep them working, our children become estranged because we don’t make the time for them, our communities fall into disrepair because we let them crumble, all the while waiting for someone else, some expert or someone wiser than us to fix our problems. We eat to much fast food and then turn to our doctors expecting some sort of little yellow pill that can correct the imbalance we created because we eat garbage for sustenance. We turn to psychiatrists and psychologists asking for medication that will help us ignore the mess we’ve created so we might keep plodding forth making bigger messes. We hide in our churches scolding others because they aren’t as holy as we are ignoring the message that comes with attending church. We blame, and we blame and we blame, never satisfied with the results of blaming and so, astonishingly we blame some more.
    We are woefully human and to err is human but there is evidence that we are also divine. We build remarkable cities filled with breathtaking edifices and homes, we build dams, superhighway’s and learn the mechanics of rocket science. We care and we love just as deeply as we are indifferent or hate. We discover that our actions and thoughts are caused by synapses in the nervous system and brain but we wonder if that is so, how is it we know about synapses. We are much, much more than we’ve ever been and when we finally figure out how to accept responsibility for each and every one of our actions, we will finally become all that we are and all we are supposed to be. This is quite a problem and solving this problem will not be easy. It appears, however, that life is not easy. Life is hard and it is the struggle we make that defines who we are. All of us are capable of so much more than we have ever accomplished and perhaps one day, the people will face their problems until the only real problems we’re confronted with are in the decisions we face in handling new problems. That will be an epoch to remember.
    Clearly the greatest single problem which faces the world is overpopulation. The rate of increase has to be stopped in no time flat simply because there is going to be an ever increasing energy shortage which will continue to impact lives in ever increasing ways in time to come. This energy shortage will impact the ability of the peoples of this world to feed themselves in time to come. Arable land will be used up in cities and industrial areas. There will be crises which people will not be able to overcome.
    Any one who has ever flown in an airplane over the vast and wide open spaces of this planet would have to ignore the obvious in order to agree that it is clear that overpopulation is a problem at all let alone the single greatest problem the world faces. How would we stop population rises? Is some form of tyrannical licensing of parentage being advocated? Energy shortage? The single greatest abundance in the universe is hydrogen. We are better served to find ways to harnessing this abundant resource and creating a renewable source of energy than we are in oppressing the individual and demanding that we all stop being so successful at propagation. The world is still very large and the universe even larger.