Surveillance video from a shopping center shows a pair of gunmen pull up beside a white car, hop out, and begin shooting. The victim was a Mexican police officer named Eduardo N. Apparently the gunmen believed he was one of the people involved in the arrest of El Chapo’s son last month:

The 30-year-old officer, only named by police as Eduardo N., was killed in Culiacan, Sinaloa on Wednesday – just three weeks after militarized police captured and then released Ovidio Guzman Lopez after a brutal shootout with cartel gunmen…

Within 30 seconds, the gunmen fired 155 shots at the police officer, before leaping into the vehicle and running off, the outlet reported…

Cristobal Castañeda Camarillo, the Secretary of Public Safety in Sinaloa, said that Eduardo N., was not directly involved in the botched arrest attempt of Guzman Lopez on Oct. 17, but that he was part of the wider antidrug security unit patrolling the region, according to El Heraldo de Mexico.

Here’s the surveillance video:

I wrote about the arrest and release of Ovidio Guzman Lopez last month. He was captured by a small group of police at his girlfriend’s house but within hours cartel thugs had turned the entire town of Culiacan into a shooting gallery. Here’s a reminder of what that sounded like:

Rather than fight it out, the police released Ovidio. Mexico’s President Obrador praised the decision saying it prevented a bloodbath. President Obrador’s stated approach to cartel violence is “hugs, not bullets.” Just a couple days ago he doubled down on this strategy despite the murder of an American family, including children:

The president used the catchy phrase “hugs not bullets” – or “abrazos, no balazos” in Spanish – in his promise to clear out violent drug cartels, not by waging war, but instead changing communities by tackling what he said is at the root of the problem: extreme poverty.

On Wednesday, Lopez Obrador said he would not sway from his position, saying that “violence cannot be confronted with violence.”

“The bad cannot be confronted with the bad. The bad needs to be confronted doing the good,” he added. “We believe that the most important (thing) is life, protecting the lives of everyone; the lives of the military, the lives of the presumed delinquents, and the lives of civilians.”

That sounds nice, I guess, but it wasn’t much help to the American family or to the Mexican cop shot 155 times. Only one side of this war has abandoned bullets. The cartel is still shooting people in broad daylight and getting away with it. Because, really, what are police going to do now? They could try to arrest the shooters but why would the cartel allow it? They already know that if they roll out enough hardware the cops will fold and release the suspects. So why bother?

The whole concept of the modern state is tied up with the idea that the state maintains a monopoly on violence. That’s why we don’t have people settling disputes with duels anymore. The state arrests people, charges them, tries them, and hands out a just sentence. Without that, you have the wild west. But that concept is falling apart in Mexico because the state no longer has a monopoly on violence. The cartels have shown they are prepared to take up arms against the state if they feel so inclined. So who is really in charge?

At some point you either fight for your people or you hand the country over to the cartels. It’s increasingly looking like armed murderers in Mexico can do anything they want and the country’s president will just plead for more time. “Hugs, not bullets” is going to result in a lot of good people killed with no consequences.