A few days ago, a female kidnapping suspect called "The Redhead" was busted out of a Mexican prison—so she could be tortured and killed.

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...instead of being freed, Gabriela Muniz was within days found hanging by the neck from a pedestrian overpass in Mexico's wealthiest city, Monterrey — a brutally rare fate for a woman, even amid this nation's depraved and escalating drug violence.

Was it score-settling among gangs? Or was this an even more sinister example of vigilante justice by affluent private parties determined to restore what they see as law and order to their enclave?

"Since there are no rules — the big businessmen have no rules, the narcos have no rules — it is difficult to know what this was," Samuel Gonzalez, former head of organized crime investigations for the federal government, said in a telephone interview Monday. "But if it is a case of private 'justice,' then this is really a terrible, terrible phenomenon."

No rules on either side of the law: another consequence of our stupid, expensive, and cruel drug war.

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And it fundamentally doesn't matter whether The Redhead died at the hands of a rival gang or private, wealthy citizens looking to extract "justice." When the state cannot (or will not) wield the force of the law, everybody's just rival gangs. Whether they like it or not.

Meanwhile in Acapulco, the war between La Familia and the Sinaloa narcos is heating up with 15 decapitated bodies dumped in the resort town, next to a burning car, with taunting notes signed by "El Chapo" Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa narcos.