Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Another day, another massacre — 33 and counting. The federal Minister of Justice said the Manaus situation was “under control” – good thing, too, just imagine if it weren’t! After Roraima, the Minister said it wasn’t a rebellion and jailbreak, just a “settling of accounts”. Whew! What a relief!

Michael Royster, aka The Curmudgeon.
Michael Royster, aka The Curmudgeon.

Brazil’s President Temer said the Manaus Massacre was an “accident”. Really? This slimy solipsist who poses as part of Brazil’s literati because he once studied constitutional law, couldn’t conceive that 56 murders had been done on purpose?

This casual reaction to ninety horrid, horrible, horrendous deaths stems from the fact that most Brazilians (or at least most middle and upper class Brazilians, and certainly all Brazilian politicians save possibly Eduardo Suplicy) believe that “the only good bandido is a dead bandido”. The equivalent phrase in English is “good riddance of bad rubbish.

Some Brazilians have implied or affirmed online that massacres carried out by feuding factions are the most efficient way to decrease the overcrowding of “correctional” facilities. Why waste money building new prisons, they ask, when that money could be spent on decent people such as teachers and firefighters and police and sanitation workers.

The Curmudgeon whimsically prophesies that, eventually, someone will create a Brazilian successor to the “human cockfighting” called mixed martial arts. A brand-new “penitentiary” facility vaguely reminiscent of the Roman Coliseum will be built, without any guards, thus leaving the premises to the competing gang factions, so they can “settle scores” amongst themselves.

The security cameras would be left on, of course, because that way promoters could film and charge admission. Thousands of viewers, tired of increasingly bloodless UFC matches, would pay a fortune to subscribe and even more for the box seats close to the inner ring. The Ministers of Telecommunications and Justice could (and would) jointly proclaim that everything was “under control”.

The latest score is: CV 56 – PCC 33. But stay tuned for the exciting rematch! There will be blood!


  1. ‘The Running Man’ was a great sci-if movie, but I agree that it is hardly something to bring to real life.


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