Roving gangs of young men in Mexico are beating and terrorizing teenage boys who like "emo" music. The situation shows the value of respect for rule of law and the pressing need for a culture of liberty.

Time magazine reports that Mexican gangs are beating up and generally terrorizing male "emos," young men whose fashions identify them as following the alternative-rock movement known as emo, which tends to concentrate on exploring adolescent emotions and includes lyrics dealing with depression.

Emo males tend to dress somewhat effeminately, and are predominantly middle-class, both of which have infuriated lower-class punks in Mexico’s still macho-oriented culture. Thus roving gangs are tracking them down and inflicting serious physical assaults, in addition to verbal harrassement:

The trio of long-haired teenagers grasped the plaza wall to shield their bodies as hundreds of youths kicked and punched them while filming the beating on cell phone cameras. "Kill the emos," shouted the assailants, who had organized over the Internet to launch the attack in Mexico’s central city of Queretaro. After police eventually steamed in and made arrests, the bloody victims lay sobbing on the concrete waiting for ambulances while the mob ran through the nearby streets laughing and cheering.

The attacks shocked many in Mexico, according to the reports, but there had been many clues in the culture that this was about to happen:

In the lead-up the mob attacks, there was increasingly aggressive talk against emos in online forums and TV music shows. Blogs raved about "killing emos" and showed cartoon drawings of decapitated long-haired heads. Internet writers called on anti-emos to "take back" public spaces such as the Plaza de Armas in Queretaro, where the black-clothed teenagers sit around.

Naturally, homosexual activists and leftists who see fascism everywhere have taken this as an opportunity to leap upon their particular hobbyhorses and begin rocking furiously, but the reality is that a society without a strong tradition of rule of law is perpetually vulnerable to this sort of madness.

Until Mexico develops respect for rule of law and a culture of liberty, it will remain a fundamentally weak society and culture, and its economy will continue to suffer, perpetuating the nation’s inexcusably low standard of living. The basic role of any government is to keep the peace, for all good things rely on that.

One hopes that this latest series of outrages will bring that lesson home.