Daily Wire host Michael Knowles lauded a viral video from Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele showing gang members rounded up and sent to a large prison complex in humiliating fashion, contending that American officials should likewise wield authority to deter violent crime.
El Salvador witnessed a 56.8% decrease in the murder rate last year as the Latin American nation’s government instituted a crackdown on gang-related violence. Bukele shared a video on social media showing thousands of gang members with shaved heads and no clothes except for identical white shorts being packed into buses by heavily armed prison guards. The offenders were then transported in buses to a newly constructed supermax prison.
El Salvador constitutes the territory of MS-13, a gang especially infamous for its brutal killings of women and children. Knowles said during a recent episode of “The Michael Knowles Show” that the Salvadoran effort to protect its population arose as a result of a concentrated will from the electorate.
“It’s a miracle political program over the last couple of years,” Knowles remarked. “How did El Salvador do that? It wanted to do that. It wanted to fix the murder problem, it mustered the political will to do it, and then the president effecting this policy, sent in troops to go round up MS-13 like the animals that they are.”
“It’s a miracle political program”. https://t.co/jqvzH50tqv
— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) February 28, 2023
Knowles noted that Bukele intentionally “created a very slick, highly produced propaganda video humiliating them, and then he put that out there for all the world to see” and contrasted the unapologetic approach toward criminal justice with the policies advanced by American officials. “We in the United States need to follow the lead of the government of El Salvador,” he continued. “We need to be clear that if you commit crimes, you will be punished for it.”
The video from El Salvador indeed follows a report from the Marshall Project indicating that authorities in the United States solved less than 50% of homicides in 2020, marking the latest concerning metric in a long decline since the 70% of homicides which were solved in the 1980s. The trend occurs as Americans exhibit their lowest approval in decades for capital punishment: only 54% of respondents to one Gallup survey were in favor of the death penalty for an individual convicted of murder.
Knowles, predicting that criminals in the United States do not believe that they will be held accountable for their actions, blasted “the libs and the squishes” who described the crackdown in El Salvador as inhumane or authoritarian. One article from The New Yorker said that Bukele instituted “a repressive crackdown on gangs to become Latin America’s most popular leader.”
“Can you be repressive against gangs?” Knowles asked. “Seems like that is actually liberative of the people. It’s not repressive upon the people when you go after these criminals.”
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Knowles also observed that Bukele has become the region’s most popular leader because he is “wielding authority to do good, to get the bad guys and to help the good guys.” He encouraged American lawmakers, judges, and executives to follow suit.
“What he is showing us is that the law is a teacher. We’ve known this all the way back to the ancient Greeks,” Knowles continued. “When the law sends an army to your door and rounds up your gang like the animals they are, you are going to get fewer gangsters, and they are going to commit fewer crimes.”