Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Waiting For The Dust To Settle Feb 2010

With nearly two weeks behind us since my friends violent 9mm-in-your-face carjacking experience, we are slow to recover.  

It's not that it was a carjacking, they have become common around the world, not shocking at all anymore.  What is nerve-wracking is that it happened here in our peaceful little nondescript ranchero pueblo.  

What else it is that shakes me to the core is the arrogant brazenness of it all.  They knew they wouldn't get caught!  After assaulting her, they drove off in her car and went to her house to rob it by gaining access with her keys.  Then, they drove her car — Mexican man driving US plated car with 2 kayaks on top, mind you — down main street, along the plaza, past the church, and on to the highway where they were observed making a right hand turn toward Guadalajara.  

Did they thumb their noses at the Municipal Building as they passed it? 

It's a new Mexico, and I am not as comfy as I once was.  The 'Drug War' is trickling down, can it do that? 

I see new faces and new cars in town.  Many sporting US plates, and containing single men with cervezas in hand, slumped down low, red-faced and cold-eyed with knit caps and neck tats.  I recently encountered just such a thing on a rural road in my neighborhood last week while walking the dog.  They drove so slowly they were barely moving, no place to go and nothing to do, then made disparaging remarks when they passed.  I averted my eyes as they pulled up to where I was, and my blood chilled.  I realized how lucky I was that they rolled on.  I don't go there any more.

Admirably, my friend organized a town hall meeting with other victims of crimes and a few Jocotepec Municipality dignitaries.  Here is the account of the meeting from the local paper.  They listened intently as people read their prepared statements, but had little to offer in return.  A website.  An emergency phone number to call to report your crime.  

The bone-chilling reality is, what can they do?  What would you choose, given the choice of the bribe or the bullet?  plata o plomo  For a dose of reality read this!  USA Today

Mexico has always been the wild, wild west, and that's one of the aspects of this country that attracted me to it   Maybe now we're paying the price for that.

I'm afraid it's going to get much worse before it gets better.


  1. The mob has been active here in Ohio for many years, you could buy your way out of anything of the most part, up till a few years ago. What changed, the FBI put the congressman in jail, half the judges and co-oped the Don. The mob is alive and well here but it has its head down more than at any other time in my life. The rule of law is key to keeping the thugs under some bit of control.

  2. Everyone down here has been thinking about the changes we're seeing, and how we don't like it.

    It's hard to know what to do, but reporting crimes, getting the word out to neighbors, and being really vigilant should help some. Block watch - remember that? Block captains? To me Mexican streets already function that way, which is good.

    The balance I am trying to find is how to keep my eyes open and judging the safety of the scene and still stay open and friendly and warm.

  3. Norm - When you say 'mob' do you mean the Mexican cartels or do you mean the mafia? What do you mean 'co-opted the Don'? Thanks for your response.

    Nancy - Your last paragraph NAILED it. It's difficult to evaluate a person without establishing eye contact, but doing so could be detrimental to one's health!

  4. I was very surprised to hear about the carjacking. I read about it on your blog and told my husband, who had heard about it somewhere else. Everyone is upset by it - not just the gringos. I would like to point out, though, that most of the single Mexican men driving vehicles with US plates own those vehicles fair and square. We lived in CA before moving down here and we haven't gotten around to replacing the CA plates on my (Mexican) husband's truck with Mexican plates. We know lots of Mexican men who have US plates because they used to live in the States. I'm sure plenty more bought the cars from friends and relatives up there. I hope that helps put your mind at ease when you see US plates + Mexican men. I hope, too, you don't feel too scared. It's a scary thing that happened, and shakes us up, but we still live amongst many kind people.

  5. It's true, we do live amongst some of the kindest people in the world, part of the reason why I love Mexico and live here. But — it only takes 1 bad guy with a gun to get dead!
    I should clarify that, and I have long expired CA plates too, I didn't mean to infer that the cars with US plates must be stolen. Not so. Many many people have returned to Joco with their cars from the US and US plates.
    Having said that, many foreigners here have South Dakota plates, not because they are from there, but because they use SD for it's easy registration renewal online and no need for insurance to register the cars.
    Thank you for your thoughtful and caring response, Vadose!

  6. Trailrunner, send me an email at living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com

    Your blog is fantastic. Great writing and good information.