By TLB Contributing Author: Ken LaRive
I remember Mexico. I lived in San Diego for almost three years, and traveled from Tijuana to Baja several times. Camped with my new wife below the cliffs once and left my 66 Mustang thousands of feet away, and it was still there in the morning. I can only shake my head today thinking about it.
I’ve also worked three oilfield jobs there, and found my favorite place to be Villahermosa. And I grew to love the Mexican people too, their culture of family and Christian values I will remember always. I’ve rented cars and drove through the lowlands of Chiapas, from Cozumel to Chechen Itza, and from the Mayan ruins of Palenque to Agua Azuela, and not once did I ever perceive danger, or enough of it to fear. I only wanted to take pictures without ingesting a parasite, and found mostly good people along the way.
I remember too, a warning by a local Lancondon Mayan dressed in his long cotton tunic as I bartered for seed jewelry at the base of the Yucatan highlands: “Do not go higher, sir, it is not safe for you there.” Seems I laughed about it then, but that man was telling me the truth. You see, I was raised in the inner city of New Orleans, the murder capital of the entire United States, and I was carrying three switchblades in strategic places, my coat pocket, my back pocket and in my sock. I watch everything, and considered myself on constant guard, and I have walked the cities of the world with fearless deliberateness. But most likely I will never go back to Mexico.
According to Agence France Press, the number of Americans being murdered in Mexico has risen to number one in the past decade, number one worldwide. Between October 2002 and December 2012, 648 Americans were brutally murdered, nearly 40 percent of the 1,600 Americans intentionally killed worldwide. US State Department reports approximately 200 more Americans were murdered in Mexico between 2013 and mid 2015
Two other hot spots for Americans are Honduras and Dominican Republic with 77 murders each. And amazingly, the second on the list is the Philippines, and the hardest for me to comprehend at 84 homicides against Americans. I have been to PI, my Navy home-base was Subic Bay, and I have also worked with Filipinos all around the world drilling for oil. I thought them personable, honorable and good men, it seems that times are changing, and it matters little if it is because of our war machine, or what is in my wallet. The danger is just as real. Still, I remember Saudi Arabia, and the smiling Filipino who got caught making hooch, having to spend three years in a sweltering jail. He smiled the day he went in, and the day he got out. And I considered him a good man, just like Mexicans.
But Mexico, that is a real mind blower, and closer to home. More U.S. Citizens are killed there than all “terrorist action” around the world, as compiled by AFP. And not surprisingly, most all were killed in border regions dominated by drug cartels.
As New Orleans takes the cake for both hate and drug related violence, mostly black against black, Ciudad Juárez, south of California, runs red as the world’s murder capital, with 120 Americans murders in the last 10 years.
These numbers might be far higher than indicated by the U.S. State Department database because not all deaths are reported to our American consulates, where it is tabulated, and they do not state the name of the victims.
Yes, I think of myself as a timid adventurer, tongue in cheek, but not a stupid one, and in Mexico I am not allowed to protect myself. Only the bad guys and punk copes with AR-15s and bubble glasses have weapons. Sure, it may be that some of these murdered people were working with or against these drug cartels, but I’m sure the cross-fire is a dangerous place to be for a tourist traveler.
There is so much more of Mexico left to explore, but most likely I’ll never attempt it, as the adventure is not worth the risk. In most all of America however, I am allowed to carry a concealed weapon, and that is why I still go back to the Crescent City. Anyone not caring a gun in New Orleans is either a fool or amazingly trusting. The danger there is real, even for a savvy, street-smart local.
My father told me of the dangers of Tijuana during WW2, and how the US secured the border from San Diego. It took the Mexican police just a short time to secure it, and both trade and tourism, the lifeblood of Mexico, flowed again. We could secure the border, but Progressives hope for another potential voter, that, and Obama’s new drug corridor through our national forests of Arizona. Mexico supplies our Marijuana, and that is the primary reason. Big bucks.
Ken LaRive – Facets: It’s a simple but beautiful metaphor. Our soul is likened to an uncut diamond, pure, perfect, and unrealized. Each learned experience cleaves a facet on its face, and leaves it changed forever. Through this facet, this clear window, new light, new questions and ideas take shape and form. This process is our reason for being …
More information about Ken LaRive.