Sunday, 13 March 2011

Ramblings, significant and otherwise (proofed & amended)

      There have been a couple of moments when the Old Gringo thought that you all might be thinking that he was thinking about not thinking about the disorders we face daily on this continent due to the traffic in illegal drugs.   Not so.  It is just that the topic becomes burdensome and it is left to me and few others to try to explain that Americans in America are probably more exposed to drug violence in America than Mexicans or Americans are exposed to it in Mexico.
       The first point is that it is all bad.   There is no positive face that can be put upon an issue which involves criminals with no souls.
        The second point is that there are continuing positive things that occur, about which nobody hears.    Remember that, at best, we are looking at eighteen months to three years more of this messy business.   But, please consider these brief points:
               (a)     About three days ago several main thoroughfares in the Monterrey metroplex were blocked again by miscreants commandeering busses and tractor-trailer rigs and parking them perpendicular to the running lanes.   This would usually be followed by a gun battle by cartel integrates who wanted to make sure that Military and police units could not gain access to the zone of disorder.     This time, however, the bus drivers and truck drivers informed the police and Military that the perpetrators were juveniles, aged 12 to 15 or so....who acted as if they had guns concealed on them....or they boarded and began the offense of taking control of the vehicle.
                         Once in control, they parked the vehicles in a manner that would cause the greatest consternation among the driving public,  and then ran off giggling like girls.   Nobody picked them waiting Escalade full of thugs with automatic weaponry...nothing.   Police stool-pigeons informed befuddled officers that there was a new game called "bloqueo", being played primarily by three or four secondary schools in an area where Monterrey, San Nicolas de los Garza, and Guadalupe city boundaries come together.      Some of the city busses and almost all of the long-distance inter-city busses have security cameras with memory, so the cops have a good idea of which specific individuals are involved and where they can be picked up.    Some of the idiots were good enough to demonstrate their stupidity by posting their own live action pictures on "social networking sites" so that by now 80%  of Mexico knows who they are.....and nobody is smiling.

               (b)     Then, yesterday a gaggle of thugs decided to fire on a Military patrol in the southern part of Monterrey proper.   The soldiers returned fire, chased the vehicle a short distance where it crashed into some curbing and a business's concrete wall.   Three of the thugs, all wounded and bleeding ran into traffic and escaped, more or less.  The soldiers reached the fourth thug who was also wounded, but too severely to be able to run.   Inside the SUV the soldiers found the guns and ammunition that had fed their bravado, plus quite a bit of beer and a kilo or so of marijuana.
                         What was of interest is that the driver was 14 years old.  The other three were ferreted out at a hospital emergency receiving room.   None had made it to the age of 17...two were from Central America.

               (c)       Once again, acting on a tip, the Army searched out a "campamento" in the deep brush and low mesquite forest of central Tamaulipas State.    They encountered, as was advised by the tipster, a corral not of horses but late model SUV's and pick-ups....being poorly guarded by eight thugs.     All were known thugs of the ZETA group, very much wanted by every level of authority in the area....including five or six of them being wanted in Texas.....for trafficking, murder, extortion, etc.     There was also one man who was essentially hog-tied to a mesquite tree.
                           Within two minutes there were no more active " detain and arrest" warrants in force against  the eight.     They were dead.    The hog-tied man was released to his family.   The Army took possession of varous armaments and fourteen vehicles. 
                           Two key things here;    anonymous tips that are accurate and......if a person chooses to fight the Mexican Army or the Naval Infantry...chances are strong he will lose.

               (d)     There were four other incidents with significant casualties for the Cartel people in Tamaulipas State and Nuevo Leon State.

(L -  R)  The Old Gringo, Brother Milton, and Brother Norman
NOW, ON ANOTHER TOPIC;      I was rooting around in some old material, working on the genealogy of the family when a photograph turned up from 20 December 1963....showing the Old Gringo with his brothers.    This picture was taken in front of the front porch at the old farmstead in what is now north McAllen.   The rightmost individual is the middle brother Norman (1942), the center is the oldest brother Milton(1936), and the heroic looking individual on the left is the Old Gringo (1947).    We were dolled up for brother Norman's wedding rehearsal and after-event supper.
    The wedding took place two days later....30 days after the assassination of President Kennedy....It was quite an event for McAllen.   It was, to that date, the biggest non-Roman Catholic wedding in the history of McAllen.   Norman played the role of groom, and has been married to the same woman for almost 50 years now.   Milton was given the chief supporting actor's role, as the elder brother, and served as Best Man, while El Gringo Viejo was the Acolyte in attendance of the Priest Officiate, the Reverend Father Henry Clay Tompkins Puckett.   That priest read a good mass but he was a pinko.   He is the problem of Saint Peter now.
        Our housekeeper attended with a seat of honor on the groom's side (Gospel).  She had been with the family for 30 years and had gone all out to dress-to-impress.    She was escorted to her second pew, aisle seat, directly behind my parents, by the Old Gringo, vested en acalyto.    She was to observe later that in all her years it had never occurred to her that we were Roman Catholic.    I did not have the heart to tell her about the simililarities and differences between the Anglican and Roman branches of Christiandom, but she spared me that by observing that Latin "sounds a lot different in America than in Mexico."
      As some of you all know, Guadalupe (Lupe) Gonzalez was essentially the Housekeeper and my Governess from my birth until we left McAllen in 1966.    She was a descendant of the Otomi' Indian nation  who still dominate in the area around Puebla, Puebla to the east of Mexico City.    It was they, along with the Tlaxcalans, and a few Huastecs and Totonac warriors, numbering around 80,000 who assisted Hernan Cortez's meagre forces in the defeat, destruction, and subjugation of one of the worst civilizations ever to infest Planet Earth....the Aztecs.   Lupe came from good blood.
      Thank you for hanging in there with me.

More Later,
El Gringo Viejo