Dear reader, you might wonder why I write on such frivolous topics as my thoughts on popular culture; I do so mainly because Mexico has changed me. Everything now – every thought, opinion, interaction, down to every breath I take – is serious to me; especially now.
I find the clocking is ticking – inside (my age), outside (the world) – and I am positively fascinated as to the reasons why change is not merely happening, but happening with an increased rapidity.
I once saw a video where the late Andrew Breitbart made the incredibly astute observation that ‘Politics is downstream from culture.’ I had never before made that connection. I’ve always felt estranged from modern American culture so I suppose what Breitbart said could explain away my distrust of the American political system.
And Mexican culture to this foreigner is mostly impermeable. It is only recently become apparent to me that political corruption has been spilling over into cultural violence. I suppose it has been that way for a very long time but I again witnessed the aftermath of this violence firsthand. First the mayor was assassinated just a week or so ago, now this.
At 11 am this morning a man was gunned down less than 20 meters from my front door. The killer(s) fired 31 bullets. One of those bullets landed fully intact, literally in the middle of the street, two doors down (east) from me in front of my friend, Max’s shop.
I was sitting upstairs on the third floor in my apartment when I heard what I thought was some asshole firing off a bunch of very loud fireworks directly in front of my house. I thought to myself, “WTF?”
I walked up to the roof to see a car parked diagonally blocking the intersection two doors west of me. This was maybe two minutes after the gunshots. I wanted to know what manner of asshole would be detonating loud explosives practically on my doorstep.
I had heard a series of maybe 10-15 rapid fire explosions followed by what sounded like a half dozen more further in the distance.
So I don’t see anything but this car from my rooftop followed by a young man calmly walking up to it and then driving away. A few minutes later I heard sirens but that shit happens all the time so I didn’t pay any attention to it, nor connect the dots, other than maybe the police were pissed someone was shooting off some serious rocketry in the heart of downtown.
At 11:30 I decided to take a break from what I was doing and go visit Max for a few minutes and when I open my front door I find myself in the middle of a crime scene.
One of the yellow police, ‘Do Not Cross Crime Scene’ tapes was taped to the pharmacy next door and extended across the street.
The police waved me through and Max and his mom and a couple of other neighbors are standing out front on the sidewalk talking. The coffeeshop across the street had its doors barred and was locked up, unusual for a place that is the most popular pastry coffee cafe place in the city.
Then I discover those fireworks I heard weren’t fireworks but gunshots. And then it occurred to me the reason they didn’t sound like gunshots was the acoustical effect from the close proximity of the hard reflective brick buildings surrounding the murder which drastically changed the sound characteristics. I know because I’ve owned guns and I know what a gunshot sounds like and those didn’t register on my mind as gunshots.
So there I am in the middle of a crime scene. There’s a dozen cops all armed with machine guns and some forensic people going around putting down numerically marked little yellow triangles at certain points up and down the street.
No. 31 was placed in the center of the street directly in front of Max’s front door and beside it was a fired bullet round. A fucking bullet laying in the middle of the street.
The amazing thing about this bullet was that it was totally undeformed, which could only mean one thing. That it had passed through an object sufficient enough to slow it up and drop it perfectly intact, yet it was no more than 50-60 meters from the dead body. What a mystery!
It was by my estimation a 30 caliber round (or 9mm) which can easily travel 100-300 meters (depending on barrel length, rifle or a pistol) on a more or less a flat trajectory for that entire distance. That means the bullet doesn’t drop (via gravity) or stop; unless given hard physical circumstances to make it do so.
So how did this perfectly preserved bullet round end up in the center of the street so close to the body?
Usually a bullet while passing through something as simple as a body (deer, human, etc.) hits a bone and the bullet mushrooms on the exit, generally making for a pretty gruesome exit wound.
This bullet – No. 31 – was pristine. And yet it had traversed only 50-60 meters without any signs of hitting anything, or going through anything except perhaps soft tissue. But still – a puzzle.
Now I only heard what amounted to something 15 or 20 explosions but it turns out – as we asked – some 31 bullets were recovered.
Think about that. This is the center of town. It’s 11 am and some madman assassin(s) fires off 31 rounds killing one man but somehow not hitting any innocent bystanders.
This is a serious place – really no different from any other place anymore – but more ‘public’ in its demonstrative forms of violence. And everything – and I mean everything – counts.
If that doesn’t give you pause my friend, then you are living one very stupid, sheltered head-in-the-sand life – never leave your house kind of existence – indeed.
I could have left for Max’s 30 minutes earlier and bullet no. 31 could have been mine. In fact I looked at my watch at 10:45 and though about heading down to his place then for a visit. But I had one last chore to do.
You don’t believe in God my friend? Living in Mexico might just change your mind.
PS – There were maybe 50-100 people within the proximity of all those gunshots and amazingly no one else was killed, or even injured.
That’s a true miracle.
Ignore God at your own risk.