Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mexico violence: Fear and intimidation, what can we learn

BBC News - Mexico violence: Fear and intimidation

The violence is still mainly drug dealer vs. drug dealer for this type of beheading action.  But they are making mistakes quite often, and killing people on the edges of the trade.  Being close to the drug trade used to be sexy, and a lot of kids wanted to be there.  But now it looks like that fringe is being targeted by the rival gangs.  For families this can be difficult.  In at least two instances on the McAllen side of the river, homes have been attacked as gangs look for family members involved in the trade, and then just took the people they thought would bring the guy out.  On the Mexico side, it is much worse - the gangs are using low level members who just drive where they're told and shoot everyone at the home, or in the car, or at the party.

This brings some tough decisions for many families: people associated with the drug trade are possible targets, and every time you are around them it puts you and your family danger.  

People are already learning which bars and restaurants are frequented by the drug trade folks, and make decisions based on this.  Unfortunately, if the family is not with them, they often still go to these establishments, since many of us like the thrill of flirting with danger.  In this case it can be a very bad move. These drug gangs have used hand grenades and automatic weapons so the attack from start to finish could be less that 30 seconds, with lots of indiscriminate damage.  

It will normally happen to fast too really react, but if you're in an establishment used by those in the drug trade, stay away from the front doors, situate yourself deeper into the room, and make sure you know a second way out.  For everyone the key is to get down and away. Tables are often the only thing to hide behind, and tipping them over helps.  The table top often will not stop the bullet, but may reduce the power of it, plus it takes you out of sight.  

This is hard to say, but staying away from establishments even family members that are associated with the drug trade is the safest move.  If you enter an establishment and feel something is not right, I would act on that feeling and find another place for dinner, or to have a drink. 

When driving or walking, if you hear gun fire move in the opposite direction and get something between you and any possible stray bullets flying around.  Most people tend to freeze in place when and incident starts, so take anyone around you with you, even just pulling their arm for a second will help break the freeze, and get them moving.  

I was involved in a drive by in LA a year of so ago while getting gas, bad planing on my part I knew this was a dangerous part of town.  The two SUVs involved started exchanging gun fire as they passed in front of the gas station. Two young boys walking by just stood there watching; I pulled both down just as the front window of the gas station disappeared behind us.  If you are the one thinking, you may be the only one - so you need to help those around you.

By the way, the targeted SUV rolled to a stop with all dead inside. The other SUV rolled through the gas station looking for people taking too much interest in the shooting.  I had moved us behind the vehicle as they rolled by, always putting the vehicle between us and the shooters.  

Keeping a calm head will help, but the biggest help is to not get into the situation in the first place. If I had planned better, I would not have needed to get gas in that dangerous area.  Keep thinking! That is your best defense. 



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