It was hard enough believing that there’s a war happening 10 miles south of where I live. Crossing the border into Mexico in my part of the state was never something I was wary of, yet a few days ago I found myself sitting with a friend who lamented that she was too scared to go visit her grandmother in Reynosa because of the escalating violence.
And then there’s Sunday night: apparently, there was a cartel-related shooting/kidnapping at the Wal-Mart about 6 minutes from my house.
What the hell is going on here?!
Of course, now we’re getting mainstream press:
- The Monitor: One in custody, two injured after cartel shooting near McAllen Walmart
- South Texas Chisme: Cartel violence erupts at McAllen WalMart
- NY Times: Mexico Is Warned on Drug Detector
- NY Times: Killings Fuel Concern Over Mexico’s Drug Offensive
- AP: 8 reporters kidnapped in Reynosa, press group says
- Salon: 3 with ties to US consulate killed in Mexican city
But do you think I still feel safe?
Yeah, I do. I have no problem going out alone to fill up a jug of water at three in the morning. I have no problem hanging out in the area where the shooting took place (though not in the Wal-Mart itself, as Wal-Mart is on my corporate shit list). And if I had the cash, I would have no problem taking a bus by myself this weekend a couple hours into Mexico (and sleeping in a tent) so that I could attend the MtyMx Music Festival.
I have seen a lot of racism and calls for (further) militarization of the border in the commentary surrounding the escalating violence. There are Mexican cities along the border that remain untouched by the violence. Would I go to Reynosa now? No. Matamoros? Probably not. But I would go to Progreso. And for the most part, the Valley–the Valley that tourists and Winter Texans and spring breakers see–is safe.
I’m glad that the press (even the local press) is finally reporting what’s going on, but I don’t like that this entire area–both the Texas and Mexico sides–is being painted with such broad strokes.