Not to be too gloomy on a day such as this, but take a gander at this cross of death, first published in Reforma, and copied on the site Borderland Beat (HT Hotair). These are the total deaths, for just this year, due to Mexico’s drug wars. As of the 4th of November, the number slain was 6,587. Simple extrapolation suggests the grand total for 2010 will top 7,000.
Or 7,001 after they reckon Don Alejo Garza. Have you heard about this hero? Last week, a Mexican gang came and told him to leave his ranch, they were taking over. The thinking behind the narcotraficantes‘ request was simplicity itself: they wanted his land, thus it belonged to them. Raw numbers argued that they were more than he, and that was sufficient reason. They would return the next day to claim what they believed to be theirs by virtue of marshal superiority.
Don Alejo, 77, a self-made man “known for keeping his word”, gave the next day off to his staff. He wanted to be alone when the murderers came.
The trucks entered the ranch and took up positions surrounding the house. The gunmen got out of their trucks, fired shots in the air, and announced they came to take possession of the ranch. They were expecting the terrified occupants to run out, begging for mercy with their hands in the air.
But things didn’t go as expected. Don Alejo welcomed them with bullets; the entire army of gunmen returned fire. Don Alejo seemed to multiply, he seemed to be everywhere. The minutes would have seemed endless to those who had seen him as easy prey. Various gunmen were killed on sight. The others, in rage and frustration, intensified the attack by swapping out their assault rifles for grenades.
The artillery wasn’t enough. Don Alejo killed four and wounded two more, may they die soon, before succumbing himself to the attack. The few remaining gunmen ran off, scared that the sounds of their prolonged attack had awoken the interest of the Mexican marines, which it had.
When the marines arrived they discovered Don Alejo had spent the night fortifying his home, placing weapons near each potential entry point so that they would be readily accessible. He wouldn’t run, he wouldn’t cower, he would fight for what was his. He fought for what was his, for what was right. He died like a man.
It shouldn’t have happened, but it did. I am thankful for men such as Don Alejo and the example he set. May he rest in peace.