After two weeks in central Mexico, Whataburger marked my entry point back into the United States. Located in one of those dystopian nowheresville districts that border major airports, the fast-food restaurant near DFW was the perfect venue for my re-acclimatization back into American life.
Customers were obese, slouchy, and grumpy, and, I assumed, heavily armed. For the first time in a fortnight I felt anxious. Would I be the victim of yet another mass shooting here in the heart of Texas?
Had Governor Greg Abbott, competing head-to-head with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the worst state leader in the nation, been alerted that a Chicago-raised libtard who despises the NRA and this country’s lax gun laws had just set foot on Texas soil? Did he know I am pro-choice, pro-book, and that I support the teaching of LGBTQ topics in public schools?
Safe in Mexico
I admit Mexico felt safer than my own native country. I roamed around five cities in the central part of the country, beginning in Mexico City and ending in Oaxaca. Not once did I feel frightened.
(I also felt safer visiting Cuba where citizens are not allowed to own guns. And, no, I do not want to live in a Communist country. Well, at least not until the embargo is lifted.)
When night fell in the Mexican zocalos, these main squares came to life in a way I had never witnessed in the United States. Families promenaded. Children frolicked on the grass. Vendors sold delicious street food from aromatic stalls. Latin music filled the plaza and I had not heard that many guitarists since the 1960s. Additionally, I noticed that accordions are popular, too.
The idea of a deranged lone wolf or some anti-government, QAnon nutjob opening fire amidst all this happiness seemed minuscule. After all, Mexico, a country with 130 million residents has exactly one gun store, located in Mexico City and controlled by the military. And good luck amigo getting your permit approved.
Texas has 6,000 licensed gun dealers and as many loopholes in its laws as a pound of Swiss cheese. I am waiting for Abbott to require all Texans to carry rocket launchers. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, around 3,500 Texans die from guns annually, another 9,000 are wounded at a cost of $24 billion a year — apparently the accepted price for freedom in the Lone Star state.
But, you might ask, if a gun for the average Mexican is almost impossible to obtain, from where do the cartels get all their firepower? Look no further than to the north in states like Texas and Arizona.
Smuggling firearms into Mexico is about as hard as smuggling drugs into the United States. And we all know how successful the war on drugs has been. As long as there is a demand there will always be a way. We Yankees will always need our drugs; Mexican bandits will always need our weapons. Call it a perverted version of NAFTA.
American Guns in Mexico
Here is how guns make their way into our neighbor to the south: allegedly. Pure conjecture on my part. Don’t quote me. Anyway, let us assume you are a US Border Patrol agent earning around $45,000 living in Laredo, Texas, and a guy from the Gulf Cartel sidles up to you in your local bar.
After buying you a Modelo he offers you 10 grand to not search a certain semi-tractor trailer moving south through a certain border checkpoint at a certain time. Oh, and by the way, he compliments you on your nice house, your pretty wife, and your cute children. He even knows their names.
What would you do, amigo? Run to the sheriff, who might or might not also be on the cartel’s payroll? Besides, what business is it of yours if the cartels have another 100 or so AR-15s? Let them kill each other, right? Kids need braces, and a vacation to Cabo would be nice.
Here in the US, we are also killing our own, especially our children.
A recent research letter from the New England Journal of Medicine that combed through four decades of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that guns became the leading cause of death among children and teens ages 1 to 19 in 2020.
Guns took the lives of more kids than cancer, car crashes, or drug overdoses — 4,300 in total, a 29 percent increase over the previous year. America, land of the free (Glocks) and home of the enslaved (to the Second Amendment).
Sweet Home Illinois
Back in Texas, formerly known as Mexico, I gobbled my Whataburger and fries in record time while nervously eyeing the other patrons for any sudden trigger-happy movements.
Then I hightailed it out of there to catch a flight back to sweet home Illinois, a Blue state with its sensible Midwest sensibilities, its strict gun laws, and where I was finally out of harm’s way. Well, safe, that is, as long as I stayed in my casa and out of public places.
Golly, it was good to be home.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.