Saturday, June 05, 2010
murder on the willamette
The headline in Friday morning's newspaper caught my eye.
"Arrest made in year-old Salem slaying: Suspect and his brother both found in Mexico, will face extradition."
If the word Mexico shows up in a story I will read it. But this is the type of story that always causes me to wince. Stereotypes writ large.
The story is far too familiar. Two young men get in a dispute. A gun appears. One young man is dead.
That is what happened here. A year ago.
Three young men were sitting on a park bench. Neither police reports nor newspaper stories tell us more. But along comes another young man. There are words. Meaningful words? We don't know.
The three virtuous young men think the interloper has gone. They were wrong. In one case, dead wrong.
The interloper pulls out a gun. Starts shooting. Three men are down. One never to get up again.
The shooter disappears like an exiled citizen of Verona. Civil blood making civil hands unclean.
And that is where the tale would have ended -- where a grieving mother believed the tale would end. But the final act had not yet been staged.
The shooter was found. In Mexico. In Zamora, Michoacán, to be exact. Home to an unfinished cathedral. And, apparently, an unfinished murder investigation.
Now begins the long process of extradition to Oregon. With its attendant anti-capital punishment demonstrations. (Despite the fact that Oregon is not Texas.)
If the victim's name had not been Montez and the shooter's name had not been Garcia, I may not have noticed the story. From the newspaper story, it appears both boys were American citizens. The shooter headed south merely because he could find sanctuary. Michael Corleone on the move.
There is talk of the shooter being a gang member. He certainly has a long list of criminal convictions -- even if he is merely a free-lancer.
What bothers me is the number of my friends who commented on the story. All with almost the same line. "I'll bet you won't want to go back to Mexico now. Lots of violence."
Never mind that the incident was between two Americans. And it happened in Salem -- not Salamanca.
We bloggers rehash the numbers about how Mexico is safer than most places in The States. There is violence and crime -- in some areas, far too much. But I always feel safer in Melaque than I do in some American towns. Certainly its larger cities.
So, what do I do with this story? I can blog about it, of course. And I can set people right when they get their analysis wrong.
Other than that, I can't do much.
What I can do is head to safer harbors in Mexico as soon as I finish my Oregon chores.