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elcomputo

Oct 22, 2003, 11:33 PM

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Dognappers

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Just when I think I'm beginning to really like SMA and Mexico, I get another jolt of reality. Last Saturday I was walking my dogs along the Perfume River (the drainage canal) on Guadalupe Street. I don't keep them on a leash because it is very difficult to negotiate leashed dogs around light standards in the middle of two-foot-wide sidewalks, through people all over the sidewalk, cars parked across sidewalks, etc. The dogs stay pretty close to me and know to avoid traffic.

I paused to look inside a store I thought might be selling bread (just because a store has a giant "Bimbo" sign and "pan" painted above the door is no guarantee of anything; this place hadn't one crumb of bread). In that instant, some loathesome creature apparently nabbed one of my dogs and took off with her. And this wasn't even a pure-bred anything dog. Just a very nice mutt.

Now I have to post a "reward" (read: ransom) on the radio and post advertising around the area where the dog was snatched. I am not one of the rich gringos of SMA; I am a newcomer and pretty darned poor, like many of the immigrants who have come here. Of course, to the dognappers, the burglars, and the muggers, all gringos are wealthy and worthy targets.

I am finding it increasingly difficult to balance off the pluses of life in SMA (and perhaps all of Mexico) with the minuses. This experience definitely classifies as one of the minuses. Right now, the main things that are keeping me here are that I can afford it and that I have made some very good friends among the English-speaking population. But I am increasingly feeling that I, as a "rich gringo," am a target for the few Mexicans who have no respect for the law and who do not adhere to even basic standards of human decency. And, given the level of police protection here, I am feeling pretty darned vulnerable.

Martin



Carol Schmidt


Oct 23, 2003, 6:47 AM

Post #2 of 27 (3641 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Dognappers

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I am very sorry that happened to you. Can you send me the details privately and I will post a description of your missing dog on the SMA coollist and the Sanmagoo coollist?

Maybe alert SPA and Amigos Animales too, in case the dognapper gets tired of holding your dog and does the right thing and turns it in to a safe organization. They may have other info and contacts as well. If you don't have info on the two groups let me know that too and I'll get it for you. And maybe send this letter to Atencion as well.

Hope you get your dog back soon--did it have a tag with yourp hone number or contact info? Or maybe they're just waiting to see your flyers to see if you offer a reward. Again, I'm so sorry.

Carol Schmidt


elcomputo

Oct 23, 2003, 11:15 PM

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Dognappers

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Thanks. The dog is a mixed breed female, about 50 kilo, long-haired. She's tan with black markings, a black muzzle, and black circles around her eyes. She has a white bib. She was wearing a blue collar with a green rabies tag.

I have attached a photo.

I work as a volunteer at SPA, so they know about the dog being missing. Also, I stuck up some flyers on lamp posts in the area where she disappeared, and I paid to have an announcement made on the radio (I'm told this is where dognappers get their contact information.)

Although I could say, "This is a sad situation but, well, it's just a dog," I must point out I am a believer in the "broken-window" school of thought when it comes to crime. This was the basis for the clean-up of crime in New York City under Giuliani. The theory is that if you leave a broken window unfixed in an otherwise decent neighborhood, the next thing you know, trash is being strewn around. Then grafitti. Then the bad guys know this is an area where the population has no investment in the community and that it isn't well policed. Crime escalates.

With trash all over the streets, burglaries going uninvestigated, drug trafficking rife, alcoholic and abusive parenting not uncommon, gangs invading homes and businesses, and many more dysfunctional symptoms, SMA is a shining example, I think, of the broken window syndrome. Today, it's a dog that's snatched off the street. Tomorrow, it could be a gringo kid -- especially one whose parents are known to be rich. Frankly, I think we've got a potentially volatile and serious situation here, and that so many of us gringos are simply sticking our heads in the sand. Very many of us are old and easy targets, ripe for the picking. How long before the local hoods realize it would be very easy to bring a Mexico City situation to SMA?

I am not afraid. But I do not want to live in a town with a seige mentality, no matter how pretty it may be.

Martin
Attachments: darcy.jpg (2.81 KB)


Carol Schmidt


Oct 24, 2003, 11:56 AM

Post #4 of 27 (3581 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Dognappers

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I'm putting info about your dog on the SMA lists and hope someone will know something. I have no idea what you are talking about with this "seige mentality"! I lived in LA for 18 years and there I had a definite seige mentality.

I was robbed or burglarized five times in four years. In one of the robberies my partner was hit on the head as she came in the door and interrupted the thieves, they shoved her against a wall mirror which broke and left her bleeding and unconscious, and they left. When she came to she called 911 and was put on hold. About 45 minutes later the police came and nearly shot her! They told us nothing could be done, it was just before Christmas and gangs of thieves were robbing everybody of their Christmas presents.

And then there was the murder in our back yard while we were vacationing--we didn't know about it until two weeks after we were back, it was such routine. The Hillside Strangler dropped one of the bodies on my hillside, and the Night Stalker was known to roam the hills of Mount Washington where I lived a few years later and there was speculation he'd slept in my garage.

We'd come home at night and there would be police helicopters circling overhead, shining beams of light down into our back yard, and we wouldn't dare even go inside, we'd go off to Denny's for another couple of hours and hope thep olice caught whoever they were looking for. There would be a whole string of bullet holes in a car on the street nearby, that hadn't been there the afternoon before. Coyotes ate our cats.

And then there were the kidnappings of children for sex and murder, not just ransom--I'd feel a bit better if a kid of mine were kidnapped for ransom than if the police had to issue an "Amber Alert" because a known sexual predator/murderer was working my neighborhood. Kids disappeared by the dozens in LA, never to be heard of again.

I didn't dare look somebody in the eye passing them on the street because thieves would size up a potential victim by eye contact, friendliness, helpfulness. You weren't supposed to even tell a stranger the time because those who did were most likely to be robbed or raped--women who had "helper" jobs like secretary or nurses' aide were far more likely to be nice to a stranger and then get raped.

Here I look everybody in the eye, say "Buenos Dias" with a smile, and only occasionally have to think about where I am putting my purse (not by the window in El Correo where a passerby once snatched somebody's purse). I walk home late at night with nary a fear. I do carry my little dog if I go on the street because a stray dog might come by and attack her, but that's better than being attacked by a coyote with no fear!

I grew up in Detroit, talk about seige mentality. I was in the middle of the 1967 riots and got shot at by the National Guard one night when they heard my typewriter clicking--luckily I was bebehind a wall in another room.

So please don't overblow SMA's crime!

Carol Schmidt


lbc

Oct 24, 2003, 1:31 PM

Post #5 of 27 (3568 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Dognappers

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siege


D.G.

Oct 24, 2003, 1:34 PM

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Re: [elcomputo] Dognappers

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I too am sorry about the loss of your dog, but think that something similar could happen lots of places. People in my Connecticut community are always missing pets, and many are never found, and this is in a town of way less than 100,000 people.

Oh, and did I mention about the gun battle in Providence, Rhode Island my wife found herself in the middle of when she was driving my kids innocently through that fair city? That was pretty harrowing, and thankfully, nothing happened besides a really scary incident.

I guess the short of the long of it, is that crime unfortunately is something that happens when you have people around. Its never pleasant, but you have to think about all of the positive things that have happened to you too, and not let the negative things eat you up.

If this is the most unfortunate thing that has happened to you, I'd say you were blessed.

And you may still yet, get your dog back.


gpk

Oct 25, 2003, 8:19 AM

Post #7 of 27 (3534 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Dognappers

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Let's not forget that it was ENTIRELY your fault for not keeping your dog on a leash--which notonly prevents dognapping but also dog bites and dog "doody" where it doesn't belong!


elcomputo

Oct 26, 2003, 10:08 PM

Post #8 of 27 (3484 views)

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Re: [gpk] Dognappers

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Thank you, GPK, for those kind and understanding words.


elcomputo

Oct 26, 2003, 10:53 PM

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Dognappers

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Well, I am not trying to convince anyone else of what I feel are potential dangers of living in this town or nation. (I assume you don't live in my neighborhood at the end of Orizaba where, in just the past three weeks, the walls have blossomed with layers of gang grafitti.) I have finally gotten the point that you don't make negative remarks about a place to people who have chosen to make it their home. I see a problem here, you don't.

I know there are people in Los Angeles, too, who think it's the greatest place in the world. I don't. And I would not convince them otherwise.

Your comparison of SMA with L.A. and Detroit is apt. I lived in different parts of L.A. for more than 25 years. I had one home invasion. I lived through both the 1967 and the 1992 riots. There were many things I did not like about L.A., and the palpable growing hostilities between groups and between individuals there, as well as the increasing distance between people, the growing inhumanity, the deterioration of neighborhoods, and the crime were high among those things. I was glad to eventually escape the place.

But this incident with the dog is just one of several that have left me shaken here. It seems that, in the six months since my arrival, for every good thing that has happened, there has been an offsetting negative. Not all of them, of course, have to do with crime. Yet, just before I moved into my house, it had been burglarized -- by the nextdoor neighbor, no less. The police made only a cursory investigation. Then, about a month after that, I had my wallet stolen. Now, worst of all, it's my dog.

I'm afraid I am an unrealistic optimist. I came to Mexico thinking I would be relieved of financial problems that burdened me in Texas (and, for the most part, I was). I thought that I could pursue some things I had long wanted to do but could not because of the demands of earning a living (and I have). And I thought that any problems I faced would be minor ones. On that count, I was too optimistic and very wrong. I have not enumerated the problems I've encountered in Mexico that do not involve crime, but they have been many and troubling.

But crime worries me the most. I am not living in fear for my life here. I just think that encountering criminal activities three times in six months is definitely not a good sign and could bode ill for what could happen in the future. I have checked with some people who used to live in Mexico. They confirmed that they left because things in general (not just crime) just seemed to be getting worse, year by year.

And let's face it, a prime reason for moving here, for me and many others, is that the living is more affordable here (not as affordable as it used to be, but still better than most places up north). It's more affordable largely because labor is cheaper, and that's true because wages are low and jobs are scarce. People are poor and getting poorer. What's a prime indicator for growing crime? Growing poverty. Mexico's rate of homicide has gone from very low to fifth highest in the world. And that can't all be bottled up inside Mexico City and the border towns.

However, I will attempt to maintain a more positive outlook. I cannot afford to go anyplace else now or in the immediate future, so I will try to make the best of the situation. And carry pepper spray.


Carol Schmidt


Oct 27, 2003, 8:39 AM

Post #10 of 27 (3457 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Dognappers

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Sounds like you feel just as I did when I fled LA. I'm sorry you've had a lot of bad experiences here lately. I hope you get your dog back, at not too great a ransom, and that troubles leave you alone now. You've had more than your fair share.

After 1 1/2 years here, I'm still honeymooning, maybe. But I love it. I used to love LA.

I have an acquaintance here who always complains about the prices here being higher than the U.S. She always cites the Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's as an example, $2.99 for two eggs, four sausage and/or bacon, and two pancakes, as she eats an El Correo breakfast for (I think) 36 pesos that includes eggs, bacon, black beans, bread and butter, orange juice and unlimited coffee.

I remind her that when she adds $1.79 for orange juice and $1.29 for coffee to the Denny's meal, it's more expensive than El Correo, and most of the time when we go into Denny's determined to save money and get the Grand Slam, we end up with a $5.99 or $6.99 breakfast--plus the OJ and drinks for another $3.10, and the tip is higher on this higher amount.

Mexico makes me live more simply, and appreciate what I've got. I can still ignore all the inconveniences as minor because they are minor compared to LA. I can't get the Grand Slam but I can get chilaquiles!

Which countries are numbers 1-4 on murders? I heard that the U.S. rate of murders for a town of about 100,000 is 5 a year. SMA had three in two years and two of those were in the campos and one was between two drunken guys having a fight that got out of hand.

Can you move to another area? Sudden appearance of gang graffiti is not a good sign--in LA we could tell when there would be a major eruption of gang violence when the graffiti got more and more hostile and bold. We didn't dare paint over a 6-foot-tall gang tag on the back of our garage where it faced the alley in Silverlake because the gangs would retaliate--that was an important marker for their territory and so our garage remained graffiti'd all the while we lived there.

Maybe you could talk to the new mayor's newly appointed liaison to the foreign community about the gangs. I can't imagine they are anything like the organized crime and drugs gangs of LA, where there would be 5-7 murders a night sometimes! From what I've read, the gangs in Mexico are wannabes imitating their northern heroes, often spurred by someone who has been in the States in a gang and now wants to bring that culture here. I don't know if this is a big problem in SMA or not--this is the first I've heard anyone talk about gangs here. It's probably three or four guys who will get in serious trouble soon and end up off the streets in that delightful jail down the road.

I empathize with what you're going through and hope no more bad things happen!

Carol Schmidt


Carol Schmidt


Oct 28, 2003, 4:39 PM

Post #11 of 27 (3415 views)

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Internet cafe's bassett hound missing, too

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I was Gigante today and noticed the missing dog flyers on the vet's storefront. A dog I met when it was just a puppy, the bassett hound Montoya which guarded the internet cafe on Hidalgo north of FIA, has been gone since last week. It was so friendly, it would be easy to dognap him, and he sat in the doorstep most of the time where a car going by could take him. He wasn't my dog but I liked him a lot. Maybe there is a dog theft ring going on--there were about five flyers offering rewards for missing dogs on display. But the owners of Montoya are Mexican--maybe considered well to do because they own a store. I am now alert to this problem.

Carol Schmidt


elcomputo

Oct 31, 2003, 12:06 AM

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Dognappers

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As for the people with the Bassett, they should probably do what I am doing. I mean, this is what people have told me I should do.

Kidnappers listen to the local radio station, which announces "lost" dogs on Monday mornings. The cost of running a message is 50 pesos per day. I ran one last Monday but got no calls. I was told this is because I offered only a "substantial reward." The kidnappers are listening for a definite peso figure. That is what I'm running this coming Monday. We shall see what happens.

Incidentally, this also holds true for items that have been lost or stolen. Except wallets or purses containing money, of course. Banditos can get more money for that stereo they lifted from the person they lifted it from than they can get fencing it to a reseller in Queretaro.

Speaking of correo comidas or correo breakfasts, that restaurant on the corner just down from the centro bus terminal on Insurgentes, I believe it was called el Colon, used to have a good breafast for 250 pesos, including coffee and juice. It got a good crowd every morning, a mix of resident gringos, Mexican locals, and some tourists.Yesterday I went past it and the place was gutted and construction people were working in there. Does anyone know if this is going to become yet another tourist shop, or are the restaurant people expanding to meet the demand?

To answer your question about the homicide rates, Colombia has the highest in the world, by a very large margin. Next, I believe, is Venezuela, followed by South Africa and Jamaica. Then Mexico. I believe it would be the big cities, primarily Mexico City, that would account for most of the murders in this country, plus the border towns, and the drug trade would have a lot to do with it. Just the 200+ unsolved murders of women in Juarez over the past couple of years would raise Mexico's overall standing by quite a bit. (And I am betting that if the murders are ever discovered, at least one of them is going to be a policeman.)

One thing that disturbs me about SMA, however, is learning that many youths are coming into this town on the weekend from as far away as Mexico City. Why? Because the town has a terrific bar scene. Not only can they get sloshed in a nice tourist town, but they increasingly have good access to drugs. Three days ago I saw two young American girls completing a deal with a local Mexican youth in broad daylight near the Biblioteca. I don't know what was exchanged, but I'm betting it wasn't breath mints. To be blunt, I think the War on Drugs should be declared a failure and abandoned because all it is doing is forcing dealers and users into ever more criminal activity. Illicit drug dealing is a harbinger of worse things to come.

I have also been told that SMA is a relatively recent discovery for the out-of-town youths. They found out about all the bars here on their way to attending the Cervantino in Guanajuato over the past few years. We know what the Cervantino has become. Can we expect something of the same for SMA?

I am not personally all that worried about my neighborhood being an infamous home for SMA's worst gangs. I think they're all pretty scared of me and my remaining big, black dog. Anyway, the house here is about the best I can afford. And as I said before, when these guys want to do their thing, it's more likely they would do it in a neighborhood more densely populated by wealthier Mexicans and gringos. The worst crime here in the past few months, aside from the home invasion by a bunch from Queretero, was the invasion of that health club down on Sterling Dickenson. The bandits had to know that place was patronized by people who had the money needed to patronize it. And, judging by the massive police response outside my windows following that stick-up, the gang responsible was evidently from my neighborhood.

You are correct about the gangsters kicked out of L.A. being disease carriers down here. I have been told tagging did not exist until it was brought down here. And I talked to an expat on the bus one day who had been a social worker who worked with prisoners in the States. He said he recently bumped into one of his former charges from California down here.

But, frankly, I look at the kids who collect across the street from me, and all I can think is "these idiots will never make it, even as gangsters." They just seem like a bunch of ordinary teen-aged doofuses. So I'm not really all that worried. I just see a potential for greater crime on the part of their older brothers.

However, you are no doubt correct. For the present, the situation here is much better than it was in the L.A. Basin.


esperanza

Oct 31, 2003, 7:43 AM

Post #13 of 27 (3352 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Dognappers

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"Speaking of correo comidas or correo breakfasts..." I think what you mean (please tell me if I'm wrong) is *comida corrida*, which loosely translates to the full-meal special menu of the day, usually comprising soup or salad, an entrée, a starch, and a dessert. Some restaurants also offer these breakfast specials, including juice, coffee, whatever you want for breakfast, and bread.

And golly, if the cost of the breakfast was 250 pesos, no wonder they closed down. I feel sure you meant 25 pesos, no?

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









gpk

Oct 31, 2003, 11:48 AM

Post #14 of 27 (3331 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Dognappers

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El Correo is (was?) the name of a restaurant in San Miguel--but you are right, the price must have been a typo.


Carol Schmidt


Oct 31, 2003, 12:16 PM

Post #15 of 27 (3330 views)

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The internet cafe's bassett hound is back!

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Montoya the bassett hound is back at the internet cafe! I don't know if the owners paid a ransom to get him back or what, but he's back! May you have good news on your dog soon, too.

Carol Schmidt


Ransuzharriman

Oct 31, 2003, 11:05 PM

Post #16 of 27 (3298 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] The internet cafe's bassett hound is back!

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We talked to the owner of the internet cafe == he said Montoya ran off after a lady love, spent a few days at the lady's house, then the lady's owner heard that Montoya had a home and returned him!
Randy & Suzie Harriman
Austin, Texas


elcomputo

Nov 5, 2003, 6:57 AM

Post #17 of 27 (3248 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Dognappers

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Yes. Twenty-five pesos. I'm afraid that, even after six months here, I am still juggling dollars and pesos in my head.


elcomputo

Nov 5, 2003, 7:11 AM

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] Dognappers

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Hi,

Well, my ad ran on the radio, complete with a "reward" of 700 pesos, and I have gotten no reply. After my experience last night, I am thinking the dog was not taken to be held for ransom. I think she may have been taken to be killed.

I had a run-in four months ago with a local hooligan messing with the latch on my front door. Last night, he and two of his gangster friends passed me on the street. They rounded a corner just as I was unlocking my front door. The next thing I knew a rock came sailing from their direction, missing my head by a few inches.

I am now thinking my dog was taken because the thieves knew she belonged to me. I am fearful that she is dead.

It has also dawned on me that much of my negativity toward SMA stems from living in probably the worst part of it. (Though, having had other conversations on this, I have learned there are several neighborhoods that can claim this distinction.) I realize I must move out of this house and find someplace a bit safer -- something with a nice big wall around it. That would give me a better environment for deciding whether I want to continue living in SMA and/or Mexico.

I think that, should I stay in the neighborhood where I am, one of two things will happen -- one of the gangsters will kill me or I will kill one of them. If the latter, I would probably end up in a Mexican jail, given the state of criminal justice in this country. And that, to me, would be worse than death.

So, if anyone can recommend a nice, safe, place to rent that will accept a dog and is priced under $350, please let me know. Colonia San Antonio is okay up toward the Ancha, but where I live, down by the end of Orizaba, it is just plain bad news, and I want no part of it.

Martin


D.G.

Nov 5, 2003, 9:16 AM

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Re: [elcomputo] Dognappers

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Sounds from your description that the missing dog is related to the run-in you experienced earlier. People who throw rocks are not likely to respect much of anything, and you are obviously a target of their hatred. It sounds like to me, this could easily escalate, and moving is certainly one way to try to escape the problem. However, such an action will also signal two things: (1) You are intimidated --which is what they want and (2) maybe they should look for you elsewhere. So, I'm not so sure that problem will go away, by you moving to another part of town.

I'd like to reiterate the advice Carol gave to you to go see the mayor's liason to the foreign community. Seems to me that if you indicate the situation to him, he would have some concrete suggestions about what to do, not only because of his office, but also because he should be able to easily understand that if there are such problems in the resident/tourist community this is a potential problem which has far reaching effects. The main livlihood of San Miguel is built on having a strong tourism base, and without it the city could end up in great financial distress. If I were the mayor or the tourism department, I would be very concerned, and try to control this before it gets even more out of hand.

I don't think this problem is just yours, but is something with much bigger ramifications.


gpk

Nov 5, 2003, 2:43 PM

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Re: [elcomputo] Dognappers

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San Miguel does have "bad" neighborhoods--but the problems seem to arise from the resentment felt by many of the Mexicans because of the relative wealth of the foreign community. I DO mean "many"--this is not an uncommon problem in SMA. Many Mexicans can no longer afford to live or shop in their own town, and many (yes, many) of the foreigners act like the Mexicans are there for entertainment purposes--the old lady selling flowers is not there to provide a Kodak moment, she's trying to eek out an existence.

Yes, move to another neighborhood. Try in the area of Infonavit Allende near the IMSS hospital or in Guadalupe. Both are relatively inexpensive and within walking distance of the Jardin.


Carol Schmidt


Nov 5, 2003, 5:44 PM

Post #21 of 27 (3202 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Dognappers

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From a private reply I sent to Martin:

...I remember how I felt about LA before we moved away--I hated the place, everything was always going wrong. I wrote an article for the LA Times about why I was leaving, and they published it with the headline, "LA: Love it or leave it. She's leaving." I got a whole lot of support, plus a whole lot of angry retorts that I and all the other newcomers of the past two decades should indeed leave, because we were causing all the problems I was writing about.

LA, and Mexico, and just about every other place I can think of, is not for everyone, and sometimes time runs out. I tend to be a seven-year-itch person myself, though right now SMA seems like the perfect spot for the rest of my life.

Carol Schmidt


elcomputo

Nov 8, 2003, 7:58 AM

Post #22 of 27 (3152 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Dognappers

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Yep. I keep putting extra zeros in my peso totals. As for comidas corridas, thanks for the correction. My memory is getting as bad as my counting. I had guessed correos because I was thinking "running meals," as in "this runs every day here." Too much logic, too little memorizing on my part.


elcomputo

Nov 8, 2003, 8:05 AM

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Re: [gpk] Dognappers

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I once got on the wrong bus and went to Mexiquito instead of downtown. This bus passes through Infonavit Allende. It did seem like a nice, quiet area, despite the usual amount of graffiti. How about Mexiquito itself, which is not far beyond Infonavit Allende? And what does "Infonavit" mean? I can't find it in my dictionary.


elcomputo

Nov 8, 2003, 8:27 AM

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Re: [D.G.] Dognappers

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Thanks, though now you're really getting me scared. Thugs tracking me down? I hope not.

You're correct in that they've got a jones on about me personally. But I am the only gringo in this neighborhood, and I'm convinced they would treat any other gringo the same way. They certainly gave no peace to the woman who owns this house and lived here before me. She went so far as to give free English lessons to any local kids who wanted them, yet the local "toughs" constantly insulted her and robbed her house as soon as she left. GPK is correct in stating that most of the people in this neighborhood hate "rich" gringos, even those scraping by on Social Security, which is still much more than they are getting to feed their families of two billion kids. They seem to have the same reaction to a "rich" gringo moving into their poor neighborhood as the average white homeowner anywhere in a middle class neighborhood in the USA would have to a poor illegal moving into his neighborhood.

No, I think if I just get out of this house, I'll be all right. It is a strange phenomenon here as in the States that young criminals and budding criminals seldom venture outside their immediate neighborhoods. I have never seen any of the local hoods downtown, and they certainly don't make regular visits to Los Frailes, at least any time before midnight.

As for giving a sign that I'm intimidated -- well, I AM intimidated. There are a couple dozen gangsters, there's only one of me, and I'm old and don't run as fast as I used to. Besides, what can I do? As they say in the movies, "resistance is futile." Much as I would consider it a benefit to the world to see one of these guys meet the same fate as my dog (why should I be expected to be concerned about the death of a vicious cholo but be unconcerned about the deaths of hundreds or thousands of Iraqi civilians?), it is unrealistic of me to expect to come out ahead on a physical confrontation with one. And that is exactly where this situation is headed, I'm afraid.

It may be a good idea to bring this to the attention of the office of the mayor's representative. I will let him know, but I really don't think it will do any good. What can he do? The best he could do is increase the frequent police patrols through this neighborhood. (Heavy patrols this summer DID significantly reduce the number of kids hanging out on street corners to about zerio.) But that does not eliminate the problem. Crime seems endemic to this community. So much so, that I think the police actually make the problem worse.

I will tell you a story regarding the police. Last week there was a late model pickup truck parked on the small dirt lot next to my house. It had Texas plates, recent Texas inspection stickers, and no tourist sticker. It sat there for three days untouched. It could have been a truck purchased by a Mexican in the States, but it smelled to me of a stolen vehicle. I stopped at the police station and mentioned my suspicions to the head cop on duty. He took down my information, plus my address, phone number, and age -- for what reason he needed this information, I don't know.

It took me an hour to get back home. By the time I got here, the truck had disappeared. Across the street, smirking, was the guy who owned the tienda around the corner and the house next to mine. This is the guy who probably had a big role in the burlary of my house just before I moved into it.

Coincidence? Or had the cop tipped off somebody? Am I being paranoid? Or am I being clued into the real workings of "justice" in Mexico? I think it's the latter, though I may be somewhat biased. At any rate, I know I will never go to the police again for ANY reason. As the two American kids I tutor pointed out to me, look at the arms on the cops. Many of them have gang tattoos. They were cholos themselves and probably still have gang affiliations.


jennifer rose

Nov 8, 2003, 8:28 AM

Post #25 of 27 (3148 views)

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Infonavit

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And what does "Infonavit" mean? I can't find it in my dictionary.


Infonavit is an acronym for "Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores." an entity which grants credit to eligble workers to obtain suitable and adequate housing. More about Infonavit can be found at http://www.infonavit.gob.mx.

Its American equivalent would be a hybrid of FmHA, FHA and the old VA mortgage system.


(This post was edited by jennifer rose on Nov 8, 2003, 8:29 AM)
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