As a counterpoint piece to yesterday's blog entry I present this. It's material I received today from Diana Angustias, co-author of my upcoming book The Cockroach Effect.
It shows in Diana's own words, just what can be achieved if you are stubborn in the face of criminal brutality, yet live in a country where there is legal access to firearms.
Our equivalent to Don Alejo is Ingrid Loyau-Kennet. One stood his ground with guns and killed 4 bad guys (and injured 2 more) but paid with his life. The other stood her ground unarmed and told a bad guy he was a naughty person, but survived.
Both are cited by the powers-that-be as "a national hero, representing the indignation and frustration we all had for being helpless".
On November 15 2010, we woke up with amazing news. This time it was commented on TV, radio and newspapers. A 77 years old man had died defending his ranch from Zetas. He was Don Alejo Garza Tamez.
Don Alejo, was born in Allende, Nuevo León, a state close to Tamaulipas. It is a woody place, and his father had a sawmill , where he as well as his brothers used to work since they were kids. He also used to hunt in the forest close the his father’s sawmill and it became his passion, he hunted deer, doves and geese. Soon, he became famous as hunter and for his marksmanship and had a wide collections of weapons for legal hunting and sports.
When they grew up, opened a wood yard in Monterrey, and later, they had branches in some other cities small near Monterrey. On November 13, 2010, 4 men from Zetas visited to demanded him into give them his property. They gave Don Alejo 24 hours the leave it or he would be killed. They already had an agreement with a notary, who would send him all necessary document to give them the ranch “legally”. (something very common in 2010) – I'll give you nothing- he replied, with the diplomacy of a gentleman- and I will be waiting all of you here. Everybody knew he was a man of his word. His word was worth more than a signed contract. Everybody knew it, but Zetas.
The ranch house is located at 23 kilometers at the west on the Linares- Ciudad Victoria road, in Güemez, Tamaulipas, by dam Vicente Guerrero. He had bought this property with his brother when they were young, later on, they divided it, and his brother kept the area close to Corona river. It has easy access to either both states, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.
When zetas left, he paid his workers their salary, thanked them for his work and loyalty, and ordered them to go away from the ranch and did not come back. Don Alejo spent all that Saturday gathering his weapons and bullets, and developing a strategy to face Zetas.
He placed weapons on every window and door in his house. And waited, quietly all night long until they came. The night should be eternal for him, but he was a professional hunter, so guess he had enough patient and courage to do it.
On Sunday, November 14, around 4:00 A.M. almost 30 Zetas got to the ranch and parked In front of the ranch. There were almost 30 men, firing into the air and shouting they would take possession on the property. Probably they expected do not have any problem, an easy surrender, that people in the building went out terrified and with their hands in the air.
But things went different. Don Alejo fired back and soon, every men outside the house began to shot him.
When army got to the ranch, some hours later, the air smelled to gunpowder. The house was partially destroyed by the bullets and grenades and when soldiers got in, they expected to find too many people in there. With the evidence, army was able to reconstruct the scene of crime, Don Alejo himself repelled Zetas. Everything indicates that Zetas fired to him several times, and even though he was severely injured, he continued firing back. It was only by launching grenades, when they could stopped him. But he had already killed 4 men and injured 2, that were found unconscious by the Army. Finally Zetas left because they knew army would go to that place and they couldn’t stay there. Don Alejo’s body was destroyed by the splinters from the grenades
He became a national hero, representing the indignation and frustration we all had for being helpless. After his death, finally the army began to patrol the roads.
There was a moment during 2010, when an uncle asked me if my husband and I had a strategy in case some of us were taken. We didn’t , we haven’t thought about it at all, always expecting not to be kidnapped. But he was right, we should have one. At the beginning, my husband didn’t want to talk about it. You usually do not think about it until it is strictly necessary. We finally agree, that if one of us were taken, we would not pay. Pay a rescue would be like encourage them to continue kidnapping, and there were no guarantee we would be released alive. But when we tried to decide what we would do if one of the kids were taken, we couldn’t continue. We have not been able to end that conversation up to date. I really don’t know what I would do if that happens.