December 03, 2006


Mariah Carey doing a beautifully soulful little number. It's from her 1990 debut album & was co-written by her & Ben Margulies. Piano & voice seem to be all that's needed as it works rather well on this track. I have two videos for you. One has better sound but the other is a better rendition. & here are the lyrics. I did this tune once. This young singer was hanging around a band I was in & we'd let her sit in whenever she came out. One night at a jazz club she wanted to do some Mariah Carey & I mentioned I knew Vanishing. Her face lit up, the rest of the guys fled the stage (we had an unlimited tab at the time) & she & I did it. It was one of the most memorable performances because A: I really dug the song & B: babygirl could sing. That made the tune even more endearing to me because there's nothing like working with a truly great vocalist & you tend to remember those occasions when you do. In any case the song is more gospel-ish than bluesy but there are hints of the latter throughout. Carey has a tendency to "over-sing" some of her stuff but the studio track is done quite tastefully. & as you might have guessed it's not a tune about a happy occasion but it's done so well it almost makes you feel good about feeling bad.

The song is about missing a lover who for one reason or another is no longer in your life. This post is about folks who have been disappearing along the Mexican border. You can read about the latest incident over at Irons in the Fire (who caught wind of it over at A Keyboard & a .45) but this has been going on to one degree or another for a while.

A few years back I had a girlfriend who went to Gaudalajara for a few months to study. I had heard about the slight but real enough problem of Americans being kidnapped & held for ransom (if they were lucky) & was concerned about it but luckily nothing ever came of it in her case. While she was down there though her grandmother called one day to see how I was getting along. She asked what I was doing & I calmly replied "planning an invasion of Mexico". She laughed & told her husband what I had said. Her husband grabbed the phone & asked what happened. I told him nothing I was just trying to be prepared. He said that was one reason why he didn't mind me living with his granddaughter even though I was a hillbilly & to pick him up when I figured out when D-Day was. His wife got back on the phone still laughing at the way she thought we were joking around but neither one of use was kidding. He was one of the first SeaBees in WW2 & knew about the less than safe reputation Mexico had so he'd have been more than willing to tag along to protect his granddaughter if anything came up.

Mexico is notoriously anti-gun. It's a felony to be caught with a single round of ammunition if you don't have the right paperwork & except for hunting excursions they usually don't grant the required paperwork to foreigners. There are a lot of places like that & some of them even claim to be part of the united States. But oddly enough Mexico's very strict gun control laws don't seem to stop those with harmful intent from being armed.

I grew up in a pretty rough neighborhood & while I'm not an idiot (despite the opinion of most folks who know me) I'm not overly concerned with any specific area. The qualms I have about going to places that forbid the possession of arms are mainly economic rather than safety oriented (why should I spend money in their city/state/country when they don't allow me to protect my damn self?) but for other folks I don't recommend going to such places even if they don't carry themselves. If the local criminals aren't worried about the possibility of being met with effective violent resistance then I assume they're not as cautious or genteel in their approach to crime. don't misunderstand - a robber in the most gun friendly place on earth is just as dangerous as a robber in gun control central; it's just that in the latter type of place they'd probably be more numerous & more emboldened.

In the incident mentioned at Irons in the Fire comes from this Star-Telegram story. A group of 30 to 40 armed men rode into a hunting ranch & kidnapped 5 people. I presume the victims were armed or had reasonable access to arms, although I'd also assume that it was either a shotgun or a bolt action rifle. I assume this because the Rancho la Barranca web site mentions that use of a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun for doves or a .270 rifle for whitetail is included in the price. Since it never mentioned anything about helping with the paperwork if you wanted to bring your own smoke pole then I assume it's discouraged.

So let's be generous & assume that they weren't single shot shotguns. Either double barrel shotguns &/or pump actions & bolt action rifles were on the premises.

This Houston Chronicle story gives a little more detail. It happened about 8 p.m. Sunday & the men were out hunting for deer. One of the abducted was a cook so I don't presume that all of them had arms on them. But at least 2 men had .270 rifles & two men knew the terrain. The ranch covers 6.500 acres.

What I'm getting at is that although they were outnumbered they could have put up a nice little fight. Even at 2 against 40 (if the ranch operators had been unarmed & taken the rifles from their customers to use) the victims had an advantage; they knew the ground. Their position may have been defensible but it doesn't seem like they put up a fight. I assume they saw the numbers & relented to the math, or thought a bolt action was no match for what were presumably AK's. I believe it was the Late Col. Cooper who said that you're never outgunned if you don't miss but they may have had very solid reasons for not trying to resist. It'd be nice to have more information but what can you expect when you rely on journalists?

Personally I'd rather take on 30 to 40 people in a large outdoor area than 2 or 3 in close quarters. You have more room to maneuver in the outdoors & if you have enough distance between you & them then accurate intermittent fire can do horrible things to your opponents moral. If you have a buddy to work with you then that's even better as it divides their attention & you both may very well take out a disproportionate number of them before either one of you gets hit. But that's arm chair commando-ing at its finest. Without all the details of the situation (for instance if they only had 10 rounds between them for the rifle) then I really can't say they did the wrong thing by not resisting. Though again speaking for myself if I'm out on my property & 30 or more armed thugs roll up I'd assume I was going to die anyway & invite some of them to come with me. Who wants to live forever anyway?

An interesting aside from the Houston Chronicle article:

"The U.S. law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity said it does not appear that the abducted men had any connection to ongoing turf wars that have killed hundreds of people in Mexico this year." (emphasis mine)

The good news is that 2 of the men have been released & are alive. The bad news is that 3 are still being held & 21 other kidnappings in the past 2 years along the Mexico-Texas border have not been resolved. The reason given for the increase in violence is an escalating turf war between two Mexican drug cartels. The Mexican government is widely known for being corrupt so it's doubtful that even if things were stable in Mexican politics that little attention would be given to the problem.

The moral of all this is to avoid Mexico if you can. If you can't or just really don't want to avoid Mexico then be very careful. & if you're close to the border even in relatively gun friendly Texas be careful just the same.

Posted by Publicola at December 3, 2006 06:55 AM | TrackBack

I like Carey's voice very much, when I first heard her soprano,I even didn't beleive this is SHE singing!Bravo!I like her!

Posted by: Julya at December 4, 2006 06:23 AM