“The Connection” by Kinsee Morlan
Late at night a few weeks ago, during when of my many trips to the refrigerator for a swig of cold water, I thought I saw a face staring into my little kitchen-door window. I did what any girl alone at night would do — froze stiff.
Unlike most Tijuana apartments, mine doesn’t boast the decorative steel bars over every window, so the imagery man I saw, if he had been real, could’ve easily smashed the glass and jumped on in. Compared to my last apartment, which was enclosed by a 10-foot steel gate followed by a locked gate at the stairs and a locked gate at my door, my new apartment is a big piece of Swiss cheese just waiting to be nibbled up by the roaming malvados. And it makes me a tad bit nervous.
But I refuse to be outright scared. I did, however, think about purchasing a bat. See, even I, who has had very little bad experiences in Tijuana over the past two years, am prone to thinking bad things about the county when I hear nothing but a stream of bad things coming from mainstream media.
Yesterday, while driving to the bank, I heard an NPR report about a fashion designer in Mexico City who merges couture with bullet-proof to make something akin to shotgun-safe suede jackets for rich people worried about getting caught in the crossfire between rival gangs.
And a few months before, I had to deal with friends and family members concerned over the travel warning to Mexico issued by the U.S. State Department:
Violent criminal activity fueled by a war between criminal organizations struggling for control of the lucrative narcotics trade continues along the U.S.-Mexico border. Attacks are aimed primarily at members of drug trafficking organizations, Mexican police forces, criminal justice officials, and journalists. However, foreign visitors and residents, including Americans, have been among the victims of homicides and kidnappings in the border region. In its effort to combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed military troops in various parts of the country. U.S. citizens are urged to cooperate with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways.
Mexico is hurting right now, it’s true. There’s definitely some unrest, but the answer isn’t fear or avoidance. The answer, mis buen amigos, isn’t something I or anyone else has figured out just yet.
The only thing I do is write and take pictures. Something you can do is come to Tijuana. Check out my art crew’s latest project and plan a trip in July if you’re looking for something different to do.