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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This Is Normal

"Blam, blam, blam, blam."

The sound of a large caliber pistol rang out just before dawn a few weeks ago.  Interspersed in these shots was the, "pop, pop, pop" of a smaller caliber pistol.

A couple of minutes later, Linda said, "what was that, the shootout at the O.K. Corral?"

"Opening of duck season," I replied.

"We're not in Wisconsin!" she noted.

We asked around about the noise over the next few days.  Of course, the bawaab knows everything.  But we needed good English.  The neighbors have the English skills but were a bit slow to gather details.  The ladies of the house reassured Linda that "this is normal, now."

A few days later, my neighbor assured me that the problem was just some thieves with a truck trying to steal some iron re-bar from a nearby construction site.  Local people with guns were firing in the air to scare them away.  "This is normal."

I must admit that knowing it was just good guys warning off the bad guys is reassuring.  My neighbor who travels extensively in Africa for work points out that here, people don't shoot to kill.  In Mombassa, they do.  I guess everything is relative.  I offered the observation that they also shoot to kill in Chicago.

I thought of this last night while reading this article about an evening in Reynosa, Mexico.
“There were four trucks filled with bodies that (members of organized crime) picked up,” the official said. “That is not counting the (bodies) that were left behind.”
Then, there is also this article from the StarTribune about two people being shot at a funeral vigil in Minneapolis.  I'm going to ask around here to see if anyone has ever heard of a shooting at a funeral.  I'm betting no.

We have been out and about on both sides of the river over the past week.  And out in the country as well as in the city.  The only signs of "unrest" are to be found in the many lines of truck drivers waiting hours for diesel fuel.  There seems to be a lot of concern about cutting in line and people who may be filling containers for resale.  This Washington Post article captures the flavor, as does this article from the Gulf Times.

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