Don Alejo Garza Tamez RIP
Last night I received a call from a friend that lives in Monterrey Mexico.
We talked for a long time about the continuing violence in Mexico.
We spoke about the courage that an elderly businessman man who had stood up to the Zetas a drug cartel...
Here's the story -
A few weeks ago a Nuevo Leon, Mexico (just south of McAllen, Texas) businessman Don Alejo Garza Tamez was killed at his ranch in Güemez, Tamaulipas.
This story never got much press in the US but because of the circumstances, it is still being widely reported throughout Mexico.
Don Alejo died resisting an attack by the cartel known as Zetas, who tried to strip him of his property.
A ranch home he had worked to build over a 35 year period.
Garza Tamez, was a tough 77 year old man originally from Allende, Nuevo León and partner with his two brothers in a family lumber business called "El Salto."
They say that he was murdered at aprox. 05:00 a.m. on November 14th, inside his country home.
He died repelling several groups of men who attacked him with high caliber assault weapons and fragmentation grenades.
His family said that the businessman was an avid hunter and was in possession of a collection of hunting weapons.
His weapons were an assortment of shot guns, 22 caliber rifles and a 45 cal. hand gun which he used in vain to defend his life and property.
His ranch is located 12 miles east of Ciudad Victoria (150 miles southwest of McAllen, Texas)in the jurisdiction of Güemez.
Don Alejo had told his family and his ranch hands that he had received several threats weeks earlier.
The threats he knew were not to be taken lightly, especially coming from a violent cartel (I assume they were the from the infamous cartel known in that area as "Los Zetas," who are former para-military Mexican soldiers).
They had been threatening to take his ranch and his land by force, and just like other ranchers in the area, he had been told him to vacate his.
He had worked very hard for almost 35 years to build his humble working ranch.
He had to the end worked hard to have a weekend get away for his family and grandchildren.
Last Sunday Don Alejo decided to stay and confront the attacking gunmen.
He ordered his workers and their family to leave for the weekend.
No one but Don Alejo knew that they had called and told him that they were coming for his keys that weekend.
The attack began before day break on November 13th.
He fought valiantly before being felled by the hail of bullets and several grenades.
All that was left were perforated walls, shattered windows and pans, and a damaged stove and every room and its furniture chipped by shrapnel.
To his credit he was able to mortally wound four of the sicarios (assasins) and wounded two other who had also participated in the attack.
The soldiers and police showed up too late to assist Don Alejo in his defensive counter attack.
The remains of this beloved and respected Don Alejo Tamez Garza were turned over to his family by Ciudad Victoria authorities early the next Monday morning.
He was finally laid to rest in Monterrey, Mexico the following Sunday.
I am an ex-military man but can't fathom someone even attempting to do battle against an aggresor with a high caliber assault weapon, much less the group of 15 to 20 men that he went against with little more then his shotguns, faith and courage.
Yes Don Alejo, showed alot of courage, an amazing show from an honorable man who made the biggest decision of his life - that one being to stand up to some thugs, eventhough he must have known it would cost him his life.
The past three years have made it obvious that the Mexican government is not capable of protecting its own citizens.
I've written several letters to the Mexican President, Senators and politicians I've met and have pleaded for changes to current federal gun law possession in Mexico.
Changes to weapon laws that will permit Mexican citizens to own weapons, get trained on how to use them responsibly and be able to defend themselves if the need arises.
Currently there are very tough gun laws that will send anyone in possession of a high caliber weapon to prison for ten years.
Making it illegal to own anything other then a hunting or sports shotgun.
Until these changes take place there will never be a level playing field for the decent citizens of Mexico to defend themselves, their loved ones or their property.
I have seen first hand the battle zones and insecurities that most Mexicans are now living through.
The cartels it is estimated now control approx. 40% of the municipalities in Mexico, and 12 mayors have already been murdered this year.
In Cd. Juarez alone the situation is so bad that 44% of the businesses have closed and over 180,000 of its citizens have fled the city.
A recent newspaper survey from "El diario de Juarez" recently confirmed that 80% of their Mexican citizens said that they were afraid to leave their homes.
Anyone living in the US couldn't, wouldn't and not even for a second accept living like this.
A more important question is what kind of government would allow their country and its citizens to live like this?
Mexico needs more Don Alejos.
To Don Alejo his Mexico was worth defending.
To Don Alejo his ranch and his Mexico were worth dying for.
Don Alejo sacrificed his life for a principle and his right to keep his ranch, his honor and heritage.
He did it because he stood for something that he felt was worth dying for.
He knew that even if there was a miniscule chance of repelling the attack then it was certainly worth fighting and living for!
I saw this quote written by another honorable man and it brings Don Alejo's courageous stance into clearer focus:
"Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself."- William J. Bennett
Make it a dia of prayer for our neighbors to our south.