Spring at the Border was coming together. A personal renaissance was brewing its smoke inside of me once again. I had just visited a despicable academic conference in the western States, and had sworn to never attend one of those scam productions ever again. I had learned a valuable lesson. I decided to celebrate my recent wisdom, and my recent attainment of a useless PhD degree in six years, by visiting a US-Mexican border town – but on the Mexican side.
I had always loved the explorations of North American border cultures, the wild Mexican culture meeting the Empire of ‘Gringolandia.’ I had Mexican friends that lived in the same border town and I could hang with them – and which was what I did. I was partying every night and loving the street life and struggle around me. I even felt compassion for the Mestizo tourist touts and lowlifes that hung around the center of town just to harass the gringo visitors. With all the fleeting happiness that I had felt, I had also forgot an important truth to life. The world in which we must survive is also evil, bad, unjust, hypocritical, criminal and brutal.
Then Sunday came, and even in the wild Mex-Border Town, most everything was shut. I soon found an open cafe with wireless Internet, and saw a Mexican couple sitting inside too. It was near the hostel I was staying at – but the street was eerily deserted. I spent some hours sitting in there enjoying my Internet browsing and nursing my latte coffee drink. I was loving life in code white.
And then towards the end of the afternoon, a criminal vermin sprinted into the cafe quickly and suddenly. I saw the Mexican couple startled when he pointed the gun at them, and then the scum pointed his gun at me.
My adrenalin went into overdrive. Everything slowed down. I carried a knife on me during that period, but I was so stunned physically and mentally that my body moved slowly and roughly. I got up from the table, and the excrement threatened again to shoot me. He ran off with my laptop and the laptop of the Mexican couple. I had just bought that laptop from a web designer too.
And then I had a terrible realization, both of my back up flash drives were connected to the same laptop during the robbery. I understood that I had lost a few personal documents forever. I made a major system backup some six months previous – but six months is a long time. I horribly lost a personal journal that I had written in both English and Spanish. My only consolation was that both backup flash drives had most of my personal documents encrypted. I began to cry. The local Mexi-police arrived, and like usual, did nothing. I walked back to my lonely room in the hostel and entered a world of desperation and excruciating mental trauma. I had to talk with my Mexican friends about such a horrifying incident.
My Mexican friends consoled me, but they also spoke the truth to me. I should not have visited that border town. Border towns are just too dangerous to visit these days. I was a foreigner and I was even more of a target than they were. And they were completely right.
In Mexico, the foreign visitor cannot defend him or herself either. I was totally disarmed during the encounter. According to the ‘Law,’ only the government thugs-narcos have permission to carry weapons and use them on civilians. Americans carrying guns in Mexico can expect a lengthy prison term nowadays. But even if I had a gun on me, with all of the adrenalin dope running up and down my body and soaking my brain, I probably would not have been able to use the weapon properly during that awful situation. In truth, I shouldn’t have been in that cafe on the deserted street corner, and most importantly, I shouldn’t have been in that border town. I had experienced another horrible life warning – never again to forget. Self-defense is not so much about fighting, but awareness.
A lot of gun guys on the Internet love to boast their ‘tough guy’ credentials, such as ‘try prying my gun out of my cold dead hands, or ‘better being judged by twelve, then carried out by six,’ and other macho-male cowardly crap. These Internet liars are a terrible danger in American gun culture. And it is not just the boasting gun guys. I have heard pseudo-alpha male bullshit coming out of the martial arts black belt dudes, saying how they could rip a gun easily out of some criminals’ hands, or that they could have easily gotten behind the perpetrator and broken his neck. Yeah right. Too many of us gun owning citizens have been listening to and reading such nonsense.
Self-defense is real. But it begins and ends with mental awareness – not doing rolls on the karate mat or even doing weapon live fire once per week. Mental awareness is actually the hardest skill to master, but without any mental discipline, all of our martial physical practices are useless. Sun Tzu, the ancient philosopher, in his Art of War, mentions this discipline.
The first practice and discipline of Mental Awareness implies living our day-to-day lives in code yellow – not code white. Code white has our minds distracted, in fantasy la-la land, and preoccupied over mental garbage. Code yellow keeps our minds in mindfulness, aware of our breathing, walking, sitting, listening, seeing, sensing-analysis of our immediate environment, and most importantly, where our ‘go-to weapon’ is – in case of emergency.
The second practice and discipline of Mental Awareness forces us to analyze our common choices and actions. Principally, we have to understand what social group we fit into. We all fit into some social class distinction. Being honest works.
Do we outwardly represent college educated young people with middle class tastes? Then, we should not do a nighttime partying venture into the rough side of an urban cauldron where young, lumpen class gangbangers, street hustlers and desperate muggers proliferate. Nor ought we to set foot into the biker bar, cowboy bar or the redneck bar for some ‘slumming fun.’ Does the bar have a reputation for fighting and brawling, or does the cafe or restaurant feature the regular visits of our personal enemies or ex-whatevers – inclusive of their jealous boyfriends and girlfriends? Then we need to visit another cafe or restaurant in town. We do have choices in life – and we need to make the intelligent ones. This basic survival guide goes for whatever neighborhood, city, region, land or country that we visit.
The third practice and discipline of Mental Awareness implies practicing our Civil Rights Duties against the cop gangs. Some of us have seen the videos of heroic citizens defending their rights at police encounters, police traffic stops and at uniform checkpoints – but if we don’t practice our rights regularly, and inside the privacy of our homes, then we will not feel ready for our own future donut cop encounters. We are all perps now.
Experiencing the sudden presence of an Amerikan donut cop is quite scary. It prompts the same ‘hunted feelings’ as dealing with a criminal attack: our adrenalin energy immediately spurts into the red zone. Cops know this, and so they try to get us to talk and blabber. This is the worst thing we could do. Even the slightest comment could legally incriminate us.
We must ask the police officer, if ‘we are free to go,’ and if not, then ‘invoking our rights to remain silent and asking to speak to our attorneys.’ If the donut wants to search our bodies or our vehicles, then we need to make clear to the law enforcement officer that ‘we do not consent to any searches.’ Practicing these imaginary scenarios at home will make sure that we run a smooth operation against any live encounter with the Amerikan ultimate police gang state. Nervous potential perps also make the cop-gangers nervous. – and suspicious.
The fourth practice and discipline of Mental Awareness implies letting go of the past and a general forgiveness of the bad things people have done to us. Forgiveness does not mean that we need to go out, look for and befriend our past enemies. Instead, we need to understand that the past died within the past worlds. Our pasts no longer exist in our lives. We are different people now and we must move on and live life. If we drag the past with us, then we will fall into frustration, next anger, and eventually, will commit criminal acts – when we begin to think that vengeance matters more than our freedom.
The fifth and last discipline of Mental Awareness is basic knowledge of the laws. Nowadays, living in the infernos of the Amerikan Empire, there are thousands upon thousands of felony statutes: municipal, state and federal. Unlike the old days in the American West, we cannot legally defend ourselves against potential threats, insults to our honor, and even against actual physical threats. After any act of self-defense, including a home invasion, we will probably have to undergo the horror of the American legal system.
State prosecutors have the criminal authority to charge us for attempted murder, or if we are lucky, manslaughter. It all depends on their political whims. The miscreant’s family might want to sue us for everything we own in civil court. Unless we are members of the economic and political elites, we are all slaves to the cruel fiat of the Amerikan legal nightmare. We should never forget that we live inside of an Empire with both the highest prisoner population in the world, and the world’s largest percentage of prisoners to the general population. The Amerikan prison-concentration camp-gulag is always on the prowl to destroy more lives.
Out West, we recount the tragic story of Matthew Shepard. Matt Shepard was a smart, multi-talented university student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and he came from a high social class background. His dad was a respected oil company engineer and his family lived in places like Saudi Arabia.
The kid studied in Switzerland, while he could converse in German and Italian. He could also keep up an intelligent discourse on history, politics and culture, and he had an extensive musical collection. Matt looked different too. He was not athletic, but had a good sense of clothes style and decorum in his demeanor. He was also liberated sexually, or commonly called, ‘openly gay.’
Matt Shepard had his group of friends at university and when they wanted to party, once in a while, they did the drive to the only gay bar and cool dance place in the region – all the way to Ft. Collins, Colorado. In the 1990s, DUI crimes began to inflate and the jails began to open up – even out west, so the three-hour ride back and forth, Laramie-Ft. Collins, became a risky venture.
On the night of October 7th, 1998, Matt Shepard wanted to party, and he was alone at home. He lived in a small apartment near downtown Laramie. Instead of waiting for another night, or just buying some booze from a local liquor store, the smartly dressed, up and coming university graduate, decided to ‘slum it.’ He was going to visit the rough bar in town, the infamous Fireside Lounge – alone and unarmed.
The Fireside was the typical western dive with pin-up ‘girls’ stapled to the walls, sports crap pasted along the rafters, and a taxidermied American Buffalo head over the bar. It was definitely not a drinking place for the likes of Matt Shepard.
The dive attracted the worst sort in town. Also inside, were two trailer living, lumpen class losers involved in petty crime and odd jobs with some criminal history. The two western trash bums noticed the outsider already. The low, bottom-eating crap always notices the differences between their harsh world and the higher class of people. There was ‘something up’ with the college kid at the bar – a fag – a helpless weirdo? Later in the night, they decided to give the kid a ride – and then they murdered him for fun.
We Anarchists that are gun owners need to keep this story, and our own embarrassing experiences, in the file storage of our minds. We are outwardly different, smart, well-read, dignified, artistically inclined, and most importantly, we are open to the freedom around us. A majority of the people on Earth are not into these things. Most two-legged animals tend to fall into the dishonorable victim category, or the prey of life – and they don’t know their victimizers. They don’t like to read, nor do they write letters. They are angry and frustrated about living. Yet, we suffering humans – all have the potential to commit murder.
In truth, we are able to embrace some real self-defense – not martial arts moves and just buying more guns for the sake of buying guns – but instead, maintaining our mental disciplines. We can always stay in code yellow, being mindful, aware, and concentrated when performing daily tasks. We should try to avoid the dangerous snares across our paths: fancy rip-off bars or taverns where the violent come to die, unsafe, unlit areas, menacing situations with nasty people, and locales where our enemies like to hide and lurk. We could also regularly practice our anti-donut cop training, so that we will keep silent and composed when under the glare of the state gangs. As Anarchists, we have the courage in letting go of our pasts, embracing mental freedom – and just moving on. We now breathe, walk and act, while we daily strengthen our minds – the first line of auto-defense techniques.