About five AM yesterday, both Mary and I were wakened by a muffled thumping. I thought it might be some wild pigs messing with our propane grill so Mary yelled out the window while I got some shoes on and put the leash on Penny, who was barking and trying to get out the door. Mary said, “I think something’s hung up,” since the noise was so steady.
Flashlight in hand. I cautiously went out to the yard, just in time to hear a loud explosion in the distance. “They’re fighting over in Mexico,” I said as we listened to a major gun battle going on across the lake. Lots of large guns. 20-second bursts of assault rifle type shooting – it was eerie. The shooting went on for about a half an hour.
We are only a mile or two from the border, which goes right down Falcon Lake. The nearby city is more like five or ten miles away.
Our next door camping family is a local Hispanic couple and their kids here for the weekend. I saw him in the morning and oh yes, they heard it. He wAs wondering for a while if they were safe. He told me that he used to take his daughter over to a dentist for her braces, but stopped that about four years ago.
The park staff here is all Hispanic and none of them cross the border. Their concern is that they might be mistaken for the wrong person.
Earlier this week, about 50 at-risk kids were here on an outing run by the sheriff’s department. They rode bikes, went fishing, had two meals and a great time. Several of the adults with the group talked with a friend of mine and described some of their environment: nearly every day, parts of bodies are deposited on the Laredo bridge, the result of the drug wars. About half the kids were orphans, many having lost family in violence.
We don’t need to go to the mid-east to encounter terrorism and kids caught in war zones. It’s right here along the Rio Grande. Yesterday morning’s gun battle, whatever the reason, was just another reminder.
Note: the campground and U.S. side is very safe and at no time have we felt nervous about our safety.