Friday, June 18, 2010

Deadly Encounters


Never would I have believed that I'd be defending my life in my own country against invaders. But it's been happening.

I've been in the Chiricahua Mountains quite a bit this last spring getting a feel for the area so that I know what I'm talking about when I write the upcoming chapters in my third, and final(?),Jake Silver Adventure, Canyon of Death. The book could not be more aptly named, that's certain. A few times I've wondered if my own death might not transpire here.

Twice I've come back to my campsite to find it ransacked and mostly destroyed. Food and water are always missing. Clothes, too, even though I'm a big guy and I think the raiders probably aren't. My truck, an older one, has been broken into but not stolen, although I do have a busted out window. Partly this is because I have a unit on the old thing that requires a special plug to get the engine started. If someone tries to mess with it, or hot wire it, the whole thing automatically shuts down. Fortunately, I had a hunch and have been carrying all my proof of insurance, vehicle registration, etc. in my saddle bags. My horse trailer's even been searched. Nothing in there but some extra rope, tack, and a camp chair. No one seems too interested in that stuff.

I've left the area for now, mainly because the other night I heard a running gun battle that sounded pretty close by that lasted a good hour. I'm outta here for a few weeks. I may stop again on my return from Ruidoso, and I'll certainly return in October for my signing at the Rex Allen Days, but in the meanwhile, it's getting damned ridiculous down here.

I've been armed the entire time and have mostly seen what looks like youngsters hurrying along. I'm not interested in shooting anyone unless they shoot first. These travelers looked like kids afoot running away from home. I hear what sounds like jeeps and trucks occasionally rumbling over the dusty roads at night. I never see headlights, so I can only assume they are people who shouldn't be there.

I've seen a few border patrol vehicles - not a lot though compared to the other traffic. Fortunately, these border patrol guys are better armed than I am, but I suspect they are greatly outnumbered by the invaders.

It's been difficult working on the book down here and I suddenly realized the other day it's because I'm constantly stressed about the possibility of deadly violence occuring at just about any moment.

Meanwhile, I'm back to civilization and pestering my publisher here at Moonlight Mesa Associates. She's threatening to take out a life insurance policy on me if I head back down that way.

The bottom line is, the border has got to be controlled, pure and simple. There are deadly incursions onto American soil by people coming from Mexico. There are gun battles taking place between drug cartels on Arizona soil. I was ambivalent about the SB 1070. I no longer am. This is my country, my state. They need to keep the hell out of it or suffer the consequences.

I'm sure this area now is as lawless as it was back in the day that I'm trying to write about. Most interesting that this is what it's reverted to.