I’ve been following Ed Calderon for a few months now. This is the first real, in-depth interview I’ve seen with him. I’d love to sit down with him for a while, myself. Everyone needs to listen to this, as long as it is. He touches on the nature and worsening levels of the violence, outside influences, and the superstitions that fuel much of the cruelty. A recent one-star review for Crimson Star, from a reader in the UK, denounced the situation I outlined in that book as “American conspiracy theory.” I’ve run into other people (Larry Correia, JL Curtis, and I had a long conversation with Peter Orullian at LTUE back in February that was a bit eye opening on this subject) who have no idea what’s happening south of the border, not really. They think that the most vicious irregular war on the face of the planet is just racist, xenophobic propaganda from Americans. Truth is, it’s worse than even most of those with an eye on the situation up north realize. Ed Calderon was a cop in Tijuana, starting before Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels. He’s seen the war up close for years, and now he trains
I’ve delved into Mexico a bit in my fiction. The deepest was The Devil You Don’t Know, which not only looked at the overall situation in Mexico, but also the consequences of focusing too much on High Value Targets. We seem to be obsessed with getting the “leaders,” the HVTs. (Not saying that there aren’t people working on “going up the killchain,” but culturally, our focus is always on getting the guy at the top. Whether it was the “Thunder Run” to Baghdad, that was supposed to end the war in days, in a repeat of Desert Storm, or the focus on getting Bin Laden, or al Baghdadi, or El Chapo. The idea seems to be that if you get the guy at the top, then the bad guys will collapse. Except that it doesn’t work that way. It never really has. Capturing and executing Saddam didn’t end the insurgency. Killing Bin Laden wasn’t the end of Al Qaeda. And from the trial of El Chapo, it’s evident that he really wasn’t that important to the Sinaloa Cartel, either. As of this writing, the prosecution and defense have finished their closing statements and we don’t know how it will end.
With High Desert Vengeance going live tomorrow, here’s another sneak peak. Things are starting to get tense in the aftermath of the massacre in Chapter 1. Mario Gomez squinted in the sunlight. It was cool at the moment, but it still felt warm after Transnistria in the winter. He’d been home for a month, but most of that month had been spent watching over Sam Childress as he underwent multiple surgeries. His wounds had been bad, and he still wasn’t ever going to walk again. He rarely showed it, but Mario worried about his comrade. He’d prayed every night for him, either for his recovery, or the strength to cope with whatever came next. It wasn’t something he talked about much. Mario Gomez wasn’t much of a talker. He never had been. He had always been more comfortable watching, listening, and acting than talking. His tendency to silence had been a source of eternal aggravation to his gregarious younger sister, and his propensity for sudden, apparently impulsive action a matter of often grave concern to his more stolid, hard-working father. Only his mother, Cocheta, had really understood him, and even that was an often-unspoken understanding. She had been the only
It is that time again. Time for some High Desert Vengeance gun porn.
Yes, despite launching a new series last month and all the associated work that’s gone into that, Brannigan’s Blackhearts #5 – High Desert Vengeance is coming soon. The preorder should be up shortly. You might remember from Frozen Conflict that Gomez was having some troubles at home. Well, they got worse… Juan Gomez was elbow-deep in the old F-100’s wiring bus when a yell from the house startled him. His head snapped up, cracking his skull on the underside of the hood. He didn’t swear; it wasn’t his way. None of his children had ever heard a word of profanity pass Juan Gomez’s lips, and even fully grown, they were often the targets of his dire glare when they indulged in his house. Even Mario, Marine that he had been. Rubbing his head, he glanced up toward the house. Emilio was standing on the porch, shading his eyes as he stared south, pointing with the other hand. “Dad!” he called again. “Look!” Juan almost didn’t have to. Slowly, heavily, still rubbing the sore spot on the back of his head, he turned and looked. Sure enough, there were three plumes of dust coming up the valley. Coming from the south.
It’s taken a while, but given the milieu of The Devil You Don’t Know, I’ve been interested in seeing Sicario. (It usually takes a while for me to get around to actually seeing a movie.) I’d heard mixed reviews, but given that the trailers for Sicario, Narcos, and Ghost Recon Wildlands, all of which deal with Latin American Narcos, came out right about the same time as The Devil You Don’t Know was released, it got on my radar. I’m not well-known enough to be able to say I set a trend with talking about the Mexican Drug War again, but the coincidental timing was interesting. Anyway, the other night, I gave Sicario a shot. And, as you can probably tell from the title of this post, I didn’t make it very far. It’s bad. The movie opens with an FBI raid on a house in Arizona. Now, the CQB tactics and weapons handling are atrocious, but it’s Hollywood, so that’s kind of to be expected. Annoying, but not necessarily a deal-breaker. It’s the rest of the scenario where the wheels really start to fall off. For all the little cinematography tricks that they use to build up how ominous