In June, a 25-year-old Mexican girl was raped and killed on the beach, in spitting distance from my tattoo shop. Within a few hours her name came out and people found out what her Instagram was. I looked at it and saw her smiling big with her backpack on, saying how excited she was to be going on her first solo trip. Another one of the photos was her in a bikini, taken at a local waterfall, she wrote that she had to stop taking photos because some local creeps were perving out on her.
The morning of the murder my wife and I were walking our dog on the beach and we saw our friend Gabi with her dog. When we got closer, she asked us if we had heard what had happened? There was a dead body there, a tourist. She pointed, and we saw a white tarp with a couple of cops sitting around it on some driftwood. I was nervous our dog was going to run over there. We walked past it and couldn’t help but look. The cops looked like they were just hanging out.
“That’s someone’s daughter under there, and her family has no idea,” Giulia said. We walked down the beach, throwing rocks and sticks for Shoki to chase. We talked about what might have happened. Was it an overdose? If she was killed would they catch the killer? What would the crime scene look like if it was in the US? We talked about the town and the violence that seemed to be ramping up. When we walked back by, around an hour later, they were still there. Sitting around her body, laying in the sand, under the heat of the Tropical sun.
As the day went on, different stories started to circle around. Everyone was curious. It was tense. One girl had escaped, she had been dragged down to the water and someone tried to drown her, she got away and ran to get help. A police officer refused to go on the beach because it was high tide and he didn’t want to get his shoes wet and he wouldn’t let her use his phone because it was his private phone. Some locals came to the rescue and caught one of the guys and beat the shit out of him. The other escaped. Later on in the day, he was caught and a video was posted of him, incoherent and beat up, being put into the back of a truck.
Men talked about setting up vigilante groups and beach patrols; if the police wouldn’t protect the community, then the community would have to protect itself. Women talked about what it was like to be female in this place, and in the world itself.
I’m reading a massive book right now titled The Story of Civilization, it’s an old book, published before Gandhi liberated India from England. One thing is clear throughout it, mankind has the ability to do great and/or horrendous things. Reading the history of civilization is like reading the script from Game of Thrones, all the evil shit in that show, it’s in this book. It’s history.
We are more refined now, we have more information, regulation, and laws; individuals and authority figures are held more accountable than at any time in history because of technology and the world wide web. But evil still exists and given the opportunity, it still flourishes.
Two months before Maria was killed here, a young man was dragged out of a bodega in the Bronx, and killed, hacked with machetes and stabbed multiple times. The whole thing was caught on video for everyone to see. I watched it because I’m an idiot. I didn’t need to see that and I hope that his family never watches it. I thought about these two young kids and how their lives ended so abruptly. Sometimes tragedy just seeks people out, for no reason, except that fate deemed it so. Tragedy is always there, waiting in the shadows, you just never know when it’s coming, or for who.