A sad story

I MET SAM about 15 years ago in the aisles of Walmart in the nearby capital city.

He was a decades-long friend of my wife’s, and he became an acquaintance of mine. He was a greater friend of my wife’s sister, the one who lives in the capital city.

Over the years he would unexpectedly show up here at my other sister-in-law’s coffee shop on the plaza for a visit. The capital city is only 40 minutes down the mountainside.

Sam was a union official, which means he did pretty well for himself. He always drove a nice, late-model car, and he owned a lovely home in the capital. He retired about five years ago, but we did not see him more often then. Actually, we saw him less.

Once we had lunch at his home. That was about 10 years ago, I think. Sam’s hobby was raising exotic birds which he kept caged in a glassed-in patio. They provided musical backdrop for lunch that day.

Once, maybe twice, he spent the night at our Hacienda.

When Sam would visit the coffee shop, he often would bring a young man with him. It never was the same young man. Yes, Sam was single for a reason.

Aside from birds, Sam’s other hobby was psychology. He was fond of taking university courses in that foggy discipline. Maybe he was trying to understand himself.

We got a phone call yesterday from a nephew of Sam’s. Sam had been found naked and murdered on the floor of his home. He had been on the floor three days. The police have announced no details, but we know what happened.

He was killed by someone he brought home from a gay bar.

About two years ago, Sam was beaten in his home, and his car was stolen in similar circumstances. Sam invented a story for that attack, but we knew the truth.

I have never personally known a murder victim before now. I have known suicides — three of them — and victims of accidents — about the same number — but Sam is the first murder victim. Sadly, my wife cannot say the same because two of her brothers were murdered decades ago in totally unrelated events. Murder is not rare here.

Sam was 60 years old.

25 thoughts on “A sad story

  1. Murder is just about always sad. I have often pondered the afterlife of the victim. I have uncovered no secrets (yet).
    My limited personal contact with such occasions points to sadness among the survivors who cared for the deceased. I have known two who later took their own lives, unable to accept the grief or adjust to the loss.

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    1. Beverly: I imagine this is more common in gay bars than in straight ones due to the victims’ reluctance to report it here. Robberies, I mean. Murders are something else completely.

      Your comment went to moderation due to a typo in your email address. FYI.

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  2. That’s an awfully sad story. As you say, murder and shootings are not an uncommon event around these parts. Every two or three weeks, our Mexican interlocutor Felix shows up on Monday morning with a story of someone getting shot, stabbed or killed over the weekend, usually during some drunken brawl. One time Felix himself got beat up to hell over something. Another time we brought a wheelchair for a young guy, with a wife and three kids, who was shot and left paralyzed when he tried to stop a fight between his brother and some jerk. After a while you just shake your head and say WTF. Your case is much sadder because you knew the victim. Our condolences to you, your wife and whoever else knew him. Al

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  3. Thursday afternoon, as I was leaving the checkout at Costco, I ran into an elderly German woman I have coffee with. She was looking for the English-speaking assistant manager, thinking he could give her new-found friends, who were poor and uneducated through no fault of their own, jobs. Never mind that Costco requires at least a secundaria degree.

    4 days earlier, two guys from a state in Mexico every Mexican will tell you is rife with criminals, came a-knocking at the door of her very expensive house in a desirable neighborhood. A decade earlier they had been spot labor at some house down the street, and now had no place to live, no family, and no work. And it was cold outside.

    So, she lets them sleep over at her house. Because it was cold outside.

    WTF? But it only gets better. This lady, who is too cheap to hire a maid or gardener, because they might rob her, she says, is now going to let the two homeless guys stay at her house while she and her octogenarian husband go to Ohio for two weeks at Christmas. Right then and there, I exploded, telling the lady this wasn’t going to end well. She was not happy with my reaction.

    I debated all afternoon about what to do. Should I call her son on Ohio and rat her out? Should I just mind my own business? Should I go over to her house and throw the rascals out myself?

    Finally, I called her and gave her a piece of my mind. The assistant manager at Costco had told her the same thing I did, telling her she wasn’t Mother Teresa. I told her, “Look this may cost us our friendship, but I’m just going to tell you what’s what. You can’t let these bums stay at your house. What are you thinking? Did it ever dawn on you that you’re the only non-Mexican house in your neighborhood, that you’re the only non-Spanish speakers, and that these guys have scoped you out? Are you f*cking dumb or what? I’m going to give you the address of three shelters, you’re going to print that out and give it to these guys with 200 pesos, and tell them to hit the road.”

    She agrees to take my advice, but in a few days “because it’s cold outside.” I tell her that there’s no heat wave in sight and that her grave would be even colder.

    I follow up with an email, telling her to change the locks on her house immediately, contract with a security company like ADT, or else cancel her trip to Ohio.

    The next day, I call to check on her. Oh, she read my link, but didn’t give it to the guys, since they’ll be moving in a few days to their vacant, for-sale penthouse apartment across from the Tec de Monterey. They are already moving some beds up there for them. But she will ask them if they would prefer to go to a homeless shelter.

    Oh, their house will be safe, she says, because the guys were sleeping when the homeowners are sleeping, and they haven’t asked for a key to the house.

    I give up.

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    1. That’s close to the stories of Americans hiring a local architect and maestro to build their dream house in Mexico, and instead of sticking around and supervising the project, leave the country and come back nine months later, to find that half the work wasn’t done, the windows are not what they ordered or the hot and cold water pipes were installed backward. You just shake your head. Al

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    2. Ms. Shoes: Your comment’s connection with the post here is kinda sketchy, but it sure is interesting. I know Gringos, or in this case, Germans, can be pretty scatterbrained here, but this one truly takes the cake.

      I think you have reached the most logical solution: Give up and go mind your own business because those folks are beyond redemption. Hard to imagine how they’ve lived this long.

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  4. I live in the gayest neighborhood in North America. I have known lots of very great people of that persuasion. I have no problem with it. I have been aware of the fact that some of them take all kinds of risks that are frankly stupid. You hang around with the wrong crowd long enough and something is bound to happen. Don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry about your friend. No one deserves to be murdered for any reason. You’re right. It’s sad.

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  5. Worse when it’s the children of the ultra-compassionate. Lots of those stories when they just can’t kick out their own flesh and blood who will murder their own parents. The German lady will find out in the long-or-short run, if she lives, the bums will continue to fall on hard times and need a handout and they’ve got her number

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        1. Carole: The way the comments line up on this particular WP theme, it’s sometimes difficult to know. It’s a defect. Actually, I think you responded to the post, not to Ms. Shoes. No matter. As I said, it’s tricky.

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  6. This is very sad, and a story that keeps repeating itself. This type of murder has decreased substantially in the USA as gays have gained acceptance in U.S. society. But in less enlightened places, it’s still quite bad. Yes, Sam took what seems to be an unreasonable risk. Maybe the perp was a hustler. Who knows? Like the police are going to do anything beyond the most minimal paperwork. As those who are actually paying attention know, only about 1% of murders (if even that many) in Mexico are ever solved with the perpetrators brought to justice.

    But all that said, this is also a reflection of wider-scale homophobia which likely prevented Sam from forming an open, long-term, same-sex relationship. So he was pushed to the fringes, and the fringes killed him.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. This kind of story breaks my heart.

    Kim G
    Boston, MA

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    1. Kim: I don’t think homophobia kept Sam from forming a long-term relationship. I think it was a combination of his personality and the fact that long-term relationships are less successful in the “gay community.” Why are they less successful? I believe in part that it’s due to the difficulty of actually forming a family. Gay guys cannot become pregnant, of course, so the only option for children is adoption. (Something I generally oppose, a topic for another day, as it’s said.) Everything is simply more difficult and complicated. Without kids, there is no “family.” It’s just a couple and thus easier to break up. Bottom line is that being gay is not easy. Quite the contrary.

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      1. If there were no homophobia, kids would come out MUCH younger. Families would support their forming long-term relationships with suitable partners. And I think there would be a lot more married or long-term committed gays. So I see homophobia as a root cause of Sam’s predicament. There are plenty of straight people who don’t have kids, but don’t end up with a series of young, unsuitable partners either.

        Now maybe in Sam’s case, he’d never have been the “marrying kind.” But make no mistake. Homophobia harms the gay community immensely, and stories like Sam’s are one of the sad outcomes of this.

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  7. Straight or gay, one must use their common sense in their relationships.

    Worse, churches encourage charity for the downtrodden. Well, a lot of those poor downtrodden folks are in the situation they chose. They live that way because of their drug addiction or alcohol problems. And if killing someone is the path to their drug, well so be it.

    The mentally ill are not responsible for their illness, but they are far more dangerous than common criminals because they cannot reason right from wrong.

    Think before allowing some one into your private life. What are their motives?

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