Patterico's Pontifications


Headless Body Dumped in Front of Restaurant in Mazatlan; Patterico Denies Responsibility

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:48 pm

This past Tuesday, two people were executed in front of a hotel in the Golden Zone in Mazatlan, a touristed area. As it happens, the Patterico clan was in Mazatlan that day. I swear I had nothing to do with it.

Nor did I have anything to do with the headless body tossed in front of a restaurant the same day.

The story of the double murder at the hotel barely merited a couple of lines in the Associated Press:

Farther north, in the Pacific coast resort of Mazatlan, two men were shot to death in the parking lot of a hotel frequented by foreign tourists. Neither of the victims were tourists, but guests reported hearing the gunshots.

A travel site adds these details:

Also, a travel agent told he received an email from a client on the Norwegian Star who said other passengers in the vicinity reported hearing about 40 shots being fired.

That was our cruise ship, and there was indeed a lot of talk about it, although it was mostly in the form of fourth-hand rumors that botched the details, as you would expect. As for us, we hadn’t gone into town, as we had opted for a boat ride around some estuaries that would keep us out of the town. I sort of wanted to see the cathedral afterwards, but I was the only one — and with all the previous reports of muggings and such in the city, I didn’t force the issue. I’m now glad I didn’t.

As for the headless body, well, that didn’t even merit a single mention in any English-language Big Media source I could find. It took an exploration of Mexican newspapers to learn about the beheaded body. . . and the head, in a separate bag . . . and the body of the pig:

Una persona fue decapitada y su cuerpo dejado en el acceso principal de un restaurante en la zona Dorada, en la cual se encuentran la mayoría de los hoteles, restaurantes y discotecas turísticas del puerto de Mazatlán.

Junto al cuerpo que estaba envuelto en una bolsa de plástico negro, estaba la cabeza en otra bolsa negra. A menos dos metros dejaron un puerco muerto, al cual le dispararon en la cabeza los sicarios.

El reporte de la Policía Municipal señala que la víctima no ha sido identificada, aunque autoridades presumieron que se trata de una persona secuestrada.

El restaurante de la zona dorada, donde dejaron el cuerpo es El Habaleño, el cual a la hora en que dejaron el cuerpo decapitado y el cerdo, ya estaba cerrado. En este inmueble también ejecutaron a dos personas identificadas como Guadalupe Núñez el domingo pasado por la tarde.

I include the Spanish for the benefit of readers who can read it, as I have no reliable translation. A horrible Google translation is available here, but I would ignore that. I’ll do my best at a rough translation, and then you smarty-pantses who know better can correct me:

A person was decapitated and his corpse was left in the main entrance of a restaurant in the Golden Zone, where the majority of the hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs of the port of Mazatlan can be found.

With the corpse, which was wrapped in a black plastic bag, was the head in a separate black bag. Less than two meters away the killers left a dead pig, which they had shot in the head.

The report of the Municipal Police indicated that the victim had not been identified, although authorities presumed that it was a kidnapping victim.

The Golden Zone restaurant where the body was dumped is El Habaleño, which was already closed at the time that the decapitated corpse and the pig were left. The previous Sunday afternoon, at the same location, two people were executed who went by the name of Guadalupe Núñez.

Another story here (horrible Google translation here) adds the charming detail that the killers, after dumping the headless body, carjacked a woman in a Lincoln to make their getaway.

Again, the headless body dump and the double murder all occurred Tuesday, oddly enough, the same day we were there.

I suppose the silence in English-language papers about the beheaded body in Mazatlan is no surprise. After all, in the very same AP story I quote above, it was reported that police had found seven hacked and mutilated corpses in the seaside tourist town of Acapulco the very same day. Three were found “dumped in a highway tunnel that leads into Acapulco’s tourist zone” with pieces of the bodies missing. Three more “bullet-ridden bodies” were found in the streets, and police “discovered a fourth body half-buried and lacking its head.”

Heck, even that wasn’t the lede of the story, which was primarily concerned with the discovery of a rural camp suspected to be operated by one of the cartels, containing “72 sticks of commercial synthetic explosives . . . 14 rifles, eight grenades,” and “more than 4,000 bullets.”

So I guess a single headless body with accompanying head is no big deal.

Except that it is. Because the violence continues, even after we tourists depart. And it has ripple effects.

The day after we left, gunmen sprayed a different tourist restaurant in Mazatlan with gunfire. That restaurant and three namesake restaurants were all closed. (Story here, horrible translation here.)

Although none of the victims of these crimes were tourists, the cruise lines have had enough. After the double murder, Carnival Cruise Lines immediately canceled a planned stop in Mazatlan, and Norwegian Cruise Lines canceled its Mazatlan stop for the season. And that was, ostensibly, only because of the murders at the hotel. Never mind the headless body or the restaurant shooting the next day.

This means that the nice fellow with the easy sense of humor who ran our little boat outing in the estuaries is going to have a much harder time finding guests for his excursion, with fewer cruise ships coming into town. And he, his son, and the other good people of this little city will continue to live in an atmosphere of increasing and constant violence.

And all this is a picnic compared to Juarez.

Mexico is a great place, huh?

UPDATE: I should note that I obtained several links from a very interesting blog called The Fulano Files. The proprietor appears to keep a close watch on Mexican violence. I will likely be citing this blog again.

So . . . What Did I Miss? Did Something Happen in Wisconsin??

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:36 pm

Looks like the major domestic story in the last few days has been Wisconsin. I’m behind the curve and have nothing to offer in the way of breaking news. But the various strong-arm tactics used by the left, the unions, and their supporters have raised various questions about morality that I think are worth discussing.

Some of the issues are easy, it seems to me. If you’re not a partisan hack, you’ll agree that in almost every instance, it is wrong for legislators to flee a state to prevent a vote on a matter of public policy. For a few days Aaron has been handling another easy issue: if you’re a doctor, you don’t give sick notes to people who aren’t sick.

But what about the dude who called up Wisconsin’s governor pretending to be one of the Koch brothers? We know we don’t like him, but what if he had been that lovable scamp James O’Keefe instead of the nasty partisan lefty he is? I think the clearest difference is that O’Keefe found something while the Wisconsin imposter uncovered nothing — but what if that weren’t the case?

Prof. Jacobson has an argument today that the imposter may have violated a Wisconsin statute against impersonating people. Let’s assume he’s right. The lefties accused O’Keefe and Giles of violating state laws against taping people without their consent, and in some cases they may have been right. But most of us felt that the corruption they were uncovering at ACORN was worth it. What if O’Keefe had called up a Chuck Schumer and gotten him to say corrupt things on tape? While pretending to be a big Schumer donor, violating various laws against illegal taping, and so forth?

Does it all just come down to whose side you’re on? Or is there a legitimate distinction to be made here that has nothing to do with the underlying politics of left and right?

Similarly, we heard a story that a restaurant in Madison tossed out the governor after a crowd allegedly started booing him. Now, the actual facts of the story are messy. The blogger who originally reported the story has taken the post down, replacing it with another that amusingly claims: “I believe in a certain amount of transparency.” Note well: she didn’t say how much! Her new replacement post claims that the restaurant has gotten all sorts of nasty calls, but does not explain why the original post has been removed rather than the name of the restaurant redacted. Meanwhile, some conservative bloggers have been claiming that the entire thing was a hoax by the restaurant, basing their claim on this post and this phone call, in which a conservative blogger calls up the restaurant which alternately refuses to issue a statement, denies that the incident happened . . . and then discusses the matter internally, unaware that they have failed to hang up and are still being recorded:

I find the call not entirely conclusive and the post not entirely convincing, conflating as it apparently does the web site of the restaurant with the blog breaking the original story. But again, the particular facts are a bit less interesting to me than the theoretical question of when, if ever, it is appropriate for a restaurant to refuse service to a person because the restauranteur, his patrons, or all of the above disapprove of the customer for whatever reason.

My inclination upon hearing a story like that is that the other patrons were boors. They caused the disturbance, so they should be ejected. But had it been O.J., pre-Nevada conviction, I think it would have been proper for the restaurant to throw in their lot with the booers. Granted, I’m loading the dice there; O.J. was a killer and Wisconsin’s governor is not. But what if it were some politician we didn’t like? Like, say, Obama? Or Barney Frank? Might we not be on the side of the booers?

Ultimately, for most, I suspect the answer will come down to “tactics that help my side win are good, tactics that help the other side win are bad.” At that point it becomes an exercise in rationalization. And yet, if your side is right — and how important the issue is — may be a relevant point. But should that be the ultimate distinction? And are we headed towards a world where even restaurants are politically polarized, and we can’t choose an eatery based on the quality of its cuisine, but instead must scrutinize the owners’ donation record?

All food for thought and discussion. Understand, I’m playing devil’s advocate with most of this — but I do think it is a useful exercise in these situations to imagine the political tables turned before we rush to denounce the tactics.

Mubarak, Qaddafi . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:42 pm

. . . Chavez?

Just asking.

UPDATE: King Abdullah?

Tim Rutten Needs to Learn How to Quote Accurately

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:52 pm

Matt Welch catches Tim Rutten with his pants down. Not a pretty image, I’ll grant you.

Here is a quote from a New York Times story:

State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts.

Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.

Note the lack of quotation marks in those paragraphs — particularly around the bolded portion, which is a paraphrase.

But in Tim Rutten’s hands, a paraphrase becomes a quote!

In fact, as Tim Phillips, head of Americans for Prosperity, a group created and funded by the Koch brothers to the tune of $40 million last year, told the paper, “even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown.”

Getting quotes right ought to be among the most basic of tasks for a professional journalist.

No correction appears inside the column as of the publication of this blog post. We’ll give them until Monday before we demand one.

Thanks to several readers.

UPDATE: It is worth noting further that it’s worse than I portrayed it. Phillips actually denies making the quote. John Hinderaker of Power Line has written the reporter to ask him what record he has of the quote, and has been met (so far) with silence.

A couple of readers had passed along the Power Line link and it is definitely worth a read.

UPDATE x2: Turns out Lipton has indeed e-mailed Hinderaker, who has not updated his original post to reflect this, which left me assuming (incorrectly) that Lipton had not responded. Lipton’s very unconvincing response is here. Thanks to daleyrocks (and Mike K!).

The Report of Hospital Massacres Explained and (Somewhat) Verified

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:58 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

The other day I posted on reports that Gaddafi forces were murdering wounded protesters while they waited in the hospital.  A few were very reasonably skeptical about that as frankly I was, too.  Well, courtesy of the New York Times, we get a ton of accounts that line up with what was described in that report only this time we get something we didn’t have last time: a reason why they would go after them.

After all, it was quite reasonable to wonder last time why Gaddafi would bother.  But the Times report provides that explanation.  You see Gaddafi was getting ready to let the press do an official tour.  And he wanted all signs of strife removed:

A bold effort by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to prove that he was firmly in control of Libya appeared to backfire Saturday as foreign journalists he invited to the capital discovered blocks of the city in open revolt.

Witnesses described snipers and antiaircraft guns firing at unarmed civilians, and security forces were removing the dead and wounded from streets and hospitals, apparently in an effort to hide the mounting toll.

When government-picked drivers escorted journalists on tours of the city on Saturday morning, the evidence of the extent of the unrest was unmistakable. Workers were still hastily painting over graffiti calling Colonel Qaddafi a “bloodsucker” or demanding his ouster. Just off the tour route were long bread lines where residents said they were afraid to be seen talking to journalists.

The whole thing is definitely worth reading, but here’s a few more highlights:

“I have seen more than 68 people killed,” said a doctor who gave his name only as Hussein. “But the people who have died, they don’t leave them in the same place. We have seen them taking them in the Qaddafi cars, and nobody knows who there are taking the people who have died.” He added, “Even the ones with just a broken hand or something they are taking away.”…

Then the reporter starts to get the official tour…

The next morning, a driver took a group of foreign journalists to an area known as the Friday market, which appeared to have been the site of a riot the night before. The streets were strewn with debris, and piles of shattered glass had been collected in cardboard boxes.

A young man approached the journalists to deliver a passionate plea for unity and accolades to Colonel Qaddafi, then left in a white van full of police officers. Two small boys approached surreptitiously with bullet casings they presented as evidence of force used on protesters the night before….

A middle-age business owner, who identified himself only as Turkey, … and several other residents said that over the past week neighbors had been besieged by pickup trucks full of armed men shooting randomly at the crowds, sometimes wounding people who were sitting peacefully in their homes or cars. At other times, several said, the security forces had employed rooftop snipers, antiaircraft guns mounted on trucks and buckshot, and they produced shells and casings that appeared to confirm their reports. Mr. Turkey said that on one day he had seen about 50 to 60 heavily armed men who appeared to be mercenaries from nearby African countries.

The residents also said that they had seen security forces scooping up dead and wounded protesters and removing them from the streets, apparently to hide evidence of the violence. Because they believe security forces are also removing casualties from hospitals, they said, they have tried to hide their friends within the hospital and remove them after initial treatment.

There’s much more in the article, but I think it is reasonable to believe that Gaddafi was truly murdering wounded protesters and removing their bodies, for the purpose of hiding the bloodshed.

I suspect at some point we will learn of a mass grave of those who died opposing this dictator.

Sic semper tyrannis.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

“I’m Going to Get Racial, Here”

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:09 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

This is nothing more than a drunk man trying to talk about an explosion in a house next door.  But the really strange part is when he announces he is “going to get racial here.”  And then he talks about something that has no obvious connection to any racial issue—filling an oil tank with kerosene.  So either 1) he thinks that that kind of behavior is uniquely associated with a person’s ethnicity, or he planned to say something more clearly racist and either 2) thought better of it, or 3) just plain forgot. Either way, its kind of uncomfortable to watch, but mostly pretty funny.

And bear in mind, even the Blaze, where I got this video from, can’t even figure out the ethnicity of the neighbors.

Anyway, a little frivolity on a Saturday afternoon.

And consider this a PSA: friends don’t let friends do TV interviews when drunk.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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