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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.

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August 26, 2011

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One report I read, an off-duty casino worker commented that the casino could hold up to 1000 people. Had the attackers wanted to claim a higher body count (which terrorists usually try to do), the attack would likely have taken place at a time when the casino was packed. Instead, it took place during what would be a slow time of day. Sadly, it appears that the majority of victims are women. On a personal note, one of my aunts in Monterrey like to frequent the casinos as an outing with her friends and comadres. I don't think she'll be going anymore.

Interesting article.

I would like to highlight some of your lines. We Mexicans do suffer acts of terror very frequently. I live in Monterrey and witnessed yesterday's event by twitter, comments and calls being a few blocks away. We all do understand they are not against good people, but we DO indeed suffer acts of terror.

I felt it when going home, when I passed a few meters nearby. I knew there was a lot of people dying. I felt it when arriving home after my wife asks me how would we be confident to hangout.

Thinking it better, yes.. it is against us.. Its about Mexico citizens, US and us all. They are against our health, peace, our security. It wasn't just the people dead.. it is about we all consuming their products. They are against us.

Worth reflecting.. uh?

Regards,

@ Toni Loftin - Sincerely hope your relatives and friends were not involved.
@ Sylvia - I do think Calderon and those otherswho are labelling this act as "terrorism" are doing so intentionally and with the full knowledge of what this appellation carries with it. In my (not so fully informed) opinion this is the beginning of the Mexican federal authorities call to action of the world community to get involved in putting an end to this spreading scourge.

Your analysis is so informative. Thanks for providing it so I can understand more of what is going on in terms of motivations for these horrible attacks. I always strive to understand the why of what is happening and as usual you provided a lot of clarity. Keep up the great work.

I expect this event to galvanize public opinion in Mexico against the TCOs.

These are clearly innocent victims who were scared to death and ran away from the gunmen to their death instead of past them to freedom. I can't really fault their logic.

I would be very interested to hear Jose Angel's comments on this event.

You have the analysis correct on the terrorism element: attack during the day, not at night; some people permitted to leave during the attack; most that died fled (logically) to the second floor or to areas away from the gunmen, where they died because the emergency exits did not function. Also, I like the way you tie this attack to others that are taking place, noting that it is probably an attack on the money-laundering operations of rivals. I would like to add a couple of observations. First, I think if you go back over the last couple of years, you will see that burning rival establishments is common. I saw it happen a couple of times in Cuernavaca in 2010. So, if a bar or nightclub is a hang-out for a gang, it becomes a target for rivals to burn. Second, Mexico has a huge problem with corruption of fire inspectors, and owners that purposely lock (with chains and padlocks) the fire exits of their clubs as a security measure. There was a famous case in Mexico City awhile back. They prefer to not allow the doors to be used, than to prepare for the safety of their patrons. Reports suggest that is what happened here. Just a couple other avenues of thought to tie in with the non-terrorist money-laundering angle you have laid out.

Do you agree to the point people are making that the sloppiness of this attack is evidence of the weakness of the particular TCO which perpetrated this?

@Homero - It's hard to say if it was sloppy because we don't fully understand what the attackers' intentions were. Plus, no one has verified that a TCO was actually involved, let alone which one.

Really a sad incident. My prayers for all the families who are affected in Mexico.

The photo you posted says it all - how could anyone escape that horrible inferno unless they ran through one of the exits really quickly? If the casino operator really did padlock some of the exit doors ... then I hope he/she is charged with serious offenses.

This crime has the "look and feel" of the Zeta's attached to it. Enormous reckless regard for human life seems to be a trademark of theirs. Perhaps their main goal was to burn the building, but they could have let the patrons escape if they wanted to.

What will Calderon do ... that he isn't already doing? Can this incident turn Mexico into more of a "police state". It's not like the security forces aren't already hunting the drug cartel bosses relentlessly.

P.

The New York Times wrote U.S. Widens Role in Mexican Fight
By MARK MAZZETTI and GINGER THOMPSON
August 25th http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/26/world/americas/26drugs.html?_r=2&hp [a story I think should never have been printed] Maybe Calderon labeled it terrorism to pave the way for future involvement of U.S. assets, or to explain the current involvement. I am presuming they have a reason for the "act of terror." label.

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