The first time I visited Mexico was in 1974. I was 20 years old. A friend, who had moved from Chicago to Phoenix, drove us in her car to the border. A lot of the details are hazy, but I do remember warnings about not driving one’s car too far into Mexico because back then, deceptive Mexican nationals would take your car and it would end up becoming a taxi. I do remember miles and miles of desert before we arrived in Nogales. Though it was just the two of us, it was a very long and rough ride. 

Speaking of rough rides, when I was 35 and gave birth to my son prematurely, he remained in the hospital after I was released. I remember taking the bus to the hospital every day to see him and the excruciating pain of having had a C-section and having to travel sitting upright. The CTA ride was probably 45 minutes but it was a painful 45 minutes.

The last time I was in a SUV with numerous other adults on a road trip was probably 10 years ago when I traveled to a wedding in Minneapolis. It was a six-hour ride, and although we were in an SUV, it was still an uncomfortable journey.

I give all this background because I’m fixing to make some suppositions about the four Black Americans who were kidnapped in Mexico. Although four individuals crossed the border, a fifth person was left at the motel because she allegedly didn’t have the proper ID to leave the country. Since the minivan they were traveling in had North Carolina plates, according to Google maps, it would take about 23 hours to make it to Mexico from there. That is a hell of a long ride to take to get a so-called “tummy tuck.” If it were going to be a medical procedure for the only female in the SUV, it would have been something other than a tummy tuck. Whatever the procedure, there’s no way I’m going to believe that somebody would have a procedure done and then attempt to spend 23 hours on the road to get back home. Especially when you have to sit on your behind to make that ride home! Also why would a female travel with three males for any kind of procedure? That ain’t passing my “sniff” test.

But the American border does mean something! Because once they were in another country, America’s rules don’t apply. And sadly, these folks learned that the hard way when their vehicle was attacked and two of them were killed.

The aftermath of the kidnapping was filmed where we saw one male and one female being loaded into the back of a pickup truck. The other two companions had been killed in the attack on the vehicle. Even if they spoke Spanish, they weren’t in an environment where questions were asked first.

It’s not often that a Black American counts for much. Had the four been Haitian nationals, the kidnapping and murder would have barely made our radar. But they were Americans and the local drug cartel, rather than risk the repercussions that killing “an American” brings, quickly turned over five culprits to negate the heat that the killings and kidnapping brought about.

Black America is traveling abroad. It would be wise for folks to educate themselves leaving the country because ignorance, as shown by this case, can prove deadly.