Tijuana get shot and die?

Man, is there any reason to go to Tijuana these days?

The LA Times today is reporting a massive shootout on the streets of downtown Tijuana that killed close to 15 people. Apparently, it was a face-off between competing gangs. But what’s scary is that the shootout took place near a popular shopping mall, “leaving a trail of corpses,” as the Times delicately puts it.

The gun fight is the most recent flare up in a spate of drug-related violence, four months into a year where murders and kidnappings are significantly on the increase. As if almost sensing trouble south of the border, the Washington Post is reporting in its travel section this weekend that the State Department claims that last year there were “dozens” of Americans who were kidnapped in Tijuana, many either seriously injured or outright murdered.

Mexico watchers say that the increase in violence is tied to a strict government crackdown on drugs and drug trafficking. The Mexican president has sent national troops to patrol Tijuana’s streets.

In the few times that I’ve been in Tijuana, the place struck me as pretty much devoid of any redeeming quality. So much better to point that car south and keep on going. Now it seems like that decision could save your life.