Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ok, that's a new experience!

Today, the kids didn't have school due to an in-service day, so we decided to go on a family picnic after Mayra returned from her morning women's Bible study. So we headed up to "the pyramids," a pre-Mayan archaeological site about 15 minutes from where we live. It's a great spot, too. You can walk around and find pieces of pottery and fragments of carved obsidian from around 1000 years ago. Not something you do every day!

So we took a blanket, some food and Daniel's bb-gun. After eating, we wandered around the ample park area, discovering fragments of treasure. David is particular good at spotting things, especially the shiny obsidian. We were walking back to our blanket, carrying the bb-gun, when suddenly we saw a police car, and shortly afterward, two cops running towards us, one with his gun drawn.

Mayra yelled to them, "It's just a bb-gun, it's our son's toy!" Fortunately, the understood and retreated to their patrol car as we walked through high, brown grass towards them, expecting a lecture. We weren't disappointed.

The cop who was our designated interrogator started by informing us that this was not the place to be carrying a "weapon" and that our offense was a serious matter, warranting a trip to the ministerio publico, a place where criminal offenses are processed. We were informed that there are only a select few designated shooting ranges in the Mexico City area. He told us that the bb's the gun used were comparable to a .22 bullet. He was waving the bb-gun all around at times, something that Daniel particularly took offense to, after his grandpa's talk about gun safety, and all.

Finally, he got to the point. Some money for a refresco, and we could leave. A refresco, literally, is a soda, or a Coke. It is also the codeword for a bribe. He wanted money, not for himself, mind you, but for his partners. Mayra informed him that we had no idea that we couldn't shoot a bb-gun in this area. She also told him in several different ways, respectfully, that we were Christians and that he would have to do what he had to do, but we weren't going to pay him off.

After calling his partner from the patrol car, and further discussing the matter with him, we were finally allowed to leave, with the bb-gun. We expressed our thanks...and left quickly. Lots of teachable moments in this experience today!

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