Ernest Hemingway, the great hunter, wrote a novel in the 1930’s.  “For Whom The Bell Tolls”.  The title was a quote from an old poem by John Donne in 1624, see the poem at the end of the article.  The point of Hemingway’s novel, was “For Whom the Bell Tolls – it tolls for thee”, and the events that occurred in the Spanish Civil War, directly led and were a precursor to World War II.  In the same vein, the headlines in the article below are a precursor of a very real developing problem.  Many of us, perhaps most of us, have hunted or fished in Mexico; it’s truly unimaginable that we can no longer enjoy our pastimes, in a country that has historically been safe and friendly.  With many of our members with family in Mexico, owning property in Mexico, and hunting in Mexico, what is happening has a direct bearing on our lives – now, here today.  Combined with the recent (just a couple of weeks ago), the unprecedented act, of the sovereign nation of Mexico filing potentially bankrupting suits in US courts against our gun manufacturers blaming US gun makers for the violence in Mexico – suddenly these events are brought home.  Consider the following:


April 28th 7 Victims Rescued in Austin Kidnapped by Drug Cartel

September 30th US Tourist Murdered on Jet Ski, Falcon Lake

October 12th Mexican Detective Investigating Jet Ski Murder Beheaded

November 1st  A Texas National Guardsman Murdered in Juarez

February 15th US Special Agent Assassinated in Mexico

March 29th  Napolitano Says Border Safer Than Ever

April 21nd   35,000 Dead in Mexico Drug War So Far

April 22nd   Mexico Sues US Gun Makers

April  23rd  Killer Mexico Drug Gang “Zetas” Crosses Into US

September 28th (1810) The Little Turkey Hen

Juan José de los Reyes Martínez was a deformed little man.  Born in 1782 with a severe vertebra problem, only able to walk hunched over somewhat humped back.  Thus his cruel nickname, el pipila – turkey hen – the incongruence between the masculine article “el” and the feminine noun for hen intentional – ridiculing the core of his masculinity; the man that wasn’t.  Of simple Indian stock he labored through life as a miner,  one of the few things he could do, sad but tenacious.

Mexico’s dream of independence, in the early throes of revolution, was already sputtering to an early demise.  The Spanish troops, well armed, were soldiers of one of the era’s greatest nations.  The freedom loving Indians for the most part were armed only with machete’s, sticks, and tools; lacking even the most rudimentary military skills.  On September 28, 1810  the rebels had been beaten to a standstill, the Fort in Guanajuato – impregnable.  No guns, no cannons: the rebels suffered a relentless onslaught from Spanish musket fire.  Guanajuato was a key colonial city that stood at the gateway to their mining wealth.

As more and more peasants were slain (the same who had bullied and scorned him), El Pipila surveyed the catastrophe, finding a large slab of marble he tied it to his back with rope, then crossed the road and courtyard under heavy fire from Spanish snipers, hunched over at a shambling gait.  Wounded repeatedly from chips of flying marble, he struggled the distance to the Fort’s gate carrying a bucket of tar and burning torch.  The moat surrounding the Fort was filled with bodies of fellow rebels, blood flowed down the cobblestone streets, a river of blood.   He was now within the archways of the large gate, safe from the hail of musket fire.   El Pipila coated the  gates in heavy tar, then set it afire fleeing back across the way with the slab of marble his only protection.    The gates burned down, the rebels flooded the Fort and massacred the Spanish to the man.  This brutal revolution was “no quarter asked none given”.

The success of the indigenous peasant against the European Spanish spread like wildfire across Mexico.  Peasant Mexicans seized armories, even enlisted the help of one of my ancestors, Pedro Elias Bean in opening a rebel cannon foundry, finally throwing the Spanish from their shores thus gaining liberty.

Historically the Mexicans have been ferocious in protecting themselves; in another war, another time, a corps of twelve year old boys stymied our troops at Chapultepec, finally before accepting defeat leapt from the citadel to certain death clutching their national flag.   I know – you point to the Alamo, what most Texans don’t realize is that tyrannical Santa Anna, forced conquered Mayans to attack the Alamo walls – without loaded guns!   When Mexicans can arm themselves they have been able to take care of their own problems.

Mexico can look to their own history of El Pipila, and realize that the cartel problem, within their boundaries, could easily be solved by ARMING their own citizens.  Mexico suffers the most repressive gun laws in the world prohibiting law abiding citizens from owning weapons and thus allowing the cowardly cartels to thrive.  Rather, slick politicians lobby our government to implement similar vastly unsuccessful laws in the US, and now try to bankrupt our gun manufacturers through frivolous litigation.  The Mexican army can’t solve the problem,  the police can’t solve the problem, nor can the federal government: yet a properly armed Mexican populace could.

As time progresses, I can’t help but be awed our forefathers clearly anticipated the problem of unarmed citizenry and realized our only true protection lies with each of us having the right to arms.  The turkey hen, El Pipila, now is a national hero of Mexico: a magnificent monumental statue stands proudly on a mountain overlooking the Fort he conquered.  One can’t help but think he points the way to solving the carnage in what was once one of the most peaceful and stable countries in the world.  The Second Amendment isn’t just for gun nuts as the press implies, it protects the innocents that don’t have guns as well. As the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano  Zapata said “Prefiero morir de pie que vivar arrodillado” –  I would rather die on my feet than live on bended knee.  The  solution to the cartel’s crises is a “Segunda Enmienda” for México – not us loosing ours.


John Donne’s Mediation

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.


We in Austin and San Antonio are not an island to ourselves either, the “Bell Tolling” in Mexico, tolls for us as well.    The recent closing of Rancho Caracol – a long time donor and friend to all of our clubs, highlights the impact on all of us.  Just a few years ago this would have been unimaginable.



Author David Sefton.

Among his many interest he is a student of history and has traveled Mexico extensively.  He is the current President of Central Texas Safari Club, and he and his wife Leann have been members of  Alamo and donors for a number of years.  He recently returned from Washington DC and the National SCI Board of Directors Meeting, where he actively lobbied a number of Congressmen and Senators on behalf of gun and hunting rights.  He is happy to report there is a far friendlier environment in Washington today than a year ago!  David has completed his Big Five, and will be returning to Zambia this summer for another buffalo.



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