Skip to comments.Surfer's Baja Tale Is Warning To Others (American Tourists Robbed And Raped In Mexico)
Posted on 11/19/2007 11:16:35 AM PST by DogByte6RER
Surfer's Baja tale is warning to others
Camping trip ended in robbery, assault
By Terry Rodgers
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
November 19, 2007
Pat Weber didn't plan on being part of a crime trend that has generated worldwide buzz this past week, but he didn't have much choice.
The Encinitas resident and surfing instructor got lost on a dirt road in Baja California last month while looking for a surfing spot called Cuatro Casas. He and his girlfriend decided to park for the night on a bluff overlooking the ocean.
Just after sundown, two men wearing ski masks approached Weber's motor home and ordered him to come out. He refused but surrendered after they fired a bullet through a window.
The assailants held a gun to Weber's head while they ransacked the motor home and took about $10,000 worth of items. They also sexually assaulted his girlfriend, Weber said.
It is the policy of The San Diego Union-Tribune not to identify victims of sexual crimes.
The Oct. 23 attack was one of at least six armed robberies and carjackings in the past five months that targeted surfers en route to camping spots in northern Baja. Some of the victims reported their experiences to the police, while others posted their stories on surfing and travel Web sites.
The Union-Tribune published details of the crimes Wednesday. Since then, blogs and TV and radio stations based everywhere from Southern California to Australia have covered the topic.
They have featured tourists who never encountered trouble in Baja and those who stopped visiting the peninsula's remote, picturesque beaches because of crimes that happened 10 or 20 years ago. A few included safety tips ahead of the Thanksgiving vacation stretch.
On Friday, a crew from CNN came to town to produce a segment about what Weber and his girlfriend went through.
I'm not asking for sympathy, said Weber, who said he went public to warn other travelers.
Weber said feels guilty that he couldn't defend his girlfriend, and he keeps second-guessing himself about the decision to camp in an isolated area. His sleep has been fitful, and he often feels a knot of emotions.
I'm like a piñata on wheels, loaded up and ready to be smashed open, he said.
Despite the trauma, Weber is thankful to be alive. (The gunmen) had all the cards, he said. It could have ended 100 different ways much worse.
Weber, 47, had logged more than 500 days in Baja and has taken dozens of students there over the past 10 years. Now he vows to never return.
I can't in good conscience take someone down there and say it's safe, because it's not, he said. For me, this is the end of an era.
On Friday, Weber invited friends and past students to a surfing session and potluck lunch at South Carlsbad State Beach, the home base for his San Diego Surfing Academy.
Weber said the group hug, his term for the event, will help heal his mental and emotional wounds. It's part of my catharsis, he said. I'm still numb and reeling from the experience. It's like a bad dream.
When the CNN crew showed up, Weber pointed out the bullet hole in his motor home.
That, I'm not going to get fixed, he said. I'm just going to plug it with a cork from a wine bottle.
Amid the rising concern about what some surfers see as sophisticated, paramilitary-style crimes in Baja, longtime visitors to the peninsula said tourists can take steps to reduce their chances of becoming victims.
They advised people to travel in caravans of two or more vehicles and to stay in campgrounds that have security guards. Some surfers urged campers to bring a dog and said it's a good idea to have a cell phone or rent a satellite phone.
When in Mexico at a remote site, you are vulnerable and you need to pay attention, said Kent Layton, who operates a fenced-in surf camp at Cuatro Casas called the Boat Ranch. Be proactive. Have a plan, and whenever possible, leave yourself an out.
Layton also recommends that travelers leave a copy of their itinerary with friends and family members.
I have had two friends get shot down there and left for dead in trash bags. Their parents had to come get their fly swarmed corpses. Both of them broke the rules of nature and wild Mexico swallowed them whole.
What are these idiots doing in mexico or close to it?Where was his weapon for self defense?
Be proactive. Have a plan, and whenever possible, leave yourself an out.
Not going to Mexico is also my “proactive plan.”
Yes. When the use of the term is damaging to the perpetrator and he/she/it is a member of a protected class (minority, gay, Hispanic, African-American, etc.), then it is a "sexual assault". When the perpetrator is a white, heterosexual, Christian male, it is a "rape".
No thanks, doesn't sound like fun. I use the same rules here in the USA, I don't vacation in Detroit either.
I think people think, because of lurid headlines and blockbuster Hollywood crime movies, that foreign countries have lower crime rates than the US. Nothing could be further from the truth. And these tourists have discovered the truth for themselves, the hard way.
“Sexual assault” is a broad definition for a variety of sex crimes. I don’t want to get too descriptive here, but “sexual assault” typically includes forced sodomy, forced or coerced fondling and touching, anal penetration and vaginal penetration.
Depending on the jurisdiction, the legal definition of rape and sexual assault will vary. Historically, rape has been defined as forced sexual intercourse upon a woman. Other crimes of a sexual nature are typically considered sexual assault.
One can only guess what Mexico’s legal definition of rape and assault are. It is probably the Mexican definition that is in play here since this is where the attack occurred.
It's guys like him who accepted the invasion in the first place. And he's either too stupid or venal to criticize Mexico and recognize it for what it is, so crap like this happens - crap that anyone else with half a brain already understood as being the reality there - but which he denies, or doesn't try to understand.
The only reason these dirty hippies go to Mexico is because they can do anything they want. Buy drugs, get a 12 year old prostitute, whatever. But the lawlessness can bite back sometimes.
Rather odd that armed men just happened to know where to find his RV
But if you surfed, you'd be hard pressed to not camp and surf this beautiful wave for weeks on end.
La Ticla, Michoacan Mexico
I am quite familiar with all of this too.
I live in the San Diego area...
My surfing buddies told tales such as this 10 years ago and learned to keep some extra money available to pay their way out of situations. They never did bring females along for good reasons.
maybe now that he was mugged he’ll become a republican....
Take a 12 guage shotgun or stay home
There all a bunch or crooks.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Take a 12 gauge shotgun to Mexico, and you'll wind up in jail. I know of a US policeman who inadvertently left a 12 gauge shotgun shell in his car, and wound up in a Mexican jail.