International

NPR Considers A Mexico Changed By Drug Violence

A Mercedes sedan in the midst of being bulletproofed. i i

A Mercedes sedan in the midst of being bulletproofed. The vehicles need to be almost completely stripped down to the frame and then rebuilt to withstand bullets. Jason Beaubien/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jason Beaubien/NPR
A Mercedes sedan in the midst of being bulletproofed.

A Mercedes sedan in the midst of being bulletproofed. The vehicles need to be almost completely stripped down to the frame and then rebuilt to withstand bullets.

Jason Beaubien/NPR

Drug violence in Mexico has transformed that country in numerous ways and almost always not for the better. On Morning Edition this week, NPR's Jason Beaubien takes a look at some of the changes that reflect the widening Mexico tragedy.

On Thursday, Jason reported on how Acapulco has gone from being a vacation destination for foreign tourists, it is now mostly Mexicans who go to the resort town because foreigners have essentially avoided it and much of the rest of Mexico due mainly to the danger, real and perceived.

As Jason reported:

In April, a shootout on the main tourist strip in Acapulco left six people dead, including a mother and her 8-year-old daughter. In June 2009, a firefight between cartel gunmen and the military left 16 people dead. In 2006, drug cartels decapitated several local policemen and put their heads outside a government building.

On Wednesday, Jason looked at the booming business of bulletproofing cars,a kind of Pimp My Ride where ballistic considerations are first and foremost.

The trick is, as Jason report, is to make a bulletproof car not look like a bulletproof car.

There was this telling detail about how far some people will go to not bring attention to themselves.

Some of Protecto's clients seek something decidedly less flashy than a bulletproof Range Rover or Mercedes-Benz. One of the vehicles the Naders just finished armoring is a brownish-burgundy, four-door 1992 Grand Marquis Mercury. It's been armored to Level 4.

Nader says it doesn't attract attention and those who drive it feel they don't present an attractive target. The long front seat of the Mercury stretches from the driver's side to the passenger-side door and is a bit worn, but the car can withstand sustained automatic weapons fire from an AK-47.

If you've missed the series, you should check it out.