The Latest Machine Gunner

I came across something yesterday I don’t often come across. Walking to work, one foot in front of the other, nose to the grindstone as it were, not paying much attention to anything. A shiny metallic object caught my eye. Not a coin, but something familiar looking. Familiar from seeing such objects on television, anyway. A 9mm bullet shell. I’m not terribly familiar with munitions in general, but I’ve always been under the impression that a 9mm bullet is a fairly sizeable projectile fired from a handgun. Or an Uzi.

It was burned on the inside. Fired by someone. Whether for fun or at someone else it’s hard to say, but I’d guess at the latter. This is Mexico where bullets are for business, not Arabia where they are also part of celebrations. There’s a story behind this shell, and whilst I am curious to know what it is, I am inclined to form the opinion it’s a story you’d be better off knowing too little of than too much of.

I took it home with me any way. It’s a boyish thing to do. But I’ve finally become a Machine Gunner. A fantastic book I read when I was thirteen or fourteen, set in World War 2, and based around a group of lads from ‘up north’ who spend their time collecting treasure – lethal debris from the wrong end of the German munitions industry. I read it twice. Once voluntarily, unaware that a week later the book would be compulsory reading in English class, where I begrudgingly read it again. Sort of.



7 thoughts on “The Latest Machine Gunner

  1. You don’t need to visit Arabia to hear celebratory gun fire. On new year’s eve, the air was filled with gun fire (and bullets) in Melaque. A lot of it automatic weapons fire. We have an Army camp at the edge of town, but the Army is too disciplined for that type of recreational firing. So much for Mexico’s vaunted gun control law. I will concede that our rural roots may be the reason for this type of celebration. If that much shooting happened at night in Mexico City, peole would probably hit the deck. For good reason.


    • It’s not a souvenir I plan to keep though. Taking it through customs at the airports on my way home might be troublesome. It’s hardly live ammo, and it’s probably perfectly legal, but questions might be asked and ‘I found it on the pavement’ might not be instantly accepted. By the time I land, I’ll be ready for a desperately needed smoke, not a game of 20 questions!


  2. Unfortunate happenstance. Last night, literally just a few feet from where I found the bullet casing, two policemen tried to stop two men who were robbing a woman. At 6pm, in broad daylight, at a very busy station. The robbers shot one of the policemen dead. Today’s grubbier papers have his corpse spread across the front covers.


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