In the long run, we’re all dead

elnarcoFrom El Narco (2012) by Ioan Grillo:

“When I did my first hit, I got a little too close and shot too many bullets into the body. Then the blood and guts exploded out all over me and I had to throw away my clothes and wash hard to get it off. That night I had bad dreams. I kept remembering shooting the person and the blood spurting out.”

Gustavo did more hits and the bad dreams stopped. Every few  weeks he would be given a new target. Mostly he killed in Medellín but he was also sent to take out victims in other cities across Colombia such as Bogotá and Cali. Soon he had killed ten, then fifteen, then twenty people. Then he lost count.

I ask him if he thinks about the victims. He shakes his head.

“I keep focused and do my work. Before I go out, I pray to Jesus and clear my mind. I never take drugs or drink before a job as I need my five senses. When I come back I will relax and smoke a spliff and listen to music.”

Does he feel remorse about the people he has murdered? I ask. How can he square what he does with his Catholicism? “I know it is bad,” he says. “But I do it out of need. I do it to support my family.

He also knows that his work may well lead to his own murder. But he tries to keep any fear tucked deep inside.

“I need to keep strong and focused. I can’t spend all my time worrying if they are going to kill me or not. Everyone dies in the end.”


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