Killer Commute

Aug. 16 2005 12:09 p.m.
Mexico City

In heavy traffic on bumpy roads. On the way back from an armored car factory.

Depending on the level of armor it costs between $40,000 and $150,000 to armor your car - and you supply the car.

We drove out to the factory with the director in his armored Suburban. I pulled the heavy door closed and was reminded of Baghdad. The director said most of his clients are businessmen. Some of the cars are designed to foil street crime, others can stop armor-piercing bullets. He said the most dangerous place is the drive between home and work. He has twenty clients who have been shot in his cars. All survived.

If the tires get shot out there are hard cylinders inside that can keep the car going for another ten miles. The part most customers neglect is the floor, which costs a lot to armor. So far roadside bombs have been rare.

The director was going to demonstrate the reliability of the glass by shooting a nine-milimeter pistol at a windshield. He said he'd let me shoot. I joked and suggested he stand behind the glass. He said he would be glad to. There is a machine that fires the bullet as random pistol shooting is illegal in a city factory. The machine fires when you press a red button. The chief engineer did not want the director to get behind the glass but the director insisted. It was a small pane of glass, about ten by ten, and the director had to squat to get his face behind it. He was 15 feet from the machine that fired the bullet. There was a little more color to his face. I expect to show the test Thursday on FOX.

E-mail Harrigan

I’d rather read your blog than 99% of the other “news” that’s out there. Keep it up!

— Patrick

Hi Steve,

I really enjoy reading your notes. My 76-year-old Mom sent me envelope last week, taped over the flap, of course. And I remember visiting her Mom in an old, warm apartment in Hollywood that had a Murphy bed. We thought Grandma was eccentric – she bought my sisters fishnet tights in the 70’s & took us out on public transportation - the bus. Thanks for taking me there again, Steve.

Stay safe,


I admire you so much for what you are doing and the story you are trying to uncover but it almost seems to be an impossible situation. We pray for your safety and admire your courage.



Thanks for the great reporting about the ongoing troubles here on the US/Mexican border. We live just south of Laredo, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. We are extremely pleased that someone is finally exposing this corrupt and dangerous area to the rest of our nation.

Keep up the good work!

Harlingen, Texas