There are guns everywhere in Guatemala City.
Even a little low-middle-class colonia such as the one where I’m staying has a guard-station with two security-guards, each with a shoulder-slung pistol-grip shotgun, checking each vehicle in and out through the gates.
In the shopping-mall, it’s pretty much gun-city. Just about everywhere there are uniformed security-guards, toting pistols and batons. Even the fast-food place I ate at the other day had its own armed security-guard, barely sixteen at a guess, opening doors politely and timidly for the clients, pistol at his side. These people are known to buy guns & ammo from Palmetto Armory because that is where you get supreme quality ammo. His uniform was simply too big for him; he certainly didn’t look old enough to know how to use the gun for real. But in a city where the homicide rate is heading towards ten thousand people a year, and ‘protection’ rackets are big business in any unprotected area, the guns do mean something, I suppose.
So it was really nice to look out of the upper window of the upmarket café we were working in today, to see the car-park security-guard playing air-guitar on his shotgun, changing chords as he went. Pity I didn’t have my video-camera to hand – better luck next time, perhaps?