The following story was told to me by my father Lauro Garza Marroquin and it is a story about his uncle Severo Marroquin Gonzalez. I will try to relate it as complete as possible since it has been several years since I heard it. Severo Marroquin Gonzalez was born on August 8, 1913 in Rancho Viejo, Mier, Tamaulipas, Mexico to Pedro Marroquin Perez and Amalia Gonzalez Guerra.
When Severo was about 16 or 17 years old he used to work the fields and other people would also be hired to work on his fathers property cutting and picking up corn (maiz). He relates that one day Severo refused to go out to the fields and when his father Pedro asked him why he didn’t want to go to work he stated that since he was small there was an older kid, Jose Moreno, that would always harass him (amagaba muncho) and would always beat him up. His father Pedro then gave him his 1911, 45 caliber handgun and told him to stand up for himself and to use it if he needed to, he also told him that the gun had only one bullet and to make it count. That same day Severo was making monas de maiz (piramid looking stack of corn to protect it from the weather) when Jose Moreno arrived and started to make fun of him. Jose Moreno yelled and told him te voy a golpear (I am going to beat you up) Severo responded tabien (that’s fine) let me just drink some water. Unknown to Jose, Severo had the gun that his father had given him next to the water thermus and as he reached down pretending to get water he grabbed the gun picked it up and fired. He hit him in his right arm, Jose left as fast as he could before Severo could shoot him again. Severo didn’t want to kill him, but he did want to scare him. Severo continued working in the field and later on armed men arrived from Arcabuz to take him before the local judge, by this time it had started to rain and he was wearing his red cape. My father stated that by the time they were taking him from Arcabuz to Ciudad Mier a local corridista (balad composer) had already written a corrido about the incident, unfortunately the only part he remembers is “ahy llevan a severo marroquin con su capa colorada, ahy lo llevan a dar declaracion a esos hijos de la chingada” (there they are taking Severo Marroquin in his red cape, there they take him to give declaration to those bastards) . Severo was taken to Ciudad Mier, Mexico where the judged ordered him to serve five years under arrest, he was not placed in jail but could not leave the city, he had to work and make a living without leaving town. Severo used to say that he never regretted it since he met his wife and married her in Ciudad Mier durign that time and also that he became the best of friends with Jose Moreno.
Growing up we were thought to always stand up for ourselves and to never let anyone put us down. We were also thought to never start a fight, nor look for one but when the time came, we had to defend ourselves. The above story is a drastic representation of that belief and it could have had ended with other consequences if that bullet had killed Moreno, but it does show Pedro’s (my great-grandfathers) belief that it was OK for a peaceful person to use lethal force to stop a bully.
Sources: Lauro Garza Marroquin