I recently returned to the U.S. after spending 14 months in Mexico. At first, the excitement of being back after 22 years in America made me overlook the dangers of being there. While I grew concerned about my safety over time, nothing out of the ordinary happened to me for months. But that changed a week before I returned to the States. August 9th was a normal day at my parents’ house in Irapuato. At 7:30 p.m., a loud explosion interrupted one of our usual long evening chats. An armed command attacked and burned to ashes a convenience store located two-and-a-half blocks from us. That night, drug cartel members set fire to 25 convenience stores, cars and trucks in Guanajuato and Jalisco.