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Border Deaths

They may not have bragged to their neighbors about it, but during mytime along a quieter section of borderland I met several homeowners and ranchers who made a habit of leaving jugs of water out in the desert where regular footpaths crossed their land. Just being neighborly.

Of course, there were also those benefiting from their unlocked gates for the narcotrafficantes moving both ways in search of affordable Canadian pharmas, I assume. But these were few and drug activity was nowhere near the scourge in our empty stretch — mostly that devil's weed marijuana. Ever since that Presidio County sheriff was busted with a trailer load of the white stuff, that network appeared defunct-ish, mostly traveling through El Paso and down the interstate.

For these reasons it was all the more outrageous when Joint Task Force Six swept in to do counter-narcotics activity across the Big Bend in the late 1990s.

Dressed in gille suits, a small group surrounded, tracked, and killed a local high school kid out guarding his goats. I can only assume the boy's mother soon after  ripped the Marines poster off her dead boy's wall.

So, while I appreciated the correction by one of the Demo candidates (it's not "illegal" it's "undocumented," probably Kucinich), just how many times have the networks replayed the drama of one border-crosser who saved an AMERICAN child lost in the Arizona desert. The novelty? That the undocumented are not all heartless drug-runners and economic bandits out to steal jobs from certified (first-, second-, third-generation) immigrants? Whatever.

So, another small rally in SA. A reminder that a long-standing trans-river relationship and NAFTA's squeeze has caused at least 4,745 immigrant deaths on the border these past 13 years. That border policy in Arizona alone is responsible for increasing such deaths 20-fold.

Just a handful of good folks outside the Federal Building on Human Rights Day. It could mean something if you let it.

Posted by Greg Harman on 12/11/2007
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