An Offense Punishable By Death
Many, many moons ago I lived in a spacious two story in Highlands, Texas. Highlands is a little suburb on the east side of Houston, pretty close to Baytown, Texas. It sits just north of interstate 10 on the eastern shores of Clear Lake. The place was really small. Census numbers say that the population of the place was just a tad over seven thousand. It must’ve grown substantially since I lived there.
The grocery store must’ve been about four blocks from the house and I would walk up to it every now and then. Along the way there was a day care called the First Baptist Child Care Center. One particular beautiful sunny Texas day I decided to walk to the store. For what I don’t remember so it really isn’t important. The kids at the day care center were all in the yard playing like kids play. Their ages ran the gamut from about four to six years old. As I passed the yard there was a group of three or four little boys standing beside the fence and they smiled and waved to me as I was walking by. Not wanted to be rude, and to express my genuine Texas friendliness, I waved back. Right after I waved, each of the boys threw rocks at me. Thankfully not a single one came close to hitting me. But I was pissed nevertheless.
I was walking on the side of the street opposite the day care. I took my sunglasses off and crossed the street approaching the group. Right about then one of the faculty members supervising the kids was walking by. I got her attention and told her that the boys had thrown rocks at me. After that I left to continue my trek. Don’t know what happened after that. I left it in the teacher’s hands. The absolute last thing I would’ve done is pulled out a Glock and start popping off rounds into the day care. Those boys may have been up to no good. But the use of deadly force would’ve been a totally over the top response. I seriously doubt if anyone would argue otherwise.
Earlier this week a border patrol agent shot and killed fifteen year old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca after the agent claims a group of suspected illegal migrants threw rocks at the agents at a border bridge near downtown El Paso, Texas. The agent was estimated to be twelve yards from the border on the United States side. The teenager was about seven yards on the Mexican side of the border. The border agent’s bullet hit the teen in the face near his eyes. An official with the United States Customs and Border Protection said that border agents are trained to use force when their lives or the life of a third party is threatened and that a rock is considered a lethal weapon.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry condemned the shooting, saying that the use of firearms to repel an attack with stones represents a disproportionate use of force particularly coming from authorities who are supposed to have received specialized training. An official from the Mexico state of Chihuahua released a statement demanding a full investigation into the death of the boy, whose body was found under the Paso Del Norte border bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Of course there will be an investigation. I seriously doubt anybody will be surprised when the border agent is completely exonerated.
What kind of reaction would people have if it was a Mexican border agent standing on Mexican soil that shot and killed an American citizen on the American side of the border? Would everything be the same? If the border agent was walking pass a day care center and a kid threw a rock would the agent still be compelled to use the same deadly force? It would be very doubtful.
Everybody should know that the job of a border patrol agent is a pretty tough one. These are the people who help keep the border safe and help keep America secure. I sleep better at night because I know there is somebody hard at work keeping us safe on our borders. But I cannot sit back and condone border agents popping people in the head for throwing rocks.
The video of the incident showed that the group of would be immigrants had ran back to the Mexico side of the border. The border agent apprehended one of them before the shooting started. When the agent pulled his gun the chance for another arrest was past. The agent was in no danger of serious injury or imminent death. If somebody threw a rock at him he should have looked at the whole incident as a distasteful part of his job and be content with the one person he did catch.
The US-Mexican border isn’t the demilitarized zone of the Koreas. It isn’t the border between Israel and Gaza where snipers pop off Palestinians who stray to close to a fence. We aren’t in some war with Mexico where life and death hangs in the balance. The agent’s response was nothing less than the cold blooded murder of a teenaged foreigner. Only in America would throwing a rock can become grounds for a death sentence.