The abuses by the U.S. Government in foreign countries are well documented if under-reported by the media. They generally occur in militarized areas and the border is no exception. It was here that Jose Antonio lost his life at the hands of a border patrol agent.
Jose Antonio was a regular kid until he, through death, became the center of an international conflict (conflict in this instance referring to conflicting ideologies and laws, not war or military incidents). He was shot while he was out walking by a border patrol agent* who claims someone was tossing rocks at the wall to distract attention from drug runners hopping the fence back into Mexico. The officer, from the U.S. side, emptied his entire clip into Antonio before reloading and firing several more shots. Without a warrant. Without a warning. And without justification.
The officer claims that because Jose Antonio was walking on the Mexican side, he and his family have no legal standing for either a criminal or a civil suit. While the family has successfully seen both cases go before a judge, both suits are pending (the government has agreed to prosecute the officer but maintains no wrongdoing was committed). A small statue of a cross marks the place where Antonio took his last breath.
Over the past few days I’ve been contemplating the story of the Good Samaritan in the context of this abhorrent crime. It was pointed out to me recently that while the Good Samaritan story has often been interpreted as a parable about treating neighbors with kindness, it is also a critique of law. When the priest and the Levite passed the dying man, they were simply following the laws of cleanliness. Their actions are not unkind, they are in fact righteous in the context of their law.
The failure of U.S. Government to do anything on Jose Antonio’s behalf is an example of the passive excuse: “I was just following the rules”. But for a country founded on the idea of liberty and in protest of unfair laws, isn’t it ironic that the response has been so passive?
It seems callous to say that I am not a part of the problem. On our desert walk the leader said “We would not have a wall if we didn’t have walls in here” as he pointed to his ears. What walls have we placed between us and reality to ignore the world and all of the pain in it? What unjust laws do we follow blindly because we either don’t know about them or choose to ignore them in favor of blissful ignorance?