This weekend was another grim reminder that there is a war going on just a hop, skip and a jump away from us. There has been over 4,700 homicides reported since 2008 and the number just keeps rising.
We have gone in to other countries for a whole lot less. What makes this different?
Two Americans and a Mexican citizen were killed as they left El Barquito de Papel(little paper boat), a birthday party hall in Juarez. There is a 7-month old little girl who will never meet her parents and two small children with injuries who wonder why "Papa" is not there to change their bandages.
The White House said the president "shares in the outrage of the Mexican people at the murders of thousands in Ciudad Juárez and elsewhere in Mexico."
How many more must die until we do something? This last occurrence has made the national news here in U.S. because one of the victims was a State Department employee.
How about the other American victims? What about Ivan Christopher Salgado the 4 year old who was killed in the village of San Isidro while traveling with his family, how about the family from Las Cruces killed in a shooting on the Juárez-Porvenir highway in Loma Blanca? How about Marine reservist Gustavo Zubia-Lopez, the 20-year old who was found beaten and shot to death in a Juarez neighborhood just before he was scheduled to deploy to Iraq in the fall? How about.....how about.....how about? There are many more examples.
They weren't State Department Employees and their deaths didn't create national attention.
Would the white House have reacted the same if Lesley Enriquez didn't work for the State Department? Would her just being a loving wife and a mother who was expecting a second child that was killed in Mexico been enough to get the attention from those in Washington? I'm not sure if it would have been, but I am sure glad Washington is finally y looking this way.
The White House has expressed outrage.
Outrage? We have been talking about this issue for over two years now but have done nothing about. It was a year ago this month that Geraldo Rivera's At Large cable television show was here interviewing some of our local leaders.
Rivera asked "Can the bad guys win?" "Not if we get engaged and we respond to the request for help" answered Congressman Sylvestre Reyes who is also the chair for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Now is the time to engage. The people of El Paso are asking for help.
Sheriff Richard Wiles was asked how he would prevent the bad guys and bad stuff from coming over into his city. His response; "I'm not sure we can to a great degree."
In a separate interview with a local television reporter Wiles stated that he didn't feel the community should panic when asked about the case involving Sergio Saucedo, a Horizon man who was kidnapped from his home and whose body was found mutilated later in Juarez. "I would hope the citizens of El Paso could feel comfort in the fact that they're not going to be targeted unless they are part of the drug trade."
I wonder if he still feels the same now that the violence has taken the life of one of his men?
If that doesn't worry you, Mayor John Cook had an interesting comment himself in the interview with Rivera. "If they were coming over here looking for people related to the cartels then I would be a lot more worried about it than I am today."
Are you worried now Mayor?
Enough is enough! Less talk, more action. Don't tell us we live in one of the safest cities, make us feel like we are safe.
There has been much talk about what we can do to solve the problem. There is no easy answer there is no easy fix.
Some people have said that law enforcement should take on the challenge while others would prefer military boots on the ground.
Gov. Rick Perry just ordered the activation of the first phase of the state's spillover violence contingency plan. "It is imperative that the federal government immediately provide additional resources to prevent spillover violence, but with the safety of Texans on the line, we can't afford to wait."
Now that's some action!
The contingency plan includes increased surveillance of border activity by state and local law enforcement, the Texas Border Security Operations Center, and the Joint Operational and Intelligence Centers, DPS helicopter patrol operations along the Rio Grande River, National Guard helicopters to support aviation missions, DPS SWAT Teams, Trooper Strike Teams and Ranger Recon Teams. Gov. Perry has a standing request with the federal government for 1,000 National Guardsmen to support civilian law enforcement efforts, as well as a more recent request for predator drones to be based in and operate over the Texas-Mexico border.
All that won't solve the problem immediately but it sure will cause those cartel hit men to think twice before coming over here. Why single source? Several heads are better than one. As a former military man, I am a fan of Joint Task Forces. Civilians and military working hand in hand to keep us safe, that's the way it should be.
You can call me a gun toting republican all you want, but this will help me sleep a little better at night.