Borderline Madness Headline Animator

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Starr County says whaaat?

You know, life out here in the country is pretty much droll.

Normally, we have nothing else to do other than wait for something interesting to happen, and when it does, we start swarming around like hungry bees.

I mean, it's pretty often that I am sitting at home, minding my own business, when all of a sudden, here comes a relative, friend, or neighbor to ask me if I have heard about what is going on, and my answer is usually, "No I haven't".

Following course, they usually proceed in telling me what just happened, and it never fails that the next person who comes along to tell me the recent exciting events that has the whole town buzzing with excitement, it never fails that they add more to the story than there is to it.

It is why my mom and I usually laugh when we jokingly share news.

"Hey mom!  Did you know there was a car accident down the road?"

"No mija!  Quando paso?"

"It must have been recent because the cops were just arriving.  You should have seen it!  There were 20 police cars, 15 ambulances and they had to bring in 5 helicopters!"

In reality, it normally is just some guy getting pulled over, and because the news is not exciting enough, we make it so.

Now, I admit, I rarely go out and I rarely watch TV, and as a result I often question if the stance that I have taken to protect the border from being demonized is an ignorant one.

I see my reality of life on the border, and pretty much assume that everyone around me lives pretty much the same life style.

I go town.  It's peaceful.  I come back.  It's peaceful.  What a peaceful day!

On the other hand, I wonder if I did myself a great disservice of subscribing to my local news sources.

It pretty much seems that there is something going on every day, and it just reminds me of what my best friend once told me.

She said, "Don't watch the news unless you want to get depressed."

Of course, she was referring to children being murdered or being abused by their parents.  Apparently, there's a story about that every day, and it saddens her that someone would want to hurt their children in such manner.

However, we don't live in fear that our next door neighbor might murder their child, so why do we live in fear that the border is anything like they make it sound on the news?

As an example, the other day I received a call from my husband who asked me to check out the news because apparently he heard that the cartel had crossed to this side and that a war had broke out between them and the local police.

"It's so bad that the local police has requested back up from other cities because they don't have the power to control them.  This has all gone to shit!" he said.

Now, I've always said that the day our borders actually turn into a war zone, I would tell you.

I'm not going to say that it won't suck having to admit that my home has turned into a disaster area, so when my husband told me this, my heart sank.

How could I face my blog and tell them that it has finally begun and that I can no longer defend the border from being maligned?

After such an event, there can be no denying that the borders are dangerous, so to me, it was as if my career had ended.

I checked the local news stations and nothing was on, so I went online to check my news sources on facebook and sure enough, the rumors had started.

"...there is a shooting with the cartel.  There is a bp dead!"

"15 individuals have crossed to this side!"

"I heard that 18 armed men crossed the river near Garceno..."

In the end, the reality turned out to be that there was no border patrol agent dead and it was never confirmed how many individuals really crossed, although one news source stated about 10-15 suspects.

And the shoot out?

There was no shoot out here unless the border patrol are covering up something.

The reason I say that is because the shoot out actually happened IN Mexico, which is why the suspects had to swim the river to get to safety on THIS side.

Where it gets fishy is the part where one of the suspects, who was supposedly shot, is taken to the hospital in Rio Grande City in critical condition.

It's fishy because it begs the question:  How can a critically injured man swim a river in his condition?

Could the border patrol have shot him and disguised it as a consequence of a battle gone wrong in Mexico?

But that's neither here nor there.

The moral of the story is that sometimes things are taken out of context and made to sound more extreme than they really are.

Having said that, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that no war has broken out on our peaceful borders.

Then the next day, as I'm getting ready to go run an errand, my neighbor runs to me in a panic.

"Did you hear about the men that crossed the river yesterday?!!!  The ones that got away are holding the kids at the middle school hostage.  They've thrown road spikes to thwart the police and they are threatening to start shooting the students if the police don't let the other suspects go!  The school has gone into lock down!"


Will it ever end?

So here I go to check out my sources, and guess what, it was all a lie.

No, my neighbor wasn't being intentionally mean.

That's just the way rumors get started and it makes for a great story to us socially deprived border folk.

Unfortunately, it hurts us just the same, and thus, my job gets harder to do, as I don't only have to tackle the exaggerated stories about our borders that are being created by those who don't live here, but I also have to wrestle with the locals who delight on such rumors.

For now, rest assured that our borders are just as safe as they have ever been, and the reality is, the news and rumor is making people panic, including myself I must admit.

Before I end, I want to share a video with you from our local news station that captures the kind of drama that exists here.

The reason I am sharing it is because I live around the area where these residents live and I know for a fact that the situation is not as extreme as they make it sound, but stories like theirs are convincing to others, who tell others, who tell others, until the rumor grows.

One of the posters on the facebook wall for this newstation questioned why the station was only reporting about the negative stories in Starr County, but when something positive happens, they are never there to report it.

I could not agree more with the person who posted that question, and thus, I will do my best to share the positive while I battle the negative.

As a final note, we would like to remind you that we have not given up on the Tiffany Hartley story.  We are still working to resolve some issues and we have not received any new information that we would like to share other than we are still in the process of taking the Sheriff to court for disregarding the attorney general's decision.

Also, we sent out some more complaint letters to the attorney general, which they have already responded to having received.

We also had sent an amended FOIA to customs and border protections, to which they have not responded and are already way past their deadline to respond, so we must now figure out to whom we should address our complaint to.

Until then, rest assured that I am still here and counting on you to stay tuned...

Stop Demonizing Our Borders

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