Things have been heating up on the Mexican-American border at a spot known as Black Bridge, one of the international bridges that connects El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. A U.S. Border Patrol officer shot and killed a 14-year-old boy, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca. That’s the end of any agreement on what happened. Each country has its own side of the story.
The short version, according to Tony Payan, special to CNN:
The boy lay dead on the Mexican side and the Border Patrol agent was removed from the scene by U.S. officials. American officials say it was a case of self-defense. Mexican authorities condemned the killing as the use of excessive force.
The facts are still coming out, but based on the English and the Spanish news reports, it is easy to see that the two sides do not agree on the particulars, much less on their interpretation.
To people across the two nations who see reports of the death on TV or in the papers, it’s a dramatic news story — a boy with a bullet in his head and an agent under investigation. But here at the border, the scene, the actors, the act — as if carefully choreographed, chosen and scripted — read like an up-close metaphor for everything that is broken with our border and with immigration.
A dead kid is not the kind of incident we need. An endangered border patrol agent doesn’t bode real well with the American people either, especially after the incident several years ago with agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean who were sent to prison for shooting a drug smuggler in the rear end.
Meanwhile the Mexican government has demanded that the border agent be turned over to them for killing a kid in Mexico. The FBI is treating the case as an assault on a federal agent. It sounds like no good will come from this case. Americans are not going to tolerate its border patrol agents being used as cannon fodder.
It sounds like this is an area that needs a new tall, strong fence, given past history in the region. This location is one of the most violent and the dead boy has been linked to drug smuggling. Both countries will have their martyrs.
We either mean business or we don’t. We can’t have our agents and military personnel shooting rubber bullets. Kids who want to throw rocks and anything else at our agents are endangering lives, both their own and the agents, and they need to learn that American kids die every day because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, often doing the wrong thing. It sounds harsh but that is the reality.