Negative painting with a broad brush
In response to the Aug. 5 column written by Ruben Navarrette titled “Maybe Mad Men can Improve the Image of Border Patrol Agents,” I would offer another biased point of view. I say biased because I am a retired U.S. Border Patrol Agent having served nearly 30 years on the southern border. During that time from 1978 to 2008, I have served either permanently or in a temporary capacity in every uniformed position at the Station and Sector level.
I cannot speak to the allegations of abuse listed by Navarrette as I have no personal knowledge of the facts. Does the Border Patrol have employees who have violated policy and procedure? Certainly; just as does the myriad other enforcement agencies and for that matter civilian companies. As a sector level manager, I had oversight of the investigation of employee misconduct. I can state unequivocally that all allegations of abuse were thoroughly investigated and culminated in one of three results: Agent exoneration, administrative discipline or referral for criminal prosecution.
During my career, I have witnessed many actions by agents that embody the true spirit of compassion, heroism, and professionalism. I have seen agents give their lunches to those apprehended and purchase out of their own pockets food and baby formula for those detained. I have seen agents work double and triple shifts only to return to the station from their homes with spare children’s clothing to give to detained minors.
I have written and presented numerous awards and commendations for life-saving acts; rescues from the heat of the summer desert, water rescues from the treacherous All American Canal, pulling the injured from fiery vehicle accidents, and providing medical care to illegals suffering gunshot wounds after being fired upon by their own military. These characteristics personify most agents.
What Navarrette and other pundits fail to mention is that the Border Patrol does not remove children from their parents as a matter of course. The Patrol performs these actions in accordance with regulations and policies promulgated by Court Decisions, the Department of HHS, ICE, the Office of Juvenile Affairs, the Office of Refugee Resettlement and others. Often the question of familial relationship cannot be verified and the juvenile in question may be held until a proper sponsor or disposition can be made. I think all would agree that this is more desirable than releasing someone of tender years to an irresponsible or worse person.
Hatred has to be taught
I write this with an extremely heavy heart. I simply cannot get the pictures of family members and friends of those killed in the Texas and Ohio shootings out of my mind. I so often ask myself “how do killers ever get to be the way they are?” Only one fact remains. They got to be the way they are because parents, teachers and the rest of society failed in their duties. We’ve let our youths down — terribly.
No baby on Earth was born with hatred. Hatred has to be taught. A child grows absorbing all the philosophies of his parents, teachers, friends. He learns from them exactly how he should view others — what side, so to speak, he should take. And now we see the outcomes of what we bestowed — or haven’t bestowed.
It starts with you, parents. You are fundamental, both by teaching and by action, to implant in the heart of your child the Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” A powerful and loving faith breeds a powerful and loving person.
As a former teacher, I know it has come to the point where lessons in caring should trump over curriculum. There is no more room for prejudice or racism. The formative years of your students will either make or break them as adults. How much longer will it take before we wake up? Before another tragic shooting occurs?
Regulation for deadly weapons
With the devastation of our communities by hateful and legally armed madmen, I would like to propose that we fly all flags at half-mast continually until such time as the nation’s leaders pass effective gun control legislation. I am tired of seeing the flag lowered every time I go to the library or pass a bank, business or school. There have been over 250 mass shootings this year and over 130 deaths so it is only proper to honor each one of those killed by flying the flag at half staff. With the addition of all the other victims of crime and domestic violence, it would seem fitting that the flag should be at half-staff constantly.
Here is something that should be considered regarding common-sense gun safety. Regulation is used by government to restrict individual rights for the common welfare. Every government must negotiate how to encourage economic development while also ensuring public safety. Regulations, and the rights they affect, are therefore not static; as industries, technologies, and society evolve, the range of rights considered sacrosanct and those the government deems necessary to regulate also shifts. So I would suggest that this is the time when government needs to exert the amount of necessary regulation in regards to gun rights. Until then, pause, reflect and be grateful that the flag is not lowered for you or someone you love.
Cheerleading is a sport, too
My name is Sierra Dooley. I am a Scout in Troop 77 on the Air Force Academy. I am working on my communication merit badge and would like to express my opinion.
I am a varsity cheerleader for Manitou Springs High School. I believe cheerleading is a sport and not an activity. There are two types of cheerleading. There are the game-day aspects and the competitive aspects. Game day consists of sideline activities and dance routines. This also involves school spirit and support for the other teams. While the more competitive side includes stunts, tumbling and dancing. The act of stunting and dancing are physical, requiring varying degrees of strength and conditioning.
Tumbling can be closely associated with gymnastics, a globally recognized Olympic sport. Given this, why isn’t cheer considered a sport? It is believed that a group that supports other teams can’t be competitive. There are many national and even global cheer competitions. In multiple sports there are different positions, thus requiring different strengths and skills. If one person doesn’t fight for the overall success, it fails. Cheerleading is the same, if one person doesn’t execute the stunt correctly it falls. Cheerleading is a sport that not only supports our teammates but our community.