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Guns don’t kill people: Arizonans with guns kill people

10 January 2011

A 17 year old boy was shot in the back and killed last week in Nogales, Sonora.  The gun was fired in Nogales, Arizona.  The initial explanations from the U.S. Border Patrol made no sense.  As Immigration Clearinghouse posted on Thursday:

It took the players all day to get their stories to a point where it was agreed that the agents fired their weapons into the air, and they put Torres as either “in the US, throwing rocks at agents, when he fell and hit his head on a rock and died”, or, he fell from the fence which he was trying to scale while chunking rocks at BP agents, a truly awesome display of athletic ability were it to be true.

By Friday, Jonathan Clarke, Luis Alatorre and Cesar Barron from the Nogales International were able to piece together what sounds like a more plausible explanation.  Another boy, who admits he was in the United States and was trying to elude the Border Patrol and as the boy admits, “he was wearing a ski mask at the time – to ward off the cold, he said – and the mask may have frightened the agent.”

It’s unlikely (as a federal spokesperson was quoted by Immigration Clearinghouse) that a federal agent would have fired a “warning shot” in a populated area, but it is possible one would have fired off a shot if he felt threatened.  That the International‘s source is admitting to wrong-doing makes the story all that more believable.  The source suggested the agent was shocked by what happened… apparently shooting Ramses Barrón — who was in Mexico — through gaps between the upright metal poles on the fence.  Adding to the plausibility is that no one (not even Barrón’s family, whose claims that the kid was perfect would be taken by any cynical news reporter at less than face value) claims Barrón would not have been likely to cross the fence:  something he did regularly, to see his girl-friend on the Arizona side.

Still, one asks if this would have happened absent the political pressure to put armed guards and a fence through the middle of Nogales  (a la the Berlin Wall) and if Arizona politicians and media figures had not painted informal border crossers (like a teen-aged boy from — literally — the wrong side of town) as criminals, gangsters and terrorists.

Of course, I don’t know the state of mind, the motives or anything about the Border Patrol agent who killed Ramses Barrón, nor do I know anything about Jared Laughner, the apparently disturbed young man who murdered a Federal District Judge, a nine-year old girl, two others and seriously wounded Arizona Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords and several others in Tuscon on Saturday.

It’s clear so far that Giffords was the intended target of the shooter.   Ms. Giffords, a conservative “blue dog” Democrat, was one of those Arizona politicians who did push for armed agents along the border (she was pushing for even more “security” resources that was eventually appropriated) and was a moderate supporter of “gun rights”.   For all that,  Representative Giffords was targeted (literally) by Republican Party opponents as a insufficiently reactionary for an Arizona politico.  As a Latin American scholar (and former Fullbright Fellow, working at the University of Chihuahua) she was considered slightly more reasonable by Mexican and Mexican-American activists than other Arizona politicians.  That alone makes her a “liberal” by Arizona standards.

Although there have been attempts to “explain” Jared Laughner in terms of left-wing politics, it is becoming more and more apparent that his peculiar obsessions were ones usually found on the extreme right of U.S. politics.  Of course, I tend to think the right-wing is nuts, but this guy was, from all indications, completely bonkers, and, if it hadn’t been some obsession with the gold standard and “mind control” through grammar, it would have been something equally wacky.

Certainly, the rancid political climate in Arizona that he glommed on to, in a state where guns are more easily available, even for the mentally disturbed, than most places. had a lot to do with this tragedy.  The Arizona Legislature, by the way, last year made it easier for the mentally ill to buy guns, and slashed funding for mental health treatment.




4 Comments leave one →
  1. El Chismoso permalink
    10 January 2011 9:39 am

    The “Mexfiles” doesn’t comment much about Mexicans killing other Mexicans. But will defintely comment about a Mexican killed by an American. And of course if a person is killed in Arizona that will elicit a long comment. Go Figure?

  2. JC Brown permalink
    10 January 2011 11:20 am

    Jared Loffner’s rampage did not take place in Tucson; in happened in the city of Sierra Vista, about 70 some miles south-east from Tucson. Your comment on the state of Arizona making it easier for anyone to purchase firearms is totally erroneous and based on misinformation. The most stringent restrictions on purchasing firearms by criminals or mentally incapable people are contained in the Federal Firearms Law of 1968, which prohibits such purchases. These laws are still in force in Arizona and the entire country.

  3. El Chismoso permalink
    11 January 2011 6:45 am

    Don’t forget machetes don’t kill people, well maybe if the machetes are used in Acapulco.


  1. The Other Arizona Shooting | VivirLatino

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