Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Part 3 of a 5 part JPS Brown interview

11)You made your first trip to Mexico almost 75 years ago. It has always been a wild & lawless sort of place, but do the things going on today down there even amaze you?

Mexico has a core of very fine and elegant people and that will never change. They are stubborn about not allowing their youngsters to stray from that core, and that is what makes me say that they’ll not change. People who are influenced to stray from that core, mainly the youngsters, become the thugs of their generation. What bothers me most is that thugs have been taking on hero status. The corridos, folk-ranch songs, used to tell romantic tales of great and noble and romantic hero's, love of the land, love of the livestock. Today the corridos romanticize the smugglers, murderers, victims of the cartels, thugs, and belittle their white gringo enemies.

People had just begun to notice that their youth was beginning to stray about the time I came out to live and ranch again on this side of the line in 1974. Youngsters began to take marijuana and cocaine at that time. Before that, a marijuano, one who stooped so low as to take it, was a pariah in his society. The town dogs and little children chased him down the street. Before that, in the interior, women didn’t go barelegged or in slacks. They put a re bozo, a shawl, over their head when they walked to town. They carried a parasol. Not any more. They are all almost exactly like American kids now, with little modesty, little self-respect, little respect for anyone else, except for the ones who stand erect in the core of their families.

12) I just read where a farmer from Bisbee, Az. was murdered on his farm near the border. I'm sure you're aware of it and possibly even knew the gentleman. Some reports claim he was killed by the drug cartel and others claim he was killed by illegal immigrants crossing back and forth. I'd really like to hear your thoughts on the border issue and the drug wars that are raging all through Mexico.

I live on the border. My family settled here in 1850 when it was still Mexico. At one time mine was the largest Anglo family in the region. Only a few of us remain. Of course, Mexican families that were here three hundred years before mine are still here, only now much more plentiful than Anglo families. Why is it so surprising that they want to come back? It doesn’t surprise me any more than the migration of wild ducks surprises me.

In my childhood, Anglo families owned most of the businesses. Now, Mexican families do as they did before Anglos came here. Anglo families in my day all spoke Spanish as well as they did English, learned Spanish as their first language, because they spoke it more as children. My mother and her brothers grew up in the culture of Sonora and were more like Sonorans than they were like people of Phoenix or Prescott or any Arizona people who lived north of Tucson. Sonorans were and are more like people of Southern Arizona than they were or are like their countrymen in states south of Sonora. I also feel more akin to Sonorans than I do to my own countrymen. This is true of almost all ranchers and farmers of this area, except, or course, the dudes who have come from the east and bought up a lot of the ranches.

I didn’t know Mr. Krantz. I met him at a book signing in the Gadsden hotel in Douglas a year or two ago and liked him and talked to him for awhile. He liked my books a lot.

There are four kinds of illegal border crossers that are swarming into our country. Among the thugs are the ones who come in files that resemble paramilitary combat patrols, big, husky youngsters, well shod, well equipped, well armed. They have all, or more, of the technology, including satellite technology, that our own military does, and I suspect, better technology. These crossers have strict orders not to engage anybody, not even to ask for a drink of water. They carry the three powders, meth, heroin, cocaine and they carry 120 or 130 pounds of gear including their payload. They will defend it, but they are much better armed than our Border Patrol and local county and city police and so far no firefights have occurred.

These cartel men march all the way to Tucson at night, because the farther they get from the border, the safer it is for them. Besides that, the BP and other law enforcement have roadblocks on the freeways and highways and patrol the roads in their four-wheel pickups, and carry small arms that are no match for any paramilitary unit. The BP truck is more often than not manned by a single man or woman. I had a flat tire the other day on the Harshaw road and a little girl BP who could not have weighed 110 stopped to help me.

The second kind of crosser is a more ragtag drug trafficker who gets paid by the load. Some are thugs and some are not. This kind goes unarmed, but well shod and clothed. He always straggles back as far as he can go and unless overcome by bad weather or accident, he walks all the way back across the line. However, if something waylays him, usually bad weather, he gives himself up to a BP patrol car and is taken to Tucson, processed, then taken to a border crossing and turned loose.

The third kind of crosser is the man, or woman, or child whose shoes wear out before they cross the first ranch on the American side. Of course, 99 percent of all illegal foot traffic crosses American ranches. This third kind of crosser has always been and will always be helped by people who ranch on this border, unless the rancher is a dude and can’t tell a trafficker in stout boots from a ragged and barefoot person seeking work.

I live on the Rocking Chair ranch on Harshaw Creek road. All kinds of traffickers come by my house and past my horse corral all the time. If I started a war against every crosser I saw or who asked me for help, drug trafficker, or seeker of a better life, I would not last long. All I have to do to have a better than average chance of not being molested, is to show a little compassion from time to time and to live and let live.

Of course there is one other kind of crosser, and he is called a pollero. A pollero is a hawk that preys on baby chickens. This pollero preys on his own people who are weakened and vulnerable from hunger and exhaustion and exposure. These polleros cross to catch their countrymen when they are at their worst, take them back, sell them into all kinds of slavery, rob them, take the tikes for adoption organizations, or sell them to cold-blooded sonsofbitches who kill them for their organs, steal from ranchers, burglarize, invade homes of old people and of women and children.

These are the dangerous ones. They often come across loaded with dope with an independent, non-cartel group, but after they hand over their cargo they look for something to steal, or hurt on their way back to Mexico.

One of these might have shot Mr. Krantz just to watch him die. The rancher might have caught him in the act of trying to steal. He might have decided to show cruelty instead of compassion. He might have tried to apprehend a crosser…..or he might have made an enemy of one of his own neighbors. I can’t judge the victim and I can’t judge the killer. I know this, I am armed everywhere I go. When I carry coffee and doughnuts, blankets and dry socks to crossers who straggle sopping wet onto my porch in a winter rainstorm, I carry them in one hand because my .22 Beretta or my .38 special is in my other and in plain sight, although pointed at the ground.

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