Trigger happy on the border

On Oct. 25, a state trooper fired an AR-10 rifle from a helicopter killing two Guatemalan nationals and injuring another near La Joya.

Nine Guatemalans and one driver, who were initially suspected of drug smuggling, were instead proven to be transporting people into the U.S. underneath a tarp in the bed of a red pick-up truck.

The state police worked in conjunction with the Parks and Wildlife Department, which is now presumably in the business of flat-out murder, to chase down the truck along a farmer’s market road.

One of the suspects’ testimony said the tarp flew off during the pursuit, making it more than obvious there were no smuggled drugs.

The crime these Guatemalan nationals were committing was a civil offense and surely not grounds for firing at the passengers.

At best, this was an honest mistake the trooper made, resulting in the loss of two lives. But the reality is, this was a calculated shooting that was sanctioned by local authorities under the pre-text of the tireless War on Drugs. The unrestrained use of deadly force the officer displayed, when there was no imminent threat towards his own safety, is deplorable.

It’s easy to make a case against illegal aliens, but these people had families who will miss them dearly because one man decided it was OK to open fire on a truck full of people.

The suspects were endangering people’s safety on the roads because of their pursuit, but nothing endangers civilians’ safety more than showering the ground with bullets from a helicopter.

There was only one person who could have made the decision to continue running from the police: the person behind the wheel of the car, who wasn’t killed.

The officer has been sent on administrative leave — a euphemism for waiting until things cool down.

The use of deadly force on vehicles, especially when unarmed suspects are in plain view, sets a violent precedent for handling conflicts that increasingly creates a feeling of combativeness in U.S. border towns.

Using the prevalence of actual drug smuggling activities along the border to mollify the termination of humans with extreme prejudice is ignorant. After all, the rhetoric that leads to believe these Central American immigrants are drug smugglers is the same one that designates Cubans as refugees instead of illegal aliens.

Try and find the last time a Cuban immigrant was shot from a helicopter, in yet all along the U.S. border is turning the region into the tribal areas of Pakistan — a war zone.

Nick Bell is a media production senior and may be reached at [email protected].

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