In May of 1997, US Marines on border patrol near Redford, Texas, shot and killed an American high school student, Esequiel Hernández, who was tending a herd of goats. The targeted killing was the first against a U.S. citizen on native soil by the military since the Kent State killings in 1971.
The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández is a PBS P.O.V. film that will air beginning July 8th at 10:00 PM EST. The film is directed by Kieran Fitzgerald and narrated by Tommy Lee Jones. As some of you may recognize, parts of this story is loosely depicted in Jones' film, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. (Three Burials is one of my favorite movies now, and in my opinion, is far better than No Country For Old Men.)
Redford is home to a population of about 100 people. A very poor town, it boasts a cheese co-operative and a goat herd. Bordering on the Rio Grande, its residents have relatives on both side of the river. A rich heritage of both Mexican and American traditions are part of Redford and its citizens. Median income for families living in this forsaken landscape is around $15,000 a year; 83% living below the poverty line.
A US federal grand jury declined to indict the Marine who shot Esequiel in the back, a single shot that killed the boy where he stood. A big question remains: why didn't the Marines call out to him to identify themselves? Why was there no warning shot fired first instead?
Questions that will have no answers mostly because America is in an ugly mood these days where Mexicans are concerned. I am not the only one who feels that the facts have been covered up for various reasons, not the least of which is Esequiel's skin color and financial status.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the PBS film should prove to be interesting.
My own emotions regarding border protection and reinforcement are all over the board. And what is your position on the ongoing Mexican illegal immigration saga?
Does the sniper-like killing of an American bother you? Do you feel more comfortable not asking yourself the hard questions?