Three Americans illegally enter the United States from Mexico

April 14, 2006

Mexico Border Crossingby Wiley Davis, Neil Zawicki, and R.D. Phares

The idea for this article started with a question. What would it be like to illegally enter the United States from Mexico? We had all read the stories about increased Border Patrol activities, including their use of high-tech surveillance equipment developed for the U.S. military. It was mostly a challenge, an adventure, a jaunt. Rather like playing hide and seek when you were a kid, only this time the stakes would be higher. What began initially as an idea for a stunt over a few beers quickly evolved into the article you are about to read. Jaunt Magazine is about travel, adventure, culture, and exploration. What better way to combine these elements than to use a daring illegal border crossing as a glue that ties together a story about an issue that has tempers flaring, politicians in a reactionary uproar, and human beings given the title "Illegal Alien". So on November 5, three of us, Neil, Ron, and myself drove to Douglas, Arizona with the intent to enter the United States Illegally.

Wiley Davis:

Indecision gets the best of me and I just stand there, holding the video camera, unable to decide whether to remain standing, or to crouch behind the bushes. Ten yards ahead of me is a single file line of illegal immigrants approximately thirty-five in number, shuffling silently through the hushed desert, towards an uncertain fate. The decision to hide wins out, but before I can bend down behind the dry brush, the last in line, a boy no more than fifteen years old, turns around and looks at me. I slowly lower the video camera and give a quick nod. The boy turns around and catches up with the group, not willing to linger too long in a world that is foreign to both of us. I have difficulty imagining how pronounced the differences between his childhood and mine are.

Growing up in San Diego, California, I have been surrounded by the immigration issues between the United States and Mexico from day one. There was a time, during the height of my hormonally driven political escapades in high school, when I was a staunch supporter of the Border Patrol and the immigration policy it enforced. I went to rally's and held up signs championing causes such as proposition 187, and generally ignored the fact that the immigration issue's heart and soul wasn't the statistics and rhetoric, it was the immigrants themselves and the hope they had for better lives. I will be the first to admit I allowed myself to be caught up in the bullshit. A battle between groups of narrow-minded people culled into a unified stance by the lies and half-truths of statistics. But growing up in San Diego it was also hard to ignore the influence of Mexican culture. It was a part of everything I knew. Taco stands were more American to me than McDonalds, and my home was built on a plateau city named La Mesa, or "the table". All around me, the Mexican influence was apparent, but to me it wasn't Mexican, it was American. Back then my perspective wasn't wide enough to see that the distinctions between "Illegal Alien" and neighbor are built on misconceptions and hatred.

In researching this article I have talked with vigilante ranchers, conflicted border patrol agents, impassioned lawyers and activists, frightened senior citizens, and several militant Latinos. I have gone to INS scoping sessions, ridden along with the U.S Border patrol in Douglas, Arizona, and illegally entered the United States through an area other than an authorized border-crossing checkpoint. Through it all, what struck me repeatedly was the age difference between the two sides. Demographically speaking, the anti-immigrant group is comprised of the elderly, a group resistant to change, scared by the cultural shift that has taken place along the border cities, they are the most vocal opponents in the game. This was most apparent at the INS scoping session held in Tucson, Arizona. The session was designed to field input from citizens about the INS plans to increase Border Patrol activity east of Douglas. Included in these plans are an increase in the number of Border Patrol agents, installation of portable lighting units, installation of more infrared camera towers, and the necessary infrastructure that goes with these enhancements (roads, clearing of brush, etc.). The meeting allowed for public comment and that is exactly what was given. One after another people spoke at the microphone, voicing their opinions, almost forty in all. Of the dozen anti-immigration speakers, not a one was younger than fifty. All of them talked about living in fear of the immigrant problem.

The pro-immigration speakers lacked such demographic unity however. They ranged from bright-eyed teenagers intent on making a difference, to well-traveled seniors speaking from a wizened perspective on the injustices of INS policy. Patchouli scented neo-hippies preached about the evils of light pollution caused by the generator powered light towers used by the Border Patrol to make it easier to spot illegal border crossers. They complained of the damage done to the environment by new roads built to aid the Border patrol in its duties. They lamented the plight of the bunny rabbits, called the meeting's arbitrator a Nazi, and at times created a disturbance. As the meeting progressed, and the tensions rose, a thread of similarity emerged in the varied ranks of the pro-immigration speakers. It wasn't readily noticeable at first, the many speakers being so diverse with numerous agendas, but eventually it became clear that all of them had either the perspective to see that diversity is a strengthening characteristic of a society, or they had the myopic aggression of youth that mandated a bucking of the system. A system that we intended to buck ourselves.

Spotting the group of immigrants had me psyched. Adrenaline was surging through me, and suddenly the rain jacket that I had on was providing more insulation than I needed. It was one of those moments on the cusp of going in any direction. That boy could have shouted, alerted the group and caused a panic or worse, a confrontation. Instead, he maintained a level of composure not normally found in a person so young, and continued without a word on his journey. Slightly confused I'm sure by the sight of three Americans with cameras walking around in a desert that to him was hostile territory. In that moment the sum of all the research I had been doing for the past few weeks, and all the news stories I had seen about illegal immigration came home to roost. This was not an issue of statistics and political wrangling. This was an issue about human beings with as much right to do what they are doing as any legal citizen. Here in the desert, passing one another in the calm of the evening, we are simply people, outside the influence of governmental bodies. Out here it is easy to see how it is a mistake to think that the U.S. government grants us the right to act freely when in reality these things are inherent in us as people, not citizens. Governments are only capable of taking away our liberties, not granting them.

Earlier in the day, we had gone on a ride along with a Douglas Border Patrol agent. His answers to our questions were tainted with equal parts hesitation and calculation. His uneasiness is understandable given the Border Patrol's mission, and the fine line it walks while performing that mission. I can imagine that their job is one giant public relations nightmare. The agents themselves are often torn between duty and personal feelings. The agency's demand for new recruits must be tempered with the public's demand for compassionate officers that aren't out there to fulfill racist agenda's. The individual agents are not bad people. They are at the front lines of the issue and deal with the problem on a human scale that has to cause doubt about the moral justification for their actions. It is a tough position to be in, and it makes sense why the agent driving us around seems to debate our questions amongst himself without ever arriving at a definitive answer.

Definitive answers, I've come to find, are rare. Solutions are even scarcer. The problem is not immigration. Immigration is only a symptom of the disparity between the economic situations of Mexico and the United States. Until this disparity is equalized, immigration will be a factor. In fact, movement as a means to better oneself is an entirely American trait. Morally, the only just policy can be one of an open border, without immigration constraints. An open border is not an economic solution however, and it will not solve the problem.

Ahead of us lies a four- foot barbed wire fence. On the other side is a brown steel tower topped by two infrared cameras facing east and west. The cameras are capable of picking up body heat in the dead of night, but the cameras have no way to see what they aren't pointed at. In this case, that means north or south. We have followed a narrow path of footprints through the desert that makes a beeline directly for the tower. By taking this route, the cameras are unable to see us as we approach the U.S. border, which is protected only by this myopic tower and a humble fence intended primarily to keep out livestock. Ron is the first one through the fence. I watch closely as he ducks beneath the strands of rusty barbed wire, looking for any noticeable change as he crosses from one nation to the other. To my untrained eye he still looks like just another person trying to earn a living.

Neil Zawicki:

There is a battle in the desert, waged with high-tech machinery, six guns and raw will. The opposing forces are locked in a circular clash of policy and determination. Along the Mexican Border in Arizona, thousands of immigrants risk the elements, arrest and betrayal each month to make a better life. A federal frontier force of 1,241 spends every waking hour trying to stop the influx from the south, and ranchers are picking up their guns and guarding their property from theft and damage. While hundreds of immigrants die each year in southern Arizona, the problem has activist groups holding the Immigration and Naturalization Service responsible, accusing the agency of everything from racial profiling to negligent homicide. Cochise County Sheriff Dale Deever, who has lived in southern Arizona all his life, said the problem lies not only with the lack of control on the border, but with issues of private property; 40% of Cochise County is privately owned.

"I've had immigrants come through my back corral here," Sheriff Deever said. "We've long ago surpassed a point of frustration, to a point of anger toward the INS and its policies." The Sheriff is addressing the INS policy of funneling immigrants away from the Texas and California borders, into Cochise County in Arizona.

"Doris Meisner, the INS Commissioner, said she thought if they funneled the immigrants into the barren deserts, they would all go home," Deever said. "The thing is, these people don't have a home to go back to. They've already made up their minds." The edge of our nation in Arizona is by all accounts a war zone.

Outside looking in

We made our way up the main drag, past the pale concrete shops, loose dogs, and old lanky gringo cowboys who walked silently through sunlit dust that floated in the Mexican air. Agua Prieta at midday has the eerie whisper of a ghost town, although it is home to 170,000 people, a huge jump from the 15,000 in Douglas, and receives hundreds by bus each day, each with the resolution to run the gauntlet and head north.To the north is the United States, the empire. The land was once Mexican, until the empire purchased it. Now, the separation of economic prosperity and power is made brutally apparent through the presence of steel sheeted walls, floodlights, and armed officers parked in their trucks on the empire side, facing Mexico.

At night, we walked through the neighborhoods that lie feet from the wall. Floodlights blare like white suns onto the Mexican homes, casting pale shadows down the dirt streets. Holes are dug beneath the wall, sending the bright light upward into Mexico. Stray cats come and go from these holes with diplomatic immunity.

The defensive posture is needed in a country with so much allure. The U.S. Border Patrol in Douglas, AZ, a force of around 450 officers, carries out its orders around the clock, apprehending 250 unauthorized immigrants each day-a drop from the 1500 per day just one year ago. Still, the condition is urgent.

In the trenches

Officer Justin Bristow of the U.S. Border Patrol showed us the areas of conflict.The strategy of containment is known as "gain, maintain, and expand." On the line that separates Douglas from Agua Prieta, a "gained" area, walls sheered with corrugated tin, separate the two nations. Foliage is stripped away to prohibit concealment. Trucks, muddied from constant use, sit parked and manned, "maintaining" and scanning the fence line for illegal activity. Busses transport relief officers, rotating shifts, keeping a 24-hour watch on the border. The trucks have steel cages on the windows, to prevent injury or death from flying bricks; anonymous mortar volleys from the Mexican side. Officers have been hit and even hospitalized from these assaults, while the entrance activity in these areas has dropped off to nothing.

In the "expand" areas, the walls are absent, substituted by a three-strand barbed wire fence. The desert is thick with mesquite and yucca plants. These areas are patrolled by mounted teams, riding ATV's. Motion sensors and cameras are also employed.

"This is the area we don't yet have control of," Officer Bristow tells us, rumbling down a backcountry road. "This is a big frustration because we get a lot of walkers through here."

The immigrants will move through this area, about 6 miles west of Douglas, crossing low mountain ranges and vast stretches of dry country, to meet with "Coyotes," people who are paid large sums to transport these determined people north to Tucson and Phoenix, and ultimately to all parts of the country.

Chewing the same dirt

This is what we wanted to know: what is it like out there? What does an illegal immigrant face to get here? The only way to know was to do it ourselves.

The plan was made to enter the country through the desert-right through the back door. This is unmanned country, patrolled sparsely and filled with stray cattle. The only people out there are trying not to be caught. Some are armed smugglers. Others are desperate and nervous. They all have a lot to lose. This is the most ill-advised day hike in Arizona.

Pulling the Job

So, we came back around to the Hotel Gadsden in downtown Douglas. We were tooling up to pull the job, as it were. The lobby of the hotel is tremendous. Real old west action. We were in the middle, back dropped by the opulent marble staircase that Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa rode his horse up back in 1906. His ghost was breathing through the walls as the Hispanic bellman looked on, and a fattened family on vacation stood with cameras around their necks. The plan was changing. At first, we held to the model of two crossing as the third orbits out in the empire, waiting to pick the ground crew up. But a random search at the border by Customs put a new edge on our mission. Now there was no interest by anyone in being the "outside" operative. The move was made to get out of town, ruck up, illegally cross the border into Mexico, and then return.

The Army Field Manual on Survival Evasion and Escape (FM 21-76), page 259 suggests, "Customs of local people require study to avoid being conspicuous." As the afternoon sun lit the vast expanse of desert heading south, we parked our car, an upscale, waspy, Champaign colored import sedan, at the Cochise County community college, a modest campus along a blank stretch of desert highway.

There it is, the tip off: Our staging area for this bold adventure into international law breaking was a community college campus. We chose this because the abandoned Spanish Fort just down the road, which once gave host to bands of mustachioed bandits and renegade Apaches, and had stood for 240 years, was now being used as a golf 'n stuff, and so was entirely too crowded for our covert activity. After all, we are still in America. The air of romance was our first casualty.

But Any dull eyed security guard witnessing the three of us suiting up with field gear and camera equipment would surely conclude that we were just some happy students going camping, and not three low-rent adventurers out to break in to Mexico.

In it now

It was near dusk and about 30 minutes into the incursion when we came across the dead coyote. Partially decayed, but still half covered with fur, it had a death snarl, and one arm held up across its head, as if it died protecting itself from a brutal predatory act.

As we continued to move through the flat, high grass desert, which was peppered with yuccas and low mesquite trees, we became silent. We moved with a swift efficiency, highly alert to any sound. This was odd because we were wearing bright orange or cobalt blue jackets, not the picture of sneaky at all. And we were still safe, being residents of the empire, but the spooky nature of the area gave us cause to move with careful precision. As we neared the border, we became more like ghosts.

On the horizon was a camera tower, which stoically surveyed the border for any immigrants, or even random, stunt-driven adventure journalists moving toward the edge.

We decided to head straight for the camera tower, assuming it was only looking east and west, and not north at all. The worn footpath and stashes of water jugs under trees provided clues we were right in our strategy, and we would soon receive confirmation in the form of a northbound train of nervous new Americans.


Deeper into the desert, and near dusk, our crackerjack ground team held up in a stand of creosote. I remember turning around to see Wiley operating the camera, and Ron silently motioning to be still and look to the right. I couldn't see from where I was, so, using an improvised hand-and-arm signal language, I asked him if he had seen another bull, or other people. He drew a large circle around his head, and then mimed the strumming of a guitar. This is clearly the universal hand-and arm signal for Latin Immigrants. I looked out to notice a line of at least 25 people, moving quietly but resolutely. They were not more that 20 yards from our position, and we watched as these bold new U.S. residents plodded toward the prize. The last one in line turned in time to see me, and we both stood silently, not moving, until he turned and continued north. Ships in the night. One free, one desperate, and probably now very confused.

Survival, Evasion, and Escape (FM 21-76) page 299: "The best way through a wall or fence is the gate." The camera tower was unmanned, and still warm from the passing of our earlier northbound company. A quick jog across the dirt road that runs the border line put us on the Mexican side. Ron was the first one in, creeping through a wide spot in the fence. A quick look at the GPS confirmed or occupation of Mexican soil. We were in. We moved further south, and observed a railroad bridge, which gave way to an obviously well traveled footpath.

Stacks of blankets and water jugs decorated the crawl space below the bridge. This was a major hub, a rally point for the huddled masses at the back door.

From here, we returned north. It was nearly dark now, and we had another country to break into. Our skip across the road and back into the empire was punctuated by the unmistakable rumbling of an approaching truck. As it rounded the hill just 50 yards from our position, we identified it as a U.S. Border patrol vehicle; just like the kind we rode in only that morning. It seemed we were about to get another ride.

Survival, Evasion and Escape, (FM 21-76), page 237: "To avoid being killed or captured by forces searching an area, select a hiding place at a safe distance." Our team quickly selected a hiding place at a safe distance. I was convinced the truck was heading straight for us. I began to consider how the conversation would go."Yes sir, we're just three happy students out for a hike at dusk with camera equipment feet from the Mexican border." Surely, the officer would be the same one we rode with that morning, causing for an awkward reunion at best.To our surprise, the truck kept moving, and was soon out of sight.

Later, once it was dark, we thought we might stake out the footpath and wait for a new column of immigrants to come through. We thought better of it in favor of a swift completion of the mission. We were eager to return to the wasp mobile, to say we did it. To laugh. Besides, just 20 minutes away was the rustic old west town of Bisbee, where whiskey, tacos, and pool with latter-day gold prospectors wearing Van Halen T-shirts awaited us. If those immigrants we saw are worth their blisters, they'll go no further north than to the outlaw, stranded comfort that is the town of Bisbee.

R D Phares:

It was certainly an offense. That may have been the only certainty. We were trespassing in another man's domain, of ownership or exodus depending on the direction of your foot prints. I'm just not sure which we we're mocking more: international or natural law. Curiosity had drawn us to the American/Mexican border, but curiosity is a difficult defense. And anyway, it wasn't as simple as guilt or innocence, not for anyone involved, not for the law man, not for the illegal immigrant, not for the rancher who owned the land and, least of all, not for us. We were on more than a political border. We walked the periphery of ethics, laws and languages. And as on all perimeters, everything was in degrees: the light, the right, and the sense of security. All these shadows of ambiguity emanated from a single floodlight lit fence of steel or barbed wire or protocol demarking not only nation states, but also states of being.

Thin, dark clouds let in enough light to see, funneling strands of sun out to the flanks of distant mountains. We walked into this, a suspension of day and night, stepping through knee high yellow grass and clawing thickets of mesquite and creosote. The cloud cover provided a false dusk. Dusk has long been held in sacred esteem as a time when neither light nor dark dominates, opposites are in balance, and revelation seeps in through cracked clockwork. The clouds kept it dusk for hours. We had come at an appropriate moment.

Initially, the way was easy. We hustled across the interstate marking the start and eventual finish line and set out across a long strip of grass, punctuated in spots by patches of dirt and shrubs, which swept out from the freeway. We were casual, as though just returning from a trip to a convenience store, laden with the muted hope, fear, brashness and self doubt latent in all us well meaning suburban boys. Wearing a red coat and khakis. Wearing a company hat and cargo pants. V-necked, name brands and hiking boots. We strode, Wiley, Neil and I like some crossbreed of Musketeers and Muppets. The talk was wide and I don't remember about what, but only occasionally touched on our strategy and direction. Perhaps it reflected our path, which, as I've said, was easy. The grass, parted by animals, immigrants, ATV's, or perhaps all three, laid directionally down, defining a trail running roughly south. This is not to say we were unaware. Cavalier as we may have been, we were not ignorant of the dangers. But here it begins to muddle. What were the consequences of discovery? Border patrol detain, identify, advise and generally release first time illegal immigrants back in their country of origin. So time, pride and money are risked. But were we, U.S. citizens who, at that time, had crossed no border, under the jurisdiction of that federal agency? What of the local NGO's? The drug and human smuggling operations in the region do not labor under the restrictive weight of procedure that slows justice north of the border. Where did we fall on their ledger of risk versus consequence? Our well rehearsed Spanish, "No desanar, soy escribero de revista," or "Via con dios, viva libre," may well wind up more of an epithet than a pacifier. Is it death then? Or would all of them dismiss us as mere interlopers? Harmless idiots joy riding on the hope stained backs, fear strained faces of desperate people in rags and uniform. On a slow day in Douglas 250 illegals are apprehended by the U.S. federals. However, more robust numbers of 1,500 fill what must be infinite tomes of the daily arrest logs during the high season in the spring. 1,500 people in one day. And that's just the ones that are caught. And that's just in Douglas. The Border Patrol facility there has become the largest employer in town. They labor under policies they did not create, and perceptions they'd rather dispel.

Earlier in the day, we were escorted by Agent Justin Bristow in an INS converted Ford 4×4 along the border road. Still fresh faced, the grizzled countenance of an old hand was some years in the future. But if his face did not betray an accrued wisdom, his measured responses to our questions were every bit the five year veteran he was. This was a young, ruddy faced border cop come out all the way from New Jersey because he'd studied Justice at Rutgers and the INS was hiring. He'd since been able to write home telling of the time he'd walked in a hundred people from the desert all by himself. One man leading one hundred out of the Promised Land. That is not to suggest that he is that callous nor that commanding. "If you don't have a sense of compassion, you probably won't make it as an agent with all the things that requires," he said as we bounced over the rain rutted truck-gutter cut out of the desert bush. Most of the crossers don't carry the armaments of those smugglers who stand to lose profit if caught. Most of them are packing just juice, cookies and diapers.

That evidence littered the desert floor. Empty water bottles and food wrappers indicated that we were on the right path. The remains of human passage nudged open the door of reality and our conversation, so bold moments before shuffled into silence, Bristow's comments of the general passivity of crossers fading with the sun.

It became starkly clear in the settling dusk that this entire operation, from our own participation to the law enforcement and the desperation of the illegals was an all too human affair. As such it was fraught with invisible fears and fallibility. There was something terribly wrong out there that was not caused by the border, but nonetheless manifested there. It hung in the border air like the hot breath of Shiva and was itself the human reaction to destruction. And we were headed straight for it.

It was dusk and there were no shadows. But the things that were dark were getting darker and I hadn't thought to note the sun for some time. We walked quietly, stepping with care, bending and twisting to create the least sound possible. The path still stretched clearly before us and had entered another band of dense, tall scrub. These bushes were skeletal and had been so for some time judging by the carpet of mulched leaves underfoot. Ahead of me Neil was about to disappear into their arms. Behind me, Wiley had halted still. Strange. He was slightly crouched but rigid, like an old bloodhound on the scent. I followed the direction of his video camera's eye and upon seeing his subject, immediately whistled to Neil like they do in war movies. It worked. Neil turned and I managed to convey urgency through pantomime. We three frozen expeditonaries held our breath and listened.

From my sunken vantagepoint, I could see them clearly; a line of some twenty immigrants walking through the high desert with out a word. They were ghostlike, as if they had already been reduced to spirit in a distant life and moved now across Shiva's land without effort, and without consciousness, as though they were the very currency of the loss taking place. But they were not ghosts. Of course not. They were people who's hopes and means converged here, in the middle of nowhere, outside the law. Some of them may have been from as far away as South America. Those would've hitched, walked and worked themselves through the jungle, through the high, cold forests of Mexico and down into the sparse Sonoran desert. To them the heat and dryness would be shocking and often fatal. They would be lucky to be in this group. The weather was fair, and they were close to America. Heat and aridity would not be the only incomprehensibility. They were about to come up against a nation, an entire culture that composed their idea of the world in a fundamentally different manner. The right to private property is the backbone of America. On the contrary, many of the people coming up out through Mexico and into the U.S. compose themselves differently. Their identity is shaped less by the ownership of land than ours.

"In the movies, he's the good guy. In real life he's struggling as much as any of us to mitigate the transgressions of a border policy that is ineffective."

Sheriff Deever, the elected law in Cochise County, brought this idea to my attention. He is a lawman in the tradition of the Old West; careful of speech, considerate in demeanor, honest in appraisal. He possessed a glare that could freeze a rattlesnake in mid-leap and a gritty kindness that wasn't going to get in the way of the carrying out of his elected duty. In the movies, he's the good guy. In real life he's struggling as much as any of us to mitigate the transgressions of a border policy that is ineffective. "Let's look for solutions that accommodate all our positions," he said. "Meanwhile, reality sets in and I can't sleep at night because I've got people walking through my backyard." The immigrants now flood into his County, an area lacking the structure to deal with the onslaught. The Sheriff continued, "And the problems here are ten fold on the other side of the border town." He notes a worldwide surge in immigration and understands that a solution is not likely to soon be found. But until then he understands something that the migrants may not, "With rights come responsibility," he explained. "And if you lay claim to those (rights) that this nation has paid for, then you must also accept the responsibility that goes along with that. In the same way, ranchers not only have a right, but a responsibility to defend their land."

It became clear then, that this situation had all the thematic makings of the Viet Nam War. Sheriff Deever's, "Either you have a border or you don't," and Agent Bristow's ethically sound resignation to duty are postures highly reminiscent of soldiers in that conflict. Furthermore, on the one side of both issues was a group of people struggling for a dream of self-determination, a dream they'd see through at the expense of whatever stepped in their way. On the other side was and is a nation divided in its sympathy whose effort at containment was corrupted by a disconnect between policy makers and policy enforcers. The result of these ingredients, as it was then, is misery, fear, and destruction. Fortunately, the loss of life in the current engagement is nothing to what it was in Southeast Asia. And though this is the case, I found myself more than a little frightened by the fact that the passing band of immigrants had spotted us in our hiding places. We were, after all, on the front line. A bizarre dance of evasion and identification ensued as all parties tried to scout each other and run from each other at the same time. The bobbing baseball cap of the last in line soon disappeared into the bush.

We followed their footprints from where they'd come, right up to the base of a camera installment, which looked like a praying mantis on its hind legs; its eyes rolled in opposite directions along the border road. We crossed into Mexico and found a staging area, crossed back into America, and made our way to the lights of Cochise College under cover of dark. The moon crept up and lent to the whole scene its lunar aspect. The traverse back was less exciting. We just walked. We talked, but of nothing. It was a beautiful night and the grass and empty water bottles caught the moon's light and glowed in bulbs, tufts, and patches. I couldn't seem to grasp the entire situation. I'd found no neat conclusion and forgotten most of my questions, most of my reasons for being there. I kept returning to one disturbing premise; in a conflict of law, but well beyond law, in a conflict that exists fundamentally in differing World Views and Identity, where is there Hope?

Sheriff Deever faces this question on a daily basis and has come up with a consolation that could apply to everyone involved. "Hope," he said, "lies in understanding what your best effort is, and then making it."


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