A border is not just a border. It’s a place of interaction of two peoples, dissimilar, maybe hostile to one another. It involves a barrier of some kind, but also a degree of negotiation, diplomacy, conciliation. That’s what Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Ruben Padillo found when he was stationed at the El Paso-Juarez checkpoint separating the U.S. and Mexico. Unexpectedly, he became the first Border Patrol liaison with the city that was called the “murder capital of the world,” and his contact was a Mexican police commander with known ties to the infamous drug cartels. It was a challenge. Continue reading “Managing the Border”
“Where are my guns?” demanded Pancho Villa, flamboyant bandit-warrior of the Mexican revolution. Though he had paid for them, the store across the U.S. border in the town of Columbus, New Mexico hadn’t delivered. He had other grievances as well. So in the early morning of March 9, 1916, Villa led some 500 troops in an attack on Columbus that lasted until dawn, without doing too much damage. Next day, General John J. Pershing, of World War I fame, accompanied by George Patton, hero of World War II, arrived to drive out the Villistas and pursue their leader into Mexico. They didn’t catch him. He was eventually assassinated by other Mexicans in some kind of political intrigue.