Saturday, March 8, 2014

Score one for newspapers!

To the editor:

Thanks for your great work resulting in Friday's directive reducing dangerous use of force by Border Patrol agents on the US-Mexico border.

The LA Times reported on the BP ignoring recommendations of the research group.  Then Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ordered the BP to reconsider, and within a week BP Chief Michael Fisher sent out this directive that should result in fewer deaths of people along the US-Mexico border.

I call that a victory for good journalism and for people everywhere who care about needless loss of life along our borders.

I've visited the US portals in California and in Nogales AZ and blogged about them.  I've met very nice border guards as well as desperate immigrants planning to try again to cross, against all the advice of groups like the Tucson Samaritans.  This directive is a step in the right direction.  May there be less violence and more compassionate cooperation as the US enforces its borders.

Anne Eggebroten


I sent the above letter to the editor of the LA Times this morning.

"The US Customs and Border Patrol had commissioned law enforcement experts to review 67 shooting incidents that left 19 people dead along the U.S.-Mexico border from January 2010 to October 2012," writes reporter Brian Bennett.

The BP Chief would probably have gotten away with ignoring the recommendations of the Police Executive Research Forum if the LA Times had not stepped in.

Newspapers and serious journalism are in danger as people move to internet sources of news, which generally put out second-hand reports gathered by others.  

Covering a police chase or murder is easy, but it costs a lot of money to maintain hundreds of reporters and editors in the US and around the world to do investigative reporting and keep an eye on Wall Street, local business, city councils, state and national governments.

There should not be 19 deaths in less than three years along a peaceful international border. 

Juanita Molina of the Border Action Network, based in Tucson, sees a "clear pattern and practice of abuse of force" by Border Patrol agents., according to Bennett's story.  

My only complaint: this story took the top spot in today's newspaper--front page, upper-right corner--but online it was nowhere on the first page.  I had to click on "National" news and find it listed as #2 there.  

More evidence that online access to today's news is inferior to the experience of actually picking up a newspaper.

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