By Gilda Morales
For longer than a week, the topic around the proverbial water cooler has been the tragic death of a border patrol agent in our back yard, a mere 10 miles from Van Horn. As a healthcare provider who also reluctantly wears the hat of editor of the Van Horn Advocate, I had the unique opportunity to observe the best and the worst of human nature during this tragedy.
Mere hours after the incident, we were subjected to blatant politicizing of the death of Agent Rogelio Martinez, with unsubstantiated rumors placing the blame on roving gangs of brown people armed with rocks. Several organizations followed suit, echoing the call for the trillion-dollar “wall” even before the FBI began their investigation into the tragedy.
In reality, Van Horn was overrun, but it was by roving gangs of reporters. Major news organizations such as the Washington Post the Dallas Morning News, Buzz Feed News, and TV crews from throughout the area stormed our sleepy little town in a frenzy. Locals approached by reporters were only too happy to repeat salacious rumors or provide their own theories on the tragedy, with no basis except that human nature loves to believe the worst.
Throughout this entire ordeal, the Advocate has resisted reporting on rumors, true to the ideals of my brother, Robert, the late editor-in-chief. We have decided to wait on the official report of the medical examiner, which we understand, is forthcoming, even if the results are not as exciting or does not concur with what others believe happened.
What did become obvious during this terribly sad ordeal, was an appreciation for the men and women who work in dangerous occupations—law enforcement, border patrol, and first responders. They are the unsung heroes who go to work every day, not knowing if they will get home at the end of their shift.
There is an unspoken bond evident only to those who work to serve and protect, and medical staff who tirelessly to save every life, sometimes unsuccessfully. We don’t have to talk about those whom we couldn’t save. They leave a hole in our hearts, and make us more determined to save the next one. Agent Martinez made the ultimate sacrifice regardless of the medical examiner’s conclusions. Let us not cheapen, degrade or politicize his death, but instead honor his memory and all those who have gone before him.