I was interviewed on KFOX TV on Friday about the governor's sending National Guard troops to the boothill area in Southern New Mexico in response to the death of an Arizona rancher killed under as-yet unclarified circumstances near the New Mexico and Mexico borders last week.
While I emphasized that the governor has every right to mobilize the national guard to protect New Mexico citizens in the border region, especially under current circumstances, I also contrasted his approach with that of the New Mexico Senate, which during the legislative session passed a memorial resolution expressing "our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of this recent tragedy (referring to the massacre of the high school football players apparently in a case of mistaken identity), to the families of other victims of violence in Cd. Juarez, and to express our most heartfelt hope for a speedy end to this lengthening parenthesis of sorrow in our sister city...We feel solidarity with the people of Cd. Juarez and the thoughts and prayers of all New Mexicans are with you." This part of my remarks was not included in the edition that aired Friday night.
The memorial by the New Mexico State Senate, introduced by Sen. Mary Kay Papen and supported by President Pro Tem Timothy Jennings, did not go unnoticed, since both the Diaro de Juarez and the Periodico Norte published the memorial in its entirety, and there were several comments contrasting the sympathy of New Mexicans with the stern advice of the Mayor of El Paso to stay away from Juarez.
The people of Juarez are our neighbors. While it is perfectly appropriate for our authorities to take steps to try to prevent violence from spilling over into New Mexico, it is also appropriate for our authorities to express official sympathy with the families of the victims of the violence, on behalf of the New Mexican citizens they represent. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot we can do on this side of the border to help stop the wave of violence. But in times of grief just being a good neighbor and expressing sympathy for those in pain is the right thing to do.