Thursday, October 21, 2010

Somebody's Gotta Do It

Ciudad Juarez is a crowded, chaotic city of over 1 million population on the banks of the Rio Grande across the border from El Paso Texas.  It is a terribly dangerous place, ground zero for a bloody war between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels for access to drug smuggling routes into Texas.  Ciudad Juarez is the seat of the Municipality of Juarez, in which over 7000 homicides have been committed in the last couple years, making Juarez the most dangerous place in the world not considered an active war zone.  There are almost 150 towns and villages in Juarez Municipality, many of them with their own small police forces.  And in these small, underfunded police forces, life expectancy is short and state and federal support limited or non-existent.  

One of those little towns is Praxeids G Guerrero, a blood-soaked town of 8500 souls on the US border.  Two years ago, 8 of the 11 police officers in Praxeids Guerrero quit after receiving threats from the cartels. So in this cauldron of violence and despair, it's fair to ask, who would be crazy enough to take the job of Police Chief?  

Let me introduce you to Marisol Valles Garcia.  She hasn’t finished her studies in criminology quite yet, but the Mayor, Jose Luis Guerrero is effusive in his praise, calling her the best candidate for the job out of several candidates.  Why, you might be wondering, has she yet to finish her degree?  Ms. Valles Garcia is 20 years old.  And now she is the Chief of Police in one of the most violent, dangerous places this side of Mogadishu.  She’ll command a force of 13 agents, nine of them women, equipped with a single patrol car, three rifles and a pistol.  She says she won’t carry a gun, freeing up the pistol for one of the agents.

Courage is an interesting thing.  It can take many forms, and yet is invariably instantaneously recognizable.  As a species, we can’t help but admire courage.  We seek it in ourselves, embrace it in our tribes and respect it in our enemies.  Marisol Valles Garcia has the courage to step up and say “I will serve”.  A small thing, perhaps, and no matter what she does, nothing will truly change.  The war will go on, spilling the blood of innocents and monsters on the same dusty streets.  Edmund Burke probably never actually said it, but it rings true nonetheless.  “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  

Marisol Valles Garcia chose to do something.  And I’m pretty sure the world is just a tiny bit better for it


  1. I read about this this morning also. I got the chills, hoping the best for her safety and success. She's so young.
    Thanks for posting this!