"Between quotation marks"

by Ernesto Morales


Children on the border are a tragedy of incalculable dimensions. No less so are the daily shootings that leave innocent people dead. Also a drama of lethal proportions is still Covid-19, which devastates the planet with its scourge of death. And what about climate change with its possible catastrophic results in the short, medium and long term? I cannot ignore the femicide and domestic violence that threatens to become another global pandemic.
So what's up? Where do I start in this apocalyptic tangle? Will these pressing problems that plague us day after day have a solution? Had humanity faced so many disastrous circumstances together in the past? Without trying to establish an order of priority, I will start with the most recent: "children on the border."
In recent months, children who come to the border alone have been arriving from different Central American countries -19,000 in March and another 15,000 between January and February- and it is not known for sure how it is that at that tender age they have decided to emigrate to the United States . Some say they escape from crime and organized crime in their places of origin, others attribute to hunger and extreme poverty their desire to flee from the land where they were born. The questions arise by the hundreds, but, from my point of view, the most alarming should be: Do their parents have knowledge -both those who live here and those who have been left behind in their homeland- of the incursion of their offspring into unknown territories, to sometimes jungle, full of dangers? Could it be that the "coyotes" - as illegal traffickers are known - offer them guarantees that are impossible to fulfill, but that in the eyes of impoverished and fearful families they see them as the only option to save their children?
The children come from poor countries, of course, where their parents either do not have a job, or what they earn is not enough to support a family and, therefore, to save them from that staitus that they decide to send their little ones on a journey risky, and then another question arises: where do they get the money to pay what the illegal trafficking merchants charge for integrating the expedition, in groups or caravans? Aren't parents afraid of sending their young into the hands of adult traffickers who can abuse them in multiple ways? Is there something behind this that we ignore, or is it spontaneously generated? The drama is not to be taken lightly.
The next tragedy that occurs to me to comment on is the shootings left and right, daily and in schools, theaters, cinemas, open-air concerts, civil demonstrations and other places; that show figures of deaths and injuries very distant from the most elementary common sense: more than 150 episodes so far this year. There are those who believe that there are too many guns on the street: 380 million, according to conservative statistics, far more than the 330 million people in the United States. Others consider part of the blame to be the so-called "ghost weapons" - parts of which are bought online, lack serial numbers and are assembled in-house, or those that are 3D printed, which are also not properly controlled. Could it be that the corresponding records are not being carried out, or perhaps the checks are excessively deficient? These should consist of a criminal record check, medical certificates that indicate the mental health of the applicant, in addition to other requirements required by law and, naturally, prudence.
Are we, without realizing it, violating the precepts of the Second Amendment, which among other interpretations protects the right to defend ourselves? How long will this conflict of interests continue while innocents continue to die? Could it be that a graceful solution should be legislated that, on the one hand, prevents the abolition of the right to bear arms conceived and legislated in 1791 - when arquebuses and muskets fired a single shot; today the AR-15 fires up to 30 bullets in less than 10 seconds-; and on the other, restrict the acquisition of sophisticated weapons and other items contained under the concept of "defending our property" to proven incompetent people, with whose restriction could avoid tragedies of incalculable consequences?
To continue going through these calamities that lash out at every moment from all angles, we could not fail to mention the current tragedy that Covid-19 represents. And now the battle on this pandemic front is given by the idea of creating a "vaccination passport." Those who defend it argue the need to feel confident when they travel, attend theaters, restaurants, discotheques and other places of public attendance; and those who are against it argue that imposing a document like that would be tantamount to intruding on people's lives, and therefore a flagrant violation of the most elementary privacy.
All of the above is produced in a strenuous attempt to combine the opinions of scientists, economists and politicians, as well as keeping the march of the administration of vaccines in the right direction, in addition to the sacred compliance with protocols related to the pandemic.
And what can we add regarding climate change that has not already been aired by different organizations and institutions that defend a consistent policy? And what do those who do not believe that the changes obey to human behavior, but to the normal behavior of Mother Nature, think? We are experiencing droughts, hurricanes, snowfall, thaws, unforeseen storms, earthquakes, floods and other inclement weather in a disproportionate way. Never have there been so many adversities attributed to nature, or, at least, not so frequently and ferociously. What must we do to stop this torrent of tragedies that extinguishes species in various regions and forces the inhabitants of some areas to move from their usual environment, something that, unfortunately for all, seems to have no end?
Finally, what happens to women everywhere deserves a separate chapter. Femicide has broken out in a horrific way. There are reasons that may explain it, without it being interpreted as an assent. I just want to emphasize details that, although in certain applications they can be described as irrelevant, in reality they are not. Women have always suffered what some describe as the stigma of their gender: the weaker sex, they have called it. For this reason, it is possible that, despite the Charter of Human Rights where there are chapters that defend them, they still earn less than men for equal work in all corners of the world, including the United States.
In many countries, women are assigned the least skilled jobs - perhaps, and unconsciously, as a way of perpetuating their destiny: waitresses, maids, hotel assistants, receptionists and others - and they are less taken into account from the depth of the home even within secular and religious institutions: many nuns of the Catholic faith are a good example of the latter: they serve as assistants to priests and auxiliaries or domestic servants in parishes and other dependencies, in addition to being unable to marry or act as priestesses. In the fight between the sexes, women always lose out. In many places - if not everywhere - they are stigmatized, tortured, offended, insulted, and killed.
However, in return, society feeds on them: they are the ones that get pregnant and sow the streets with human beings; they are the ones who give everything for their children and family, and are incapable of doing the damage that some tabloid publications attribute to them, although, of course, there are exceptions. Still, notice a couple of details: there are no serial killer women and when their partner abandons them and they are left in the care of their children, they are then called "single mothers." On the other hand, it is curious that there are very few "single parents", don't you think?
We could continue talking about other tragedies: drugs, juvenile delinquency, gender and mafia violence, corrupt politicians, racial problems, and many more conflicts, but… enough for today!