Why YES on Stonegarden Money? Because I listen and talk with “everyone”, then I take those pieces of information and piece them together, and put them together to provide the best services possible… it is a skill that I learned while teaching classfuls of students in (and on) Woodland and Davis, California; Gallup, Vanderwagen, and Ramah New Mexico; the Zuni Indian Reservation, and Tucson, South Tucson, Marana, and Oro Valley, Arizona. It is a skill that I learned through various People experiences.
This is what I have learned about the Stonegarden Money controversy:
- We have two groups of individuals attempting to enter the U.S. And we are trying to treat them the same way. (1) People attempting to sell drugs and use the corridor to participate sex trafficking are criminals. (2) People seeking refuge under threat of death and murder due to situations that they can neither control nor influence are not criminals.
- We have different perspectives, and different ideas of how to respond to the current influx of people. These are based on many aspects of our lives including cultural and religious upbringing and beliefs, and socio-economic standing. We cannot comprehend HOW or WHY some of the stories we hear could be true, so we dismiss them. This results in the proposed solutions and actions (like becoming a Sanctuary City) not making sense to us, or not being the way we want to “solve” the problem.
- We are all human. Fear is a human reaction. Unchecked fear can cause aggression. Some of us are afraid of unfairness. Some of us are afraid of imagined atrocities afflicting ourselves and our loved ones. Controlled fear with limited perspective can also result in bias.
- Our Sheriff’s Department is lacking funds for paying Deputies overtime. There have been arguments from some about concern for overworking the Deputies. Because I listen to and talk with everyone who is open to talking, I know that this concern is valid. However, I also know that there are Deputies who like to do overtime, and there are Deputies who depend on the overtime hours and pay.
- Law enforcement technology is inadequate. One of the contentious technology pieces are the proposed towers. The towers have been referred to by some as “spy towers”. They have also been referred to as “Lifeguard towers”. Think of lifeguard towers at swimming pools and beaches. They are not for Lifeguards to spy on swimmers and sunbathers and “get off” on them. They are there for life guards to get a better view of swimmers and sunbathers so lifeguards can see what is coming from a different perspective, to ensure the safety of individuals in the area. Similarly, towers along the border would allow for border patrol to see the border from a different perspective, to ensure safety.
- When it comes to safety, everyone can use an extra set of eyes. This does not mean lawless vigilante eyes. This means eyes that are there to serve, protect and ensure the safety of others.
- What about overmilitarization? There have been complaints of over militarization and being targeted by Deputies. Combining the lack of technology with the fact that we are human helps us to understand the reasons for the overmilitarization and aggression. It does not excuse it. An explanation is not an excuse. Imagine this: You are at a grocery store. Look up. See those black half globes? Those are security cameras. Now imagine that each of those is a human being — specifically a security guard. Would you feel like it was over militarized? Absolutely. You would not be able to walk through the store without walking into a security guard.
In conclusion, we need:
- Law Enforcement Patrol Officers and Community Members who are mindful and who feel safe.
- Leaders who are ethical and able to write policies and allocate budgets that provide the ability to implement programs that allow Community Members and Law Enforcement Patrol Officers to feel safe.
- Trustworthy individuals who implement the Programs.
- Transparency, Effective communication and Trust.
“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life. Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”