There Are Heroes Among Us
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Dec 01, 2011
Clark Kent was mildmannered
needed, he became a hero,
saving those at risk, the poor
and downtrodden. Better
known as Superman, he was,
at least in the comic books,
one person among us who
simply did his job, often without
fanfare or glamour.
There are real heroes
among us, and from time to
time one surfaces seeking
nothing more than a quick
thank you, if that, and back
to work he or she goes. Such
an event happened in mid-October
when Boston firefighters
responded to an apartment
fire that threatened the
lives of many.
He won’t admit to it, but Lt. Glenn McGillivray is a hero. What he will admit
is that he was just doing his job when he caught a 6-year-old boy who was dropped
from an upper floor of an apartment building that was engulfed in flames in Roxbury.
The boy, Xavier, was dropped by his grandparents, who live on the third floor,
into the waiting arms of McGillivray.
The firefighter described what he saw as the blaze enveloped the building: “She’s
[the grandmother is] hanging on the inside of the window so she doesn’t fall out,
and he was petrified as if he was gonna fall, so thankfully we got there in time to
get underneath him and catch him,” he said.
McGillivray says he is not a hero. “It’s a job; we are just trying to do the best
we can,” he said.
It may just be a job and one that firefighters seem to do so well. Hero isn’t a
title you want to hang on just anyone, but the fact is, McGillivray and his fellow
firefighters seem to have “heroic” written in their job descriptions, and in this case,
as in so many others, the title is deserved.
Then There are the Cartels
Now, we turn from saving children to exploiting young people. The Texas Department
of Public Safety says that several Mexican drug cartels are enticing children
as young as 11 years old to work for them. Referred to as “the expendables,” these
youngsters are lured into the cartels with the promise of easy money.
The children come from poor existences and can earn as much as $50 for moving
a car from one location to another, which allows the cartel to determine if law
enforcement has it under surveillance.
The cartels aren’t throwing out a safety net, nor are they going to catch any
children in their arms if the little ones get into trouble. When a person gets mixed
up with the drug cartels, there are always consequences, both with the cartels and
Mexican drug gangs, including the violent Zetas, have command and control
centers in Texas that are actively recruiting children. Texas Department of Public
Safety director Steven C. McCraw said 25 children have been arrested in one Texas
border county alone in the past year from running drugs, acting as lookouts or doing other work for the organized syndicates. In October, law enforcement
arrested a 12-year-old boy, who was in a stolen pickup with 800
pounds of marijuana.
Texas has joined the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in “Operation
Detour,” where officers meet with children and their parents
in schools and community centers to discuss the dangers of what appears
to be easy money offered by the Mexican cartels. The drug business
is a high-yield, low-overhead business, but the gangs can lure
children into the fold with smaller sums of money, and children face
less severe penalties than adults, if arrested.
It’s Time for Border Security
Texas officials have released a report suggesting that Mexican-based
drug gangs plan to create a “sanitary zone” in the United States and
are “intimidating landowners” in South Texas into allowing them to
use their property as bases for drug-smuggling activity.
There has never been a better time for the federal government
to rethink its border strategy and increase manpower and spending
on the Rio Grande River. It’s true the government doesn’t have any
money, but since that’s never stopped them before, this would help
fight the burgeoning unemployment rates and curtail the ever-present
flow of illegal drugs.
In the report, “Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment,”
CBP officials openly admit that there are several areas along
the U.S. border and on our side of the fence that are under cartel control.
According to the report, there is a massive spillover of evacuees
fleeing the violence in Mexico, including innocent civilians as well as
criminals trying to escape the violence.
It’s time for the current White House administration to focus on
the U.S.-Mexican border, deploy security measures that will help
ranchers in the border states and bring a semblance of peace to Texas,
New Mexico, Arizona and California.
The authors of this report, Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star
general, and Robert H. Scales, a retired two-star general, stated in
the strategic view of the report that “America’s fight against narcoterrorism,
when viewed at the strategic level, takes on the classic trappings
of a real war. Crime, gangs and terrorism have converged in
such a way that they form a collective threat to the national security
of the United States.”
Texas has become so threatened by the spread of Mexican cartel
organized crime during the past two years, it has been noted that
there is a change in the strategic intent of the cartels to move their
operations into the United States and to create a so-called “sanitary
zone” at least one county deep to evade Mexican law enforcement and
enable the cartels to transform Texas border counties into narcotics
The cartels achieve their objectives by organizing gangs who are expendable
and have unaccountable manpower to do their dirty work.
They recruit on the streets and from prison gangs, such as the Mexican
Mafia, Texas Syndicate, Tango Blast, Barrio Azteca and many others.
Federal authorities have been weak to admit an ever-increasing
cross-border campaign by narco-terrorists, and denial has been facilitated
by a dearth of evidence that an organized and substantial
campaign exists inside Texas.
It is time for the White House to come to the realization that the
fear and anxiety levels among Texas farmers and ranchers have grown
enormously over the past two years, and that living on the border is
tantamount to living in a war zone. There is a war of terrorism at
home; it’s time the White House wakes up to these evident truths that
are affecting this country’s youngest citizens.
This article originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Security Today.