When it comes to forming an opinion, we rely on pretty much two forms of information.  Anecdotal, such as stories or personal experiences, and statistical, such as crime numbers and other data.  A report came out recently that have a lot of people up in arms about the crime rate along the Arizona boarder (good article here about it).  Numbers have gone up since 2000, but some are pointing out that 2000 was a strangely low crime year.  I like numbers but these seem to be some pretty complicated ones.  An NPR piece from a few days ago covers the issue in much more detail if interested.

Well, after hearing the report, I found myself in a conversation with a friend at work.  He is biligual and worked for a time in out collections department (I work for a credit union).  Being the only spanish speaker in the department, he had to deal with the Latino side of the situation and left with a bad taste in his mouth for immigrants.  Rightfully so if you ask me, when all you see is the bad side of a population it would be hard not to come away with a negative outlook.

I on the other hand, who see a lot of good in our immigrant population, formed my opinions in a different yet very similar manner.  I got to spend two years in California teaching and serving them the best I could.  I saw their hard ships, their desires and heard their stories.  I got to see their good side which, just like my friend, changed how I saw them.  I developed a love for their people and plight that still brings my emotions to the surface quite easily.  I even wrote a song about it with my band (The Sweater Friends) called Us and Them based on a friend I made who left her job as a nurse in Mexico City to give her children the live she felt the deserved.

<a href="http://thesweaterfriends.bandcamp.com/track/us-and-them">Us and Them by The Sweater Friends</a>

Is there a right answer to the situation?  Can there be one?  I don't know.  The drug wars that are slaughtering boarder towns on the Mexico side must be terrifying to live with and that is surely something we do not want to be spread north.  The flow of weapons from our country though is how they are arming themselves and out demand for drugs reminds us that it IS all about the Benjamins.  With or without the violence though, we would still have the economic issues that though may be effected by the drug war, have existed for much longer.  In essence, the dream of a better life. 

I once heard Ken Burns say, "a million deaths is a statistic, one death is a tragedy".  It is hard however when different views can both be quite grounded.



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