Rarely do I send letters of gratitude to the editor. Here’s an exception: the commentary by Tom Coffin (“Remembering Maria,” EW 5/6) deserves my warmest thanks to both the Weekly and the author. As a former schoolteacher in Los Angeles with thousands of Latino students coming through the classroom over decades, many first generation immigrants, and as an admirer of the cultural wealth of the ancient civilizations south of the border, I was deeply touched by the humanity in Coffin’s recollection of Maria’s tragic killing.
Having traveled through San Ysidro on multiple occasions, having also been stopped at random border patrol checkpoints near the border in the vicinity of Yuma, Arizona, I know first hand the brutally cold attitude of the officials patrolling this “death zone” where even those wearing the badge and the uniform are a potential threat to safety and well being. The type of assault described in Coffin’s eloquent account might be much more than a rare isolated horror story. Case in point, read Jacob Soboroff’s Separated: Inside an American Tragedy for further insight into the human rights situation at the border.