As Mayor of Tiquicheo, in western Mexico, Maria Santos Gorrostieta survived two assassination attempts, lost her husband in one and was still brave enough to take on the drug cartels in the region. Now, tragically, the body of the 36 -year-old mother was found in a ditch with a blow to the head three days after her family had reported her missing.
It is a heartbreaking end to what was a story of heroism, bravery and unbelievable tragedy. Gorrostieta was first attacked as mayor in October 2009 while the cartels were attacking many mayors. Her husband Jose Sanchez was killed in the cross fire. Three months later Ms Gorrostieta was severely wounded in another attack and had to wear a colostomy bag. She bravely posted photos of her wounds and shared the stories of her attack to highlight the violence and the inability of government officials to stop it.
Now she is dead and many are wondering whether it was all worth it. Her poor sons and daughter are now left without their mom. And for what? What did she really change?
The question is one for any dangerous profession. Every day military professionals, police officers, fire people and more put their lives on the line for their profession. Obviously it is all to varying degrees.
Not everyone is going up against the danger Gorrostieta was. Not everyone has been hit not once, but twice because of her job. Her activism was brave, but the cost was enormous. Growing up without a mother is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I know because I lived it. It is something that never gets better.
On the other hand, someone has to stand up to these people who think violence and thuggery are OK. Someone has to be the brave one and put their life on the line.
As parents, we wonder this kind of thing all the time. It's not the same by any means, but as a girl I loved to sky dive and drive fast and do all kinds of dangerous things. As a mom, I tone it way, way back. I would never even think of doing anything to endanger my life. My kids need me. Is it our parental code to keep ourselves out of harm's way?
It's hard to say. It's also not a one size fits all answer. For me, as a mom, my answer is yes. I would never do a job that would risk my life or make my kids risk losing me. And yes, I know I could get hit by a car or fall off a ladder and that life is full of risk. But why take unnecessary ones?
I see my role as getting my kids "launched" and I will do anything to make sure that happens. On the other hand, I admire women who stand up to danger and do the "right" thing for the greater masses, too. It's a personal choice. There is no right or wrong answer. But my guess is that Gorrostieta's children may have another opinion. My heart goes out to them.
Do you think it is bad to do dangerous work as a mom?
Image via jayneandd/Flickr