Violence at the Mexican Border: When Is Deadly Force Justified?

Is the use of firearms disproportionate to the use of rocks?

So says critics of the use of deadly force on a Mexican teenage boy shot on Monday on the US/Mexican border.

I personally think if someone was throwing rocks at me, my survival instincts would lead me to absolutely use my weapon if I were that border patrol agent. Fifteen or not, throwing rocks can be deadly.

And that teenager?

He was no innocent. He had a history of suspected human smuggling and was a repeat juvenile offender.


It all started at 6:30 p.m. when border patrol agents responded to reports of alleged illegal immigrants being smuggled into the United States near the Paso del Norte entry. After apprehending one suspect, others scattered to the Mexican side and some started to hurl rocks.

"The young man was not armed," said Sergio Belmonte, Ciudad Juarez spokesman. "He did not have the physical size to threaten anyone. The aggression [by the US agent] is evident." Belmonte said Hernandez was shot in the head.

I'm sorry. Physical size doesn't matter when you're in danger of being stoned. You also don't have the greatest accuracy when you're the alleged target of hurled concrete.

CNN reports:

"The growing frequency of this type of event reflects a worrisome increment in the use of excessive force on the part of some border authorities," the Mexican Foreign Ministry said. According to the ministry, the number of Mexicans who have been killed or wounded by US border authorities has increased from 5 in 2008 to 12 in 2009 and 17 so far this year ... But Qualia said there were 799 assaults on border agents from October 1, 2009, through May 31 -- up from 745 assaults for the same time period in 2007-08 and 658 for the same span in 2008-09."

Seems like the border incidents are escalating on both sides. All I know is if it were me or mine and it was a choice between being harmed by rocks hurled at me or using deadly force, I would do the same. Self-preservation.

Great attention has been spotlighted on this teen's "A" average in high school. 

I'm sure more information will come out on this incident as videos are analyzed and statements are taken. However, my initial thoughts? 

Smart young man should have known better than to throw rocks at armed agents to prevent this tragedy. Again, self-preservation.


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