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Man Down At Polvo Crossing

by Daniel M. Kowalski, Esq.

Ten years ago on the Texas - Mexico border, at Polvo Crossing, near Redford, four heavily-armed, camouflaged U.S. Marines stalked and killed an 18-year-old American citizen, Esequiel Hernández, Jr., who was herding his family's goats. The Marines said they felt threatened by the boy, even though he was armed only with an ancient single-shot .22 rifle, used to keep coyotes away from the goats.

There were investigations. There were indictments. No one was convicted. To settle the family's wrongful death lawsuit, the U.S. government paid $1.9 million dollars.

So much has happened in our world since that evening in May, 1997. Considering the intervening cascade of atrocities - including, but not limited to: Bush v. Gore, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Katrina, FEMA, Guantánamo, enemy combatants, material witnesses, Jose Padilla, the death of habeas corpus - it's easy to downplay or even forget Hernandez' death.

It's easy to forget that in a 249-page Congressional report issued by Lamar Smith - Lamar Smith! - the oversight investigators essentially accused the Justice Department of a cover-up.

Have we learned anything in the last ten years? Read the Smith report, if you can find one. Study the websites linked below.

Oh yes, one more thing: Esequiel had a U.S. Marines recruiting poster tacked up on his bedroom wall. After his death, his family ripped it down.

Esequiel Hernández, Jr., R.I.P., Q.E.P.D.