March 14

Do you shoot rabbits? A Border Story

I started my law enforcement career in January 2000 on the border of the United States and Mexico in San Diego as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent.

I remember tracking three individuals, two large sneakers and a small set of sneakers. I followed them through the mountains for about four hours. What made me find them was not their footprints (as most trackers follow) but the smell of a cigarette. I followed that smell to the three of them hiding in some bushes. It was a father, a son, and a grandfather. I said “hola” or “hello” in English, when I saw them. When I saw them I knew they weren’t bad guys… It was just a dad, his dad, and his son making their way North to a better land.

We walked a while to get to my Bronco. My Spanish was good but I didn’t know some common words. As we were walking up this steep mountain to get to my truck the little boy, probably around 8 years old, asked me about the Beretta pistol on my hip. He said something in Spanish I didn’t understand. His father spoke good English and told me that his son asked if I shot rabbits with my gun. The little boy was great, such a character. I said I didn’t shoot rabbits but told him his dad needs to stop smoking because that’s how I found them. The three of them were returned to Mexico that night and probably crossed the border the next night. I always wonder where that little innocent boy ended up.