Arizona Immigration and Rob Krentz
Shown is a picture of Ruth Stuckey, standing on April 11, 2010, in the Mexican Gold Poppies carpeting the south right-of-way of Interstate Highway 10. They are similar to those we passed, earlier that morning, near the thirty-four thousand acre Krentz Ranch, where Rob Krentz, co-owner, died, on March 26, before they came into bloom. His death stirred the controversy that has resulted in the new immigration law, which has brought the state of Arizona into national debate, if not infamy.
Rob Krentz’ death, was, I believe, an isolated, possibly accidental, killing, the first of its kind of which I am aware. It is tragic and its results are tragic. However, in my opinion, it does not indicate that Cochise County is a place where you and I will be in special danger if we visit. It does not even indicate that Cochise County, Arizona, is a war zone between drug lords and enforcement people, although in reality this is possibly true. In addition, it certainly is not indicative of the demeanor of the general population of illegal immigrants.
There are four kinds of illegal aliens crossing what some call a,” porous border” between the United States and Mexico. My estimate is that maybe as many as 98%, of these human beings are merely undocumented trespassers, seeking work in the United States, or Canada. They are almost all unarmed and harmless. They rarely steal or vandalize, although they may often leave a plastic bottle or sometimes even a backpack to lighten their load. They want only a better living for their families back in southern Mexico or Guatemala.
The second group, are the smugglers of these humanly innocent, but legally, illegal people. These are the, “Coyotes”, a far less desirable group. However, my limited impression of them is that they, too, have not been very harmful to those of us over whose land they trespass. However, some of them exploit their own clients, a despicable, sometimes deadly sin. Their impetus is large amounts of money from low paying jobs, which yield things like cheaper food or fancier lawns for many of us.
The third group, are the unarmed, more or less harmless, persons who carry illegal drugs, on their backs, across remote mountainous areas. These people are called, “mules”
The fourth group consists of those persons, few in number, who hire these “mules”, scout for them and try to protect them. These, I feel, are the dangerous aliens. Their impetus is ever larger amounts of money from high priced illegal drugs, which cause social havoc in both countries.
It is a general theory that one of these desperate persons killed Rob Krentz. The local ranchers seem to think it was a scout, who they believe perches himself on a mountain ridge and radios trafficking vehicles to hide when he sees the law enforcement people coming. My personal theory is just a little different. The day before Rob’s death, his brother, Phil Krentz, turned 8 people over to the border patrol, They were reported to have been carrying a few hundred pounds of marijuana, but none of them were armed. My guess is that their gun-carrying leader escaped without notice and was in hiding nearby, in the bushes until things calmed down. The next day, Rob Krentz came driving up on his little All-Terrain-Vehicle, with his dog, two guns and a cell phone. When he saw this lone person, he called his brother, said he was going to help an illegal, and was soon mortally wounded, along with his dog.
This is the first time anyone on our side of the border has been killed, or even accosted in this kind of fashion, as far as I know. It happens a lot in Mexico, in targeted shootings among rival gangs, for gang type reasons. I believe it will not happen to us, or anyone like us, unless it happens accidentally, with odds far less than our death in a traffic accident.
I sat for 90 minutes in a small meeting on March 8, which Rob chaired. It was the Whitewater Draw Natural Resource Conservation Service District Board of Supervisors, March meeting. I was his guest whom he had invited to sit by his side, at the conference table with about ten people; and to make a little speech, which his printed agenda listed as, “A call from the public.” I used the opportunity to compliment Rob, his professional staff, and his Board, on bringing the need for environmental sustainability to the vast, scarcely populated, ruggedly beautiful land that it has been his family’s responsibility to steward for more than one hundred years.
On the Monday morning, after Rob died, I returned to the NRCS district office and tried to comfort his tear stained staff. On Wednesday after he died, I journeyed through a beautiful late afternoon to the political gathering at the Apache School, where Rob attended grades 1 through 7, before he entered Douglas High School and became All State down guard, on the Arizona High School State Champion Football Team.
NOTE By author, Roy Joe Stuckey- This is the end of the first part of this blog. The second part will tell of the political meeting at The Apache School and the calm demeanor of the impressive neighbors who gathered there, on that beautiful evening in mid-march. The third chapter will report my impressions of the memorial service which filled to overflowing the Douglas High School Gymnasium and the celebratory lunch which followed and was attended by hundreds of ranch attired persons, in the Gadsden hotel. My fourth chapter, I plan to devote to the use of this tragic series of events by politicians and others seeking to promote various agendas.