Just another week in Tucson…work, play, and a little bit of drama. This week was much more focused on the work—small daily activities that almost make one forget that life here is so complicated on an emotional level. We even got in some play, taking in a Rooney concert at a local venue, Hotel Congress, on Tuesday night. Part of the drama came Thursday night when Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of Maricopa County (including Phoenix) came to town. As one news reporter put it, “Sheriff Joe Arpaio came all the way from Phoenix to promote his new book, but local Tucsonians had a message of their own.” As he sat in Barnes and Noble for the signing of his new book, Joe's Law: America's Toughest Sheriff Takes on Illegal Immigration, Drugs and Everything Else That Threatens America, protesters of his horrible immigration policy stood outside. Also in attendance were local media and Fox News.
Friday night was our first Coalición de Derechos Humanos event, a film screening for The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández. The film itself does an amazing job of telling the story, and it comes highly recommended. As Tommy Lee Jones narrates, one learns the story of an 18-year old United States citizen killed by members of the United States National Guard on United States soil. The event went well. Immediately after the event, we returned home to BorderLinks to prepare a meal for the 15 volunteers spending their week with No More Deaths (including Lucy, of course!). After spending all night cooking, we made the trip to Aravaca once more on Saturday to deliver the food and spend some time at the No More Deaths camp. As it’s been rather wet there (yes, in the desert it not only rains, but monsoons), we had quite the adventure getting the 12-passenger van into camp.
And then, on the way back to Tucson Saturday night, we were all reminded of that emotionally complicated life. As we drove away from camp, we spotted a man sitting on the side of the road. “Do you need food, water, aid?” we asked. “No, no, I’m fine,” came the reply. “I’m waiting for my ride. But could you give me ride to the nearest gas station? That would help.” I have a hard enough problem saying no to people who don’t actually need my help—who aren’t in a state of desperation. But unfortunately in this case, simply helping would have been illegal. All we could do was leave him by the side of the road. And the emotional complexity came back.