Open Season

Border authorities fear a return to the law of the Wild West as Texas homeowners take up guns against illegal Mexican immigrants

At the heart of the matter, he says, is a peculiar cultural disconnect.

"The biggest problem with these incidents of American citizens shooting Mexican nationals is that none of these people are from this area. They are not familiar with the customs, and they don't know how to live on the border, which is a little bit different than living in the interior," he says.

"If you look at these men, they have one thing in common. They are all white men who come from a long way from Texas," he says of Bordelon, Blackwood and Brown, who is from Alaska.

Eusebio de Haro, top, posed for a calendar picture with his wife, Juana Rangel, and daughter Rosa. Rangel, below with her daughter, is suing Kinney County rancher Sam Blackwood, who shot and killed de Haro after he asked Blackwood for a drink of water.
San Antonio Express-News
Eusebio de Haro, top, posed for a calendar picture with his wife, Juana Rangel, and daughter Rosa. Rangel, below with her daughter, is suing Kinney County rancher Sam Blackwood, who shot and killed de Haro after he asked Blackwood for a drink of water.
As he was taken to Val Verde County jail after pleading guilty earlier this month to killing a Mexican youth in 1999, Patrick Bordelon, left, paused to lecture investigator Lieutenant Larry Pope about the shortcomings of the case against him and denied firing the shot that killed Luis Armando Chavez Vaquera.
San Antonio Express-News
As he was taken to Val Verde County jail after pleading guilty earlier this month to killing a Mexican youth in 1999, Patrick Bordelon, left, paused to lecture investigator Lieutenant Larry Pope about the shortcomings of the case against him and denied firing the shot that killed Luis Armando Chavez Vaquera.

And, he said, they come with guns but without understanding, and thus do not know how to peacefully resolve their encounters with illegal Mexicans passing through their land.

"People in this area will either speak Spanish or know enough to tell someone to get out. And for the most part, they'll leave, particularly if you have a gun," he says. "But these people who have moved in think that carrying a gun entitles them to shoot individuals, and that's totally wrong. People have to know this is not the Wild West, and the people who have always lived on the border have always understood that."

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