Loss of Innocence

Over the past couple of weeks a series of news reports captured my attention. As a father of a teenage girl it was troubling to think of what her generation of borderland students are enduring. Her generation of high school students have been forced to confront the dark face of evil on a much more personal level than most. Instead of the significant issues of who is dating who, or what kind of car the elite are driving, they are struggling with the issues of life and death.

A few days ago, two teen-age boys from Cathedral High School in El Paso were gunned down outside a used car lot in Juarez.

“We’re in the middle of this crisis in Juárez. And Cathedral opens its arms and its doors to a number of kids who are in this diaspora,” Nick Gonzalez, the principal of Cathedral High School said. “I’m in awe of their love of Juárez, their anger at the injustice and their determination to survive this and to return and rebuild.”

After a rosary service in memory of the boys, the Catholic Bishop said:

“I hope you pray that we’re all reminded that life is precious,” Bishop Armando X. Ochoa said. “I hope we take this opportunity to examine where we are in our life’s journey.”

Sadly the life journey of the teenagers in El Paso is being shaped and influence by the worst of human nature.

In addition this week the Associated Press reported:

Mexican prosecutors have filed homicide charges against a 14-year-old U.S. citizen who allegedly acted as an assassin for a drug cartel.

The boy confessed to killing four people whose beheaded bodies were hung from a bridge in Cuernavaca, a central colonial city that is popular with Mexican and international tourists alike and is known for its yearlong springlike climate.

The boy, whom authorities only identified by his first name, Edgar, has been charged with the homicides and other crimes, including arms possession and transporting cocaine, prosecutors from Morelos state, where Cuernavaca is located, said in a statement late Wednesday. By Oswald Alonso / Associated Press Posted: 02/10/2011 12:51:00 PM MST

What kind of world are we creating when a fourteen year old boy is encouraged or worse chooses to participate in four murders and beheadings.

In a third article I came across two new video games being released highlighting the violence on the streets of Juarez.

One is the “Call of Juárez: The Cartel,” developed by Ubisoft Entertainment and Techland, which will be out this summer.

The second one by Boston-based Owlchemy Labs, “Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration,” rewards safe-smuggling drivers in the game with a “green card.” It will be available in March as an application for iPad and iPhone.

“These games — making tragedy and human consequences invisible — provide fun and adventure. I can only imagine, with sadness, the stereotypes that are reinforced, especially among non-border people,” said Kathleen Staudt, political science professor at the University of Texas at El Paso and the author of several books on Juárez and the border.

Ubisoft’s announcement describes its “Call of Juárez” game as a first-person shooter game bringing the Old West into the present day.

“You’ll embark on a bloody road trip from Los Angeles to Juárez, Mexico, immersing yourself in a gritty plot with interesting characters and a wide variety of game play options,” it states. “Take justice into your own hands in this modern Western shooter.”

The future rests in the hearts and minds of the next generation. It is time for the light to shine into the darkness.

Lord Jesus shine in us and through us in this dark world!

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