…and nothing but the truth.
Ramesh Nyberg

It’s all relative.

Isn’t it? I mean, EVERYTHING – it’s all relative to your personal perspective. The idea of “wealth,” for example, has a different meaning and different threshold of net worth, depending upon where you live, how old you are and a bunch of different factors.

For the past several years, we’ve been hearing this wave of antipolice vocalists, all chanting how horrible and brutal and corrupt and oppressive American police are. To that I say, “Hmm, drop into Haiti sometime or India or Saudi Arabia or Thailand or the Phillipines or…” Jeesh, this list could get pretty big.

Even more recently, our government has been accused of being cold and heartless, and it has been accused of “ripping” children from the arms of their loving mothers. I don’t even have to do a “relative” comparison here. Let’s just look at that accusation by comparing it to ourselves and our everyday lives. If Joe can’t find a babysitter for his nine-year-old son, he just might have to take him along while he delivers those four kilos of heroin to his buyer. The police swoop in and, suddenly, Joe is in handcuffs. Do they let Joe go because he has a child with him? No. Do they let the nine-year-old go to jail with Dad, so they don’t get separated? No. If they can’t find a family member to watch the kid, he goes to some form of child protective services and he’s well cared for. But, he is separated from his father.

One step further: The police raid a house they’ve been investigating for a month and take Mom and Dad to jail because they’ve been trafficking out of the house. The residence is full of product, money, scales, guns, a ledger with the sales recorded, the works. Do the kids get arrested? No, but the parents do, don’t they? So, they are “ripped” from their parents, I suppose.

My point is this: In this country, kids are separated from their law-breaking parents all the time, every day. Every one of those parents knew the risk of doing the crime and they did it anyway. I’m certain that most, if not all, of those illegal immigrants knew they were also breaking the law or they wouldn’t be doing it in such a stealthy manner.

I remember vividly a Colombian man about 40 years old in our homicide office whom we had just arrested on a cocaine trafficking-related murder. Back in the early 1980s, seemingly decent, well-off men living in the suburbs of Miami were involved in all kinds of dangerous activities to make a quick few thousand bucks. We all watched as the mother was allowed to bring the son – who was about nine years old – up to the homicide office to hug his dad. The kid was crying and so was the dad. It was a sad scene and all of us who had kids felt a bit of a heartache for the little guy who had no idea his dad was involved in anything and now he would be traveling to a state prison somewhere to see him. This is one of the tragic by-products of crime – innocent people who suddenly are made aware that the person they love had a double life and the family is now irreparably fractured.

Mexicans and other foreign nationals who illegally cross our border are also creating that same potential tragedy every time they knowingly bring their children with them as they are ferried across by unscrupulous traffickers who sap them of their last peso and will happily sacrifice them if detected by the Federales. Talk about heartless.

So why do they do it? They do it for the same reason so many Cuban immigrants braved the treacherous, shark-infested waters of the Gulf Stream and came to Florida in rickety boats and inner tubes: The lives they were living in their home countries were miserable, dangerous and run by ruthless, heartless and corrupt governments. That’s why they came here. Risking death and arrest – and having their children “ripped” from them – is worth being in the land of opportunity, the land of plenty, the land which has a Constitution it strives to abide by, for everyone, even them.

Do you want to blame someone for their plight? Blame their governments, their rulers and politicians who line their pockets and live like royalty while they, the peasants, stand in line for a bag of rice and a chicken which they are supposed to feed their kids for the rest of the month. Blame the Mexican “government” which allows places like Juarez to have the highest murder rate in our hemisphere – Juarez, a place where people don’t go out at night for fear of catching a stray round, or being kidnapped and forced into prostitution or the drug trade; a place where dead bodies in the street is an everyday sight. The streets of Chicago are a picnic compared to that hellhole.

And, as far as “heartless” goes, hear the story of Victor Barroso, Jr., a young Cuban man I met a couple of weeks ago. While he was visiting family in Cuba, he was in a horrific crash. He survived the accident, but his four friends were all killed and he lost massive amounts of blood, along with his right arm. After multiple surgeries to save his life, he was able to be released from the hospital and was promptly put in jail by the Cuban police who decided that he was responsible for the accident. There was no trial; no lawyer; he was just thrown in jail – for two years.

He’s back in the US now and his nightmare is over, though his struggle is not. He’s trying to get a robotic arm, but his insurance hardly covered anything, so he’s trying to raise money so he can live a more normal life. Google “See Beyond You” or his name and you’ll find a way to contribute, if you feel so moved. He’s a really nice kid – he attended our BNI (Business Network International) meeting to tell our members about his charity. Before he sat down, he said, “Enjoy life – life is a beautiful gift.”
Yes, he’s right, but it’s a lot easier to say that when you’re north of the border.

Ramesh Nyberg retired from law enforcement in November 2006 after 27 years in police work. He now owns his own private investigation agency, Nyberg Security and Investigations, and can be reached at Ramesh@NybergPi.com. He enjoys getting feedback from readers.