Beware the Ides of Fiesta!

By: Bill Whaley
14 July, 2014

Trangresion1Someone asked: Who are we today? Taosenos, we are a motley patchwork of violent people. Let us consider the facts.

While we were considering the Kit Carson Memorial Park and the “History of Violence” in Taos, lauding peace, and attempting to reconcile historic hostilities, the bloody headlines were being written by our vecinos. I never met a gang-banger or drug dealer who gave a damn about Popay, Kit Carson or Gov. Bent and Padre Martinez. Nor can I say or can anyone prove that the historic past turned a person into a vehicle of death. One could look closely, however, at the immediate family and his or her peer group i.e. at the incest, molestation, rape and murder, not to mention alcohol and drugs that are common at gatherings aqui en Taos.

A young woman has died, a man is in jail, charged with second-degree murder.

Left unsaid is the thing everyone knows. Lives were misdirected and resulted in a crime of passion due to unregulated drugs and drink. Weren’t the Mustang Murders, July 2003, the result of passions run amok, anger and retaliation, a crime that touched so many, and some went on to kill again? And, prior to the massacre, weren’t so many of the perps known to cops, judges, and district attorneys?

Here’s what Taosenos want, here’s what the survivors of homicide have said to me at the funerals and in private interviews. They want the officials to help with their kids when they ask for it. They don’t care about symbols like Kit Carson and the red willow. They want to stop the bleeding.

While the politically correct divert attention with stories about the past (I, as commentator, am guilty of said diversions), the nihilists exploit human weakness and continue to wreck havoc, due to universal appetites for escape from a “meaningless” world. Yes, we’ve heard about “Men Engaged in Non-violence” but you can’t stop a bullet with a “photo-op.” Public relations and advertising is a substitute for official action.

If the police did their follow up and the district attorney charged the politically connected with crimes, and if the community talked more about the need for therapeutic cures of kids and adults with “real health problems,” perhaps we would not begin, again, the week of Fiesta with headlines, featuring murderous acts.

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

And those victims who died and those collective perps in prison or jail are not anonymous. They are vecinos. Many of us know the alleged pharmacist, who provides the painkiller in the latest instance He has suffered tragedy before, a suicide right in his own home by his own child. His bro recently retired from a career in law enforcement. We’re talking community tragedy here.

Now a Mother’s daughter is dead, her alleged murderer, a onetime prominent member of the community, is in jail but still commerce continues.

In the “Drug Ring Bust,” a case, despite the massive police dragnet that presented so many photo ops above the fold for The Taos News, recently got rejected. The Magistrate Judge, aghast, threw down and dismissed an alleged perpetrator in preliminary hearing, due to misrepresented evidence. If the DA can’t convict or find the daylight robbers of the Coop, how is he or she going to catch and convict alleged drug dealers without drugs, guns, and cash? A paper trail of checks and phone calls offers high-powered defense attorneys myriad opportunity to cannibalize the appetizers presented as evidence.

During community meetings in 2003, elected officials said whatever you do, don’t blame your elected officials. Don’t blame law-enforcement or the judicial or the social service system. The grass wants to grow but the water in the acequia leaks into deeper  aquifers, while the Abeyta folk sink deeper wells. Still nobody can wave a wand and make it rain. It takes a community to raise this many homicides.

During that benchmark year, 2003, somewhere between 13 and 15 lives or more, were taken by homicidal acts or subject to charges of “suspicious” deaths. Call them crimes of passion delivered, neighbor upon neighbor. The perps and victims were largely members of just one ethnic group with an admixture of outlier strains.

Where was the bigotry and racism—except perhaps in the animus aimed at the bad Mexican, which began the Fiesta fray that year? Can you remember that far back? The names? The families? The relatives who suffered that day and the descendants of that day who killed again?

Can you wave a red willow and brush away a mother’s tears?

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