Friday, August 06, 2010

A widow's plea

The first time I see Sue Krentz she's riding on a quad bike, a tool as indispensible to the modern rancher as a fleet-footed pony was to the cowboys who used to work the cattle in this part of southern Arizona. Sue is short, compact, burnt by wind and sun, and looks as tough as they come. You have to be to run a huge ranch with around 600 head of cattle ranging over thousands of acres. But this seemingly indomitable woman has become a lost spirit, bravely just about holding herself together. She tells me: "My life has been broken and a piece is missing, Rob was the love of my life. We'd been married 33 years." Rob Krentz was murdered on 28 March. Sue tells me: "I am not bitter, I am frustrated." Then, correcting herself, says: "I am bitter. Yes I am. The violence is increasing and the individuals are becoming more aggressive and more desperate in some cases." She repeatedly makes the point that her family and Rob's family and they themselves have helped many illegal immigrants over the year, whether by giving them water, or jobs, or helping them get paperwork to stay in the US. "We have owned this ranch for 103 years we have probably helped a million people. Why this one? Why now? I just don't understand. This has ruined my safe haven, this has violated my family, this has changed my life forever. It's not fair." Her cousin, standing beside her during the interview for moral support adds that he is 60 years old and he had not locked the front door until he was 40. The level of crime has been getting worse for 20 years and it's rising still. Sue says the government must do more. "Article four section four of the constiution says it is the duty of the government to protect us from invasion, foreign and domestic. All we are asking is to be safe and free and on our own land, on our own property. "We have the right to demand that."...more

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