I Walked Away

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My husband and I spent last night at a hotel in one of those industrial “parks.” This morning, we headed out to stretch our legs. He suggested following the two-lane highway leading from the “park” into the town about a mile away. “Too dangerous,” I said. “Drivers aren’t expecting pedestrians; let’s walk here in the ‘park’ instead.” So we followed its road past various office buildings and plants — only to find ourselves in far worse peril than the highway’s shoulder offered: hiding at the end of the park’s road was a checkpoint, menacing brick fortresses, and a sign identifying the whole mess as “Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Federal Detention Facility.” There might have been barbed wire, too, but I was too incensed to notice.

I have written articles against ICE, which is to say that I have researched these sadists. I know that they torture “detainees” and that some have died. What horrors were happening behind the walls just a few hundred yards from us?

But instead of barging through the checkpoint to liberate those poor victims — and dying in my vain attempt –, I told my husband, “Come on, let’s get out of here. This is sheer evil.”

Someday, I hope historians deal more kindly with me than many modern Americans do with Germans who knew about the Nazis’ atrocities and walked away when they stumbled on the camps.

12:43 pm on June 8, 2013