The United States Supreme Court will hear a case which presents the central issue of “can the government use excessive force to kill people coming into the US albeit illegally?”

If the court hears this case it will decide if non-citizens are entitled to constitutional protections against unreasonable force stop at the U.S. border or extend to non-citizens on foreign soil controlled by U.S. authorities. Since 2006, US border agents have shot and killed 8 Mexicans. Prior lawsuits in the US have gone nowhere, while outrage in Mexico has increased. The US Border Patrol had some of these incidents arise from rock throwing. They argued that rocks can be deadly. The Border Patrol has now changed its policy and now has its agents move out of range of the rocks. Seems somewhat better and more humane as opposed to a rifle shot back at the rock throwers! Amazingly, the FBI cleared the agent of any wrongdoing. The court case arose from an incident in which the decedent (age 15) played a game and ran up to the border fence and touched it and then ran back toward Mexico. The border agent grabbed one of the youths and was then pelted with rocks which led to the fatal shooting. The teenager had been arrested twice for smuggling people across the border but released him to Mexico because he was a juvenile.

Other cases that are currently pending involve the shooting by a border agent through the border fence causing the death of a 16 year old. Can a bullet and shooting victim be protected by the Constitution if the person is struck on US soil, but have no culpability if strikes a person in Mexico? This does not make a great deal of sense. If the US controls an area, should people in that area be entitled to protection from violent actions of the US?

Litigation is pending where the Cal Fire director claims he was ordered not to give grieving families of pilots who had died in the line of duty that they could recover insurance benefits. The lawsuit claims that the head of the agency and the number 2 of the agency knew that state law requires Cal Fire to pay death benefits when a contracted pilot is killed in the line of duty. The State has attempted to get the Federal Government to pay the benefits because some of the pilots may have been contracted with the Federal Government and not in State owned planes. However, the lines are not crystal clear. Both agencies fight fires jointly. Should this distinction really be controlling?

Should the emphasis be on the families of the pilots who made the ultimate sacrifice for the public? Shouldn’t payment be made to the families on a priority basis with a right of reimbursement to be sought against the non-paying governmental entity? Cannot this be resolved through mediation or arbitration? Why are the innocent families being made to suffer while the squabbling between two entities continues? We have wives, children, and parents suffering from the death. Why have this compounded by governmental inertia?

What say you?