Like millions of other Americans,  I woke up this weekend to reports of two massacres. One them was in El Paso, Texas where 20 people were killed and 26 were wounded. The other was in Dayton, Ohio  where 9 people were killed and 26 were wounded. The number of people who were killed may rise if they do not survive their wounds.

Because the shooter in Dayton was himself killed in that  incident we don’t know the motives for his horrendous murders. However, the guy who killed those people in the Walmart in Texas has said that his motive was to kill as many Mexicans as possible. He drove for ten hours across Texas  to do so.

I have known a few Mexican Americans in my career in Agricultural and Derivatives law. My favorite was Kika de la Garza, who served for several years as the House Agriuculture Committee. He was preceded in that position by Congressman Tom Foley, whose widow Heather is still my friend,  and succeeded by Congressman Pat Roberts, who is still my friend as Chairman of the Senate Agriuculture Committee.

The one thing that we all had in common is that we loved Kika. He had served as a father figure to several of  us. No one ever thought that he was less American than any of us. He served as a lieutenant in the Navy during the Korean War. He would refer to himself as a “little ole Mexican shoe shine boy from Mission, Texas”.

Things were much more nonpartisan in those days. When my friend Ed Madigan, who served as the Secretary of Agriuculture in the administration of the first George Bush, died of lung cancer,  de la Garza and I flew to Chicago and I drove us in a car down to Lincoln, Illinois for the funeral. Of course Madigan was a Republican and Kika was a Democrat.

Starting with President Trump, our leaders must tone down the anti-immigrant rhetoric.  I notice Mexican Americans doing the work that no one else wants to do. The other thing that must be done is to tighten our gun laws. There is no legitimate reason for a private citizen to possess an assault rifle. Members of Congress should not accept political contributions from the National Rifle Association.

Michael R. McLeod