Four women were recently found guilty of misdemeanors after they entered a national wildlife refuge along the U.S.-Mexico border to leave water and food for migrants, according to The Hill.
The women were aid volunteers for an advocacy group called No More Deaths which is dedicated to ending the deaths of migrants crossing desert regions near the southern border.
Each of the women faces up to six months in prison and a $500 fine. This ruling created mixed emotions from some who feel that the punishment was just, while others condemn the ruling as being a case of a punishment not fitting the crime.
Were the women really criminals or Saints?
The four women who decided to take a stand against a system that allowed humans to die in the desert without food or water were considered modern-day saints to many in the public. They were praised for risking their own lives in order to supply others with basic human essentials for their survival. This sounds great, but unfortunately, the judge ruling in this particular case did not find their actions to be commendable.
The judge condemned the No More Deaths group for failing to warn the women of the consequences they would face for violating the regulations expressed for the trespassed area. “No one in charge of No More Deaths ever informed them that their conduct could be prosecuted as a criminal offense, nor did any of the Defendants make any independent inquiry into the legality or consequences of their activities,” the judge stated in his ruling.
The women apparently forgot that although they were doing something that they felt to be right, they were also doing something illegal.
We all have a heart and would like to do things that stand outside of legalities just to ensure the benefit of others. If we were all allowed to behave in such a manner, we would, in turn, create a society that would overflow with martyrs and possibly vigilantes who could easily justify the motives behind their actions. There must remain a line that isn’t crossed…regardless of our motives. That’s why the laws exist.
Not everyone sees the crime in their actions
Members of the No More Deaths organization defended the four women and stated how appalled they were with the judge’s ruling. “If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country,” said Catherine Gaffney, a volunteer for the organization.
Her sentiments were echoed by other individuals from the group who were confused about how their sister volunteers could be punished for doing something that involved compassion. It becomes apparent that the group members are merely focusing on the act of the four women, without taking the time to look at the law. Providing water to those who are thirsty is commendable.
However, the deed cannot be justified if it ignores set rules and regulations. Did any of the members to the No More Deaths group even stop to ponder how they would feel if something were to have happened to the four women while they were in the regulated area? Who would they blame if the government could not protect them while they were taking such risks outside of the border? This is where it all gets pretty sticky, unfortunately.
We are living during a very tumultuous time. People are losing their faith in the American government and the morale of all people within the United States continues to fall short. This is not the time to find new ways to become uneasy or divided. There are many homeless people in America that would have loved to receive such showers of blessing from those four women.
With over 1.5 million children and 57,849 veterans living (and dying) on the streets of America, surely the women could have found a closer group of individuals in need of the water and food they supplied outside of the border. It’s unfortunate that they felt the need to drive past those in need right in their own backyard. Everyone has the freedom to help whom they choose, even if others disagree.
However, if one chooses to risk life, limb, and freedom for the sake of doing so by breaking the law, then one can only expect and accept the consequences that come with such a decision.