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From the buzzards perspective...

Random articles that are created as I travel, experience new things, meet new people and discover new insights.

  • Writer's pictureEddy Weiss

Now, into the heat, we go 4th.

We have it everyday if you think about it. Weather. Sometimes it is raining, sometimes there is snow, other times it is hot and other times it is cold, but we deal with it every day and we know it should change, eventually.

Weather is the most changing constant in our lives. Each and every day we make a lot of decisions based on the weather such as what to wear, when to leave, what to bring and sometimes, if we should cancel.

So here we sit after weeks of scorching heat getting ready to celebrate July 4th.

For weeks on end we have made every excuse and thought of a thousand ways to stay indoors and July the second has arrived and brought with it a new resolve to go outside no matter what.

We are a strange people.

Nothing will stand in our way. We will, come hell or high water, trek that mile in the heat with our kids in tow to sit in a field with no shade so we can wait for the sun to go down so we can watch explosions in the air while being drained by mosquitos.

We fought the battle against the heat for weeks and while there were casualties, at least it wasn’t any of us, right?

After weeks of extreme heat, health officials have reported numerous deaths, while emergency departments across the state have been seeing record numbers of people seeking treatment for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The dangerous heat wave that blanketed Texas (and much of the region) this past 5 weeks prompted a public health crisis that has been affecting older people and outdoor workers across the state, local and federal health data shows. Make no mistake- while those people have been the hardest hit, let us not forget children, especially the young ones and the families that did not have the luxury of air conditioning.

At least nine people have died from the heat in one South Texas county, eight of them older than 60. In sweltering Texas prisons, at least nine inmates, including two men in their 30s, have died of heart attacks or unknown causes in facilities that lacked air conditioning.

The unrelenting 100-degree-plus temperatures across the state has shattered weather records this past month. Finally they tell us that the heat dome is moving eastward so we may see some relief.

My scanner was never silent this past month as emergency department visits related to the heat surged and alarmed medical examiners and local public health officials alike were warning residents about health risks from the life-threatening heat. Of course, in the middle of it all, our air conditioning went out at our house. My “handyman prowess” was tested for over 5 days as repair companies told me repeatedly they were weeks behind and my emergency was not today’s emergency.

Heat is one of the most dangerous types of weather, typically killing more people annually in the U.S. than hurricanes, tornadoes or flooding and I have written previously about the dangers to migrants crossing illegally into the United States during times of heat waves or excessive heat.

Border checkpoint near Tubac

Thousands of Texans are reported to have sought emergency medical care in June related to the heat, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only about half of health facilities report heat-related illness data to the state’s health department, meaning the real toll on Texans’ health is almost certainly much worse. There is one about these high number reports that I wish to bring up. None of those Texans were attempting to walk across the desert.

On June 20 alone, THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER, more than 1,100 people per 100,000 emergency department visits were treated for heat-related illness by emergency departments in Texas and its neighboring states, a record high for the region. But those were all people that lived here, that had been warned, that had some kind of access to assistance.

On June 17, a 9-year-old migrant who recently crossed into the United States at Arizona began having seizures and died after he was placed on life support.

Border Patrol agents aided the child and tracked his care after he was rescued in the high Sonoran Desert near the community of Tubac on June 15, according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The unidentified child was taken to Northwest Medical Center in Sahuarita shortly before 11 p.m. that night, CBP said, and was under the watch of Border Patrol agents.

The next day, he was taken by helicopter to Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, where he was diagnosed with full organ failure and placed on life support. After a rapid screening by USBP, the mother and other children with her were released from USBP custody and so were able to be by the child’s side. According to the mother, the child fell ill due to the heat and that her children had not had any fluids for about 90 minutes before she called for help.

According to the report, the family had entered the United States on June 15 at about 2:30 a.m. and her call for help was placed at about 9:30 p.m. so the family had obviously spent the entire day in the desert.

As I have written before, this is just one of the dangers of crossing the border between ports. I feel horrible thinking of those last few hours in the desert for that mother and the agony her family now brings with them as they attempt to settle somewhere here in our country. The decision to come to America was probably a difficult one and I am sure getting to the Arizona border was no picnic. I am positive that, like so many others suffering in the heat and losing loved ones, they never thought it would go so badly after they arrived.

Rest in peace little man.

Your thoughts were always racing

Of the day you would arrive

In the land your mother promised

But you did not survive

Your memory is still welcome here

Amidst the storms of noise

We have always loved the laughter

Of little girls and little boys

We will not hear your laughter

But when we look across

The expanse of heated desert

Will remind us of our loss

We will never know your name

Or what eventually you would do

But we know our country was built

By little men that were just like you.

EG Weiss, 2023


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