By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
It’s been a long week for yours truly. By “long,” I don’t mean to imply that our efforts to help keep the community informed were in any way tedious. My specific tasks were simply grueling, and not for any extraordinarily-problematic situations like we’ve encountered in the past but for the most fundamental of reasons – fatigue. I speak not of activity that left me physically or mentally drained; what was exhausting, instead, consisted of stories that took an emotional toll.
Consider our lead reporter’s breaking story in the July 23 midweek edition of the San Benito News about 65 percent of the city’s reported crime being allegedly committed by individuals 25 years old or younger. While not necessarily surprising (nothing shocks me anymore), conceding that the majority of the suspects accused of committing crimes in town also happen to represent the future of the city is a bitter pill to swallow.
Sure, our local municipality, school district and youth-based organizations can offer more activities for bored kids to help discourage criminal activity… if boredom was the problem. Consider that activities can never replace personal responsibility. If a problem indeed exists with youth crime in San Benito, understand that it’s a universally-experienced dilemma that can only be resolved at its core.
I say this not from a position of judgment, especially since I’ve long-advocated in this very space for the City to market itself as a youth-friendly community where skating, 21st century music and trendy restaurants were the norm. It’s important, however, that we properly identify key components of what may be a growing problem – this as opposed to the knee-jerk reaction of blaming local officials for… well, everything.
On another matter, we at the News were deeply saddened to learn of Ramiro Sauceda’s passing on Thursday. Many of us have known him for decades, and some of us have had the pleasure of making his acquaintance in recent years – I fall in the latter category.
It was actually another Greyhound fan, Hector Avila, who mentioned Ramiro as a good candidate for the Hooked on ’Hounds fan contest – a fiercely-competitive online poll that began in 2012 with introductive feature articles of each contestant and ended in 2013 with the actual vote. Ramiro came in a close second with more than 14,000 votes cast in his favor.
I can still recall his excitement when I interviewed him for his story, but it was our first meeting that is perhaps my fondest memory of Ramiro. I was driving around town one night looking for Beto (I honestly don’t know his last name, but most of you know who I’m referring to) when I called Hector to pick his brain about Beto’s whereabouts. That’s when Hector made a case for selecting Ramiro, whose love for the Greyhounds was well-known in the community and considered unparalleled by many.
How could I argue with that?
Late that same evening, I found Ramiro’s home and – taking a chance that he was still awake – decided to knock on his door in hopes of convincing him to participate in the contest. Not only did I find Ramiro awake but ecstatic to be considered.
His interview was one of the more pleasant I’ve ever conducted. When he brought out his collection of Greyhound season tickets (30 years worth, he made sure to note), Ramiro appeared like a small child who was excited to show off his toys to a new friend, and I was honored to be that friend. I have yet to see that same youthful exuberance in any grown man or woman since, and I doubt I ever will again. My hope is that, when I turn 72 (God-willing), I too will find life as joyful and magical as Ramiro did at that age.
That was the week that was, and so ends a long five days for yours truly. In a way, it was also a long week for San Benito, for it lost much when it lost Ramiro.