Maj. Natividad de Jesús Cáceres Cabrera, second in command of the Atlacatl Immediate Reaction Battalion, was frustrated. He’d just ordered the men under his command to begin killing the children of El Mozote. They’d shown little hesitation in the killing of adult and elderly men in the village, and no hesitation at all in leading away the young girls, most between 12–to–15, whom they gang‐raped, then butchered.
Last week I took some time off from working the colt, writing, and fixing the myriad things around the Figure 8 that broke in the last big snowstorm. I put all that away for a three‐day fishing trip down the Lower Deschutes. I went with my friend, neighbor, and legendary guide Steve Erickson, and an old cop colleague who has spent much of his adult life working violent crimes – a grueling career that has left his armor severely dented by the sword and axe‐blows of human behavior.
It is unacceptable to hear a soldier say, “I did all they asked of me. Why are they doing this?” as Matt Brown posed to me just weeks before shooting himself in his quarters at Fort Lewis. Perhaps this is how Meriwether Lewis felt on that dark, cold night in October 1809 as he crawled across the ground, dying from his self‐inflicted wounds as those who could have helped hid behind closed doors and watched him bleed to death. Lewis, whose name graces the Army’s largest base in the Pacific Northwest, died alone, unwanted, and abandoned in his hour of greatest need.