Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007 | Will Carless‘ piece on human smuggling by sea was quite good but it left one element out; the boats washed ashore are the mute testimony to disaster at sea and are as close to a tombstone as the boats’ occupants are ever going to get.

While danger afloat is always great and death at sea is common enough, the evidence of it here is usually hidden. The drowned dead sink into the cold, deep water and are rarely thrown back onto the beaches. San Diego’s marine topography is perfectly suited to hide all traces of smugglers’ failures and as generations of fishermen like my crowd once was could tell you, the sea always claims its own, permanently and without trace.

Whatever the sentiments one has toward human trafficking, we might spare a silent moment when regarding those “dessicated boats” driven aground at the wading pool. The poor, tempest tossed huddled masses on those boats almost certainly died trying to get here and both they and we deserve a better kind of solution to these problems.

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