When I visited NewsOK.com (Thursday) and read an article about Sooners fans and players being scared to come to El Paso, a lot of things went through my mind.
But first and foremost was the birth of my daughter seven years ago. At the time, my wife and I were living a great life with great jobs in San Diego. We had no reason to leave. But I grew up in the small college town of Lawrence, Kan., and looking at my beautiful baby girl, I couldn’t envision raising her in San Diego. The city seemed too big, too bustling ... heck, maybe even too dangerous. So we sold our condo with the (very distant) view of the Pacific Ocean and moved to the city that had always made me feel the most at ease and safe: El Paso. It’s a city of 750,000 that feels much smaller. Everywhere I go in El Paso, it seems I run into someone I know; something that never happened in San Diego. In the seven years we have been back in El Paso, the situation across the border in JuÃ¡rez has changed quite a bit. I used to drive over to JuÃ¡rez and explore all the interesting restaurants and shops. And though I still visit regularly, I haven’t driven over in years, and when I walk over, I don’t stray far from the tourist strip on Avenida JuÃ¡rez. The violence in JuÃ¡rez has indeed gotten scary. But El Paso hasn’t changed at all. Even in little Lawrence, Kan., there were areas I wouldn’t feel comfortable walking after dark. In El Paso, I can’t think of any neighborhood I’d feel that way about. Not one. Ask some El Pasoans if they can think of one; I doubt they could. My daughter and I spend our days off exploring all parts of the city. The downtown museums, short hikes through the Franklin Mountains (or we get lazy and take the tram to the top), her favorite parks in our old neighborhood on the West Side, the missions in the Lower Valley, or pizza and games in our new neighborhood on the East Side. Not once have either of us felt in any danger.