This Christmas, as I gather around the Christmas (not holiday) tree with my family and feel lucky to be home, I am mindful this year of someone who undoubtedly dwarfs my sense of comfort. Jon Hammar, the former Marine who had been imprisoned in the notorious Matamoras prison in Mexico since August is finally home- just in time for Christmas.
Hammar served in both Iraq and Afghanistan before returning stateside. He has had difficulty adjusting to civilian life and had joined a fellow Marine in traveling to Costa Rica with the intention of surfing to try and decompress after the hellish experiences of warfare.
His willingness to obey the rules landed him in a Mexican jail controlled by drug cartels. After doing what he was told, declaring the antique .410 shotgun that belonged to his great-grandfather at the Mexican border, he was thrown in the violent prison and chained to a bed. Finally, after much intervention by State Department officials and firm advocacy by the Hammar family, Jon was finally released on December 22nd, after being held on what is widely considered to be trumped up gun charges.
Hammar and his father drove from the border towards the family home in Florida, but were forced to stop at a Louisiana hospital, where Hammar was treated for a stomach virus that he caught in the Mexican prison.
However, he is now at home in Florida, but so weak from the ailment that he can barely stand. Regardless, the Hammar family has expressed tremendous relief from having their son home for Christmas, and this is truly a happy ending.
Still, while this ending turned out well, we should be asking some tough questions. According to numerous authorities on Mexican law, the single-shot .410 shotgun was not illegal. Meanwhile, illegal immigration runs rampant on our side of the border. So while Mexico jails our citizens on bullshit charges and chains them to a bed, why do we continue to welcome criminality by providing social services and a “look the other way” policy for illegal aliens to come here?
While we should be outraged at the conditions to which this veteran and our fellow American was subjected, I am immensely happy that after his experiences, he may have some peace, quiet and some rest with his family.