In 1972, I traveled with several aviators to join a carrier that was deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The commercial flight that took us across the Atlantic dropped us off at a base in southern Spain. At that time, Spain was governed by Francisco Franco, el Caudillo (the warlord). Franko’s military police unit was called la Guardia Seville, and I encountered them on my first day. I was playing golf at the base course with my friends when a ball was hit into the woods. As we walked into the woods to look for it, I saw some out of bounds stakes, but I also saw Spanish soldiers with patent leather hats and submachine guns stationed about 20 yards apart all along the fence. We quickly declared the ball lost and moved on.
Later I would see those same soldier/police in Barcelona and Mallorca. They were always wearing those hats and carrying those automatic weapons. When we would stay overnight at a hotel we would be told to leave our passports or ID’s at the desk “for the Guardia.” Spain in 1972 was hardly the land of the free, it was a police state, which is a far cry from community policing.
Seeing the heavily armed Homeland Security Soldiers in Portland, Oregon, brought back some rather unpleasant feelings about the state of our nation (”Trump threatens to send federal agents into Baltimore and some leaders shrug,” July 22).
Frederick K. Weimert, Towson
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