North Texas Daily

Alumni Patrick Strickland visits university for book talk and signing

Alumni Patrick Strickland visits university for book talk and signing

Alumni Patrick Strickland visits university for book talk and signing
March 04
10:28 2022

Author and alumni Patrick Strickland visited the university on March 2 to discuss his book, “The Marauders: Standing Up to Vigilantes in the American Borderlands.” 

The book tells the true story of how citizens in an Arizona border town stood up to anti-immigrant militias and vigilantes. Strickland embedded himself in the area to report the story. There he witnessed violent events and conducted numerous interviews with the people involved, including the vigilantes themselves. 

“We’re told all the time that we have an open border,” Strickland said. “To be clear, the U.S.-Mexico border is one of the most policed places on this planet, and it’s one of the deadliest in terms of borders. There’s all sorts of ways in which that border is enforced, often in very violent ways, and it is not in fact open at all.”

Strickland is the news editor of the Dallas Observer and has worked as a journalist since 2011. Throughout his career, he has written about issues such as migration, armed conflict and humanitarian conflict

“The book itself is beautifully written,” said Nancy Stockdale, an associate professor of history. “I was really amazed by the detail and the book really brings to life these border situations.”

Strickland said the idea for the book originated from a news story about a small town in Arizona, Arivaca, where militia groups had been visiting. He initially thought he would write a magazine article about the situation, but soon came to realize how big the issue was. 

“I was interested in people in this town taking a stand against armed groups and vigilantes,” Strickland said. “When I started going there and I started speaking to people there, I found out it was a much longer and more interesting story.”

The book was described as a snapshot of a moment of history, in which people in a very small community banded together to resist the presence of anti-migrant groups that had been showing up in the area.  

“One thing about my approach to this was not to write a story about these far-right and anti-immigrant groups,” Strickland said. “This story appealed to me because it’s about people who are fighting back against them.”

Among the attendants was Sylvio Hooper, an international studies and political science senior, who heard about the event from his professor and was eager to hear about topics related to his major. 

“I grew up in Dallas and most of my friends were children of Mexican immigrants, so this subject was really interesting to me – just to get a better understanding of what they went through,” Hooper said. “I definitely learned more about the militant groups, and I really didn’t know they had such a big presence and how vicious they were being. To get a journalist’s perspective of how they get involved and spread awareness was interesting as well.”

Strickland emphasized that people often leave their countries because they are sure they will die if they do not. The public is often not educated about why people have to leave for their own safety, and how dangerous it can be, he said. 

“Borders are physical places, they are imaginary lines, they are quite often deadly,” Strickland read aloud from his book. “Around the world, the border is everywhere, and everywhere you go, there are idealistic dreamers envisioning a world without it.”

Featured Image: University Alumni Patrick Strickland answers questions about his new book at the signing event on March 2, 2022. Photo by Julianna Rangel

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Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

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