Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: <i>Have gun, will travel</i> .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Friday, March 25, 2005

Have gun, will travel

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to surf the ‘net other than to check in at my usual haunts. Finally got to do just that recently, and am disturbed at the naiveté of the average Republican citizen. I’m not talking about the wingnuts – I’m aware of their sociopathic nature. I’m referring to the average schmuck that voted for Bush for his moral values. It seems he’s still swallowing blindly what’s fed to him without asking what’s in it.

I followed some threads on the Minuteman Project. You know, where thousands of volunteers are supposed to gather in Arizona from all over the the country to guard the border from illegal aliens? It seems the average Joe believes these guys are going to be walking around with note pads, taking names and calling the border patrol. Sounds harmless enough, kind of like hall monitors in grade school.

But the hall monitors I remember were weasely power hungry wannabes, who reveled in the power they held over their peers, whom they could punish at their whim with a quick scratch of their Number 2 pencil. Mix this personality with that of the school bully, throw in some anger and bigotry, and you have an idea of the kind of people that will be patrolling the badlands of Arizona (cue the Good, Bad and Ugly theme music).

If this month-long project ends with no violence, and results in more official border patrol personnel, then more power to them. But based on the past history of the participants and the region, violent confrontation is likely. As noted in my post on February 27th, some of these “patriots” see the borderlands as a legitimate migrant hunting ground.

In 2000 Miguel Angel Palafox, a 20-year-old migrant, was shot in the neck by two horsemen dressed in black who attacked him near the border town of Sasabe, about 50 miles east of Cochise County. Palafox crawled back to Mexico with a T-shirt wrapped around his wound and lived to tell the tale, though the riders remain unknown.

Last October, in the small town of Red Rock, between Tucson and Phoenix, two undocumented immigrants were found shot to death by a roadside. Manuel Ortega, a spokesman for the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, says the two victims were part of a group of 12 migrants resting around a pond south of the town. While most of the group slumbered, one of the migrants told the consulate staff, two masked men dressed in camouflage and armed with machine guns appeared from the woods, firing upon the group and killing the two before the others scattered.

But surely the Minuteman project wouldn’t allow this type of person to be part of their peaceful protest, would they? Take a look at their leadership. One of the organizers was suspected of beating a migrant in 2003, but never charged. He regularly hosts camping parties on his ranch with the goal of chasing off illegal immigrants who cross his land.

His co-conspirator is a paranoid refugee from California, who issued a “call to arms” in his Tombstone newspaper. I posted a profile of him on March 4th. Scary guy. He runs a militia designed to repel illegals, and requires them to be armed. Fortunately his ranks are few, as most of the people who volunteer can’t pass the background check required before they can be registered to carry a weapon. In 2003 he issued a “message to the world”, warning:

“Do not attempt to cross the border illegally; you will be considered an enemy of the state; if aggressors attempt to forcefully enter our country they will be repelled with force if necessary!"

If anything good could be said about this project, it’s that attention is finally being shown to the sad state of the security of our borders. Late last year Congress authorized adding 2000 agents per year for the next five years, nearly doubling the Border Patrol’s ranks, although Bush’s new budget only allows for 210 new agents this year.

That’s another silver lining to this issue. It’s got a lot of Republicans pissed at dubya. But again, they’re swallowing the party line without thinking. They think he’s against it because of the Hispanic vote, or because he’s afraid of Vincente Fox. He doesn’t need the Hispanic vote, or any votes for that matter. He’s a lame duck. He opposing the Minuteman Project and cutting spending for border security simply to repay special interests that helped get him into (and back into) office. Nothing more, nothing less.

So since the Minuteman Project is going forward, all we can do is hope that there’s a minimum of bloodshed. And if you’re traveling through Arizona in April, stay north of I-10. Especially if you fit the Hispanic or Middle Eastern profile. And if you live in Arizona, regardless of ethic appearance, keep you head down. You never know when a stray bullet may come your way.


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