Next time you have to take off your shoes, empty your pockets, unpack your computer, and generally be harassed and inconvenienced at the airport, reflect on this, while you are waiting in line:
More than a dozen Border Patrol agents, all of whom requested anonymity for fear of bureaucratic retribution, recently stated that they were given orders to keep the arrest levels down, along the same stretch of Arizona border that was previously monitored by the Minutemen. Otherwise, they maintain, it would be obvious how effective these volunteers were. Although these charges are being denied by higher-ups in the agency, immigration reform advocate Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) claims to have “credible sources” backing up these claims. Tancredo commented that he is angry, but not surprised.
Of course, anyone who has ever worked with a government agency is well familiar with this sort of cover-your-ass mentality, although it does not usually impact national security so directly. Most of the time, such conduct manifests itself in pouring more money into already failed projects; selective enforcement of politically correct high profile cases, to detract from an inferior overall work product; or simply blaming another agency for its own failings.
It is quite disconcerting to find out that our already porous borders are being made more so—as a matter of agency policy. But then, it was none other than our “conservative” president, George W., who put fuel to the fire, by calling the Minutemen “vigilantes.”
While this sobriquet was surely not meant as a compliment, in the fairest sense, a vigilante is simply someone who is acting outside of the entrenched power structure, and this activity is by no means always wrong. Who today would condemn the activities of the Boston Vigilance Committee, that aided escaping slaves? How many living in San Francisco during the Gold Rush would complain about the vigilance committees that appeared in the 1850’s, to combat the extraordinarily high homicide rate?
Clearly, your wonderful government would also want you to forget that notorious serial killer Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker) was identified and apprehended (and beaten) by civilians. Or, of more recent vintage, that Beltway Snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, despite an incredibly large (if grossly incompetent) official investigation, were arrested at a highway rest area in Maryland only after police received two telephone tips from alert citizens. Particularly galling in the Beltway case was that more deaths than necessary had to occur since authorities were undoubtedly searching for the “obvious” profile of a disaffected white Timothy McVeigh, Jr., rather than a vicious Black malcontent and his pony boy.
Then, there’s the strange case of Marine 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano. A few months ago, the squishy elite media was chock full of coverage of how Pantano, an exemplary soldier, was being investigated regarding the deaths of two Iraqi insurgents, during a raid on a hellish hideout in the “triangle of death.” Nothing like second guessing a battlefield decision. Heck, I thought we were there to kill the insurgents.
As it happened, the main witness against him, Sgt. Daniel L. Coburn, embarrassed himself and the prosecution, by taking the Fifth. This was followed by a host of other witnesses, who praised Pantano and vilified Coburn. It seems that Coburn was unhappy with his demotion in the squad, and was out to get Pantano.
On May 12, investigating officer Lt. Col. Mark E. Winn recommended to Maj. Gen. Richard Huck, commander of the 2nd Marine Division, that all criminal charges be dropped, including murder and destruction of the Iraqis’ vehicle. Winn did recommend that Pantano face administrative punishment for firing too many rounds at the two men. Winn noted that, “The government was not able to produce credible evidence or testimony that the killings were premeditated. I think now [Sgt. Coburn] is in a position where he has told his story so many times, in so many versions that he cannot keep his facts straight anymore.”
What this country needs are a whole lot more guys like Pantano, the Minutemen, and the Border Patrol agents who spoke up, along with a whole lot fewer craven bureaucrats and media pencil necks.