Wednesday, March 08, 2006

US policies worsen out-of-control border

This is nuts. We train Mexican anti-drug forces, the drug cartels hire them. We ban meth precursors, the drug cartels get richer. Beefed up Border Patrols result in doubling illegal immigration. Gunplay on both sides of the border has become common as dirt. It's hard to deny the futility of America's failed security strategy on the Texas-Mexico border, as these recent news reports attest:
  • That training at Fort Benning really paid off, didn't it? According to the Washington Times, an FBI bulletin says a group of coyotes (immigrant smugglers) is paying protection money to Los Zetas, the US-trained Mexican special forces team that defected to work for one of the major drug cartels. "Los Roqueros reportedly pays smuggling rights or 'a quota' to the Zetas, former Mexican military officers trained in the United States as elite anti-drug specialists who have since deserted and signed on as mercenaries for drug smugglers. About 200 Zetas are thought to be headquartered in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, across the Rio Grande from Laredo, but have expanded their operations all along the Texas border." The bulletin says Los Roqueros have given orders to "shoot to scare" Border Patrol agents.
  • All hell breaking loose in Nuevo Laredo. The Tamaulipas state police chief and another officer were assassinated and two more injured in a hail of gunfire yesterday in Nuevo Laredo. "Investigators recovered more than 100 bullet casings from R-15 and Kalashnikov assault rifles from the scene, police said." As of yesterday, 42 people have died in ambush-style shootings in Nuevo Laredo since the beginning of the year.
  • Beware 'overt' movements at border traffic stops. A Hudspeth County Sheriff's Deputy shot an unarmed 19-year old marijuana smuggler on Saturday, firing ten shots after the young mule allegedly made an "overt move" toward his waist during a traffic stop. No weapon was found in the vehicle. Something doesn't sound right there - I'd like to see the video from that one. Video from another recent incident in Hudspeth County failed to support deputies' story.
  • Because Mexican drug cartels don't have enough money. In a bit of a non-sequitur, the US Senate added anti-meth amendments to the Patriot Act requiring peudoephedrine to be placed behind the counter. As Grits has noted previously, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin pointed out that "States that have placed restrictions on sales of medicines containing pseudoephedrine have experienced a rise in stimulants coming from Mexican cartels."
  • Results from immigration crackdown - 1 in 20 US workers illegal residents: The New York Times reported Sunday, "Demographers estimate that six million to seven million illegal immigrants are working in the United States; that is some 5 percent of the nation's work force. ... The current approach hasn't halted illegal immigration: some 400,000 to 500,000 illegal immigrants enter the United States every year, almost double the rate of the 1980's, before the buildup in border enforcement."
Honestly, can anything good be said about our current approach to border security? Even so, the only proposals you ever see are to throw more money at the same failed strategies.

16 comments:

kaptinemo said...

Not living there, I can't speak to the specifics, but it's becoming obvious that the prime force involved in what's happening is the cold, unfeeling force of economics.

Create an economic niche by making drugs illegal, and that niche will be filled faster than you can blink. Ban precursor chemicals? Plants to make pseudoephedrine spring up...and those plants will be perfectly legal...in Mexico. Typical "balloon-squeezing" that's leading to an end that can't be good either for the US or Mexico.

But the self-appointed moral proctors of the DrugWar refuse to acknowledge that stone-cold and immutable economic reality, preferring to try to hammer their whims and fantasies into reality.

I suppose the fable of King Canute would be lost on such, for what he ordered his men to do to illustrate a futile action (and bring his subject's expectations back to the real world) would be totally lost on the DrugWarriors; they already are trying to economically 'lash the waves' to 'control the tides'. So pathetic...

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the article goes into so much detail about the violence and murders on the border and then still takes the opportunity for blasting the local police.

You admit it is dangerous out there. I don't blame the police for trying to protect themselves. I suppose it would be more acceptable if they were shot instead? I just don't understand you.

"Beware 'overt' movements at border traffic stops. A Hudspeth County Sheriff's Deputy shot an unarmed 19-year old marijuana smuggler on Saturday, firing ten shots after the young mule allegedly made an "overt move" toward his waist during a traffic stop. No weapon was found in the vehicle. Something doesn't sound right there - I'd like to see the video from that one. Video from another recent incident in Hudspeth County failed to support deputies' story"

Gritsforbreakfast said...

If you don't understand, let me make it plain: If I'm pulled over at a traffic stop and coincidentally am stung by a wasp while the officer's walking up to the car, I don't want to die because I made an "overt movement," and I don't want anyone else to, either. This kid clearly wasn't going for a gun, so something else was going on -- good training and established standards for when to use lethal force are designed to distinguish between the two situations. Lethal force is only justified when there's an imminent threat to human life. A trunk-load of pot isn't worth killing somebody over.

Kaptinemo is right - the border crisis is a result of pure economics and in that sense police are basically victims, too, of a bad situation beyond their control. But that doesn't change the circumstances under which using lethal force is justified. Emptying one's weapon at an unarmed person because of a mistaken judgement - that the youth was going for a gun - on it's face is a bad, unintended outcome. I'm not saying the officer was definitely in the wrong - there's no way for us to know from the information available - just that it sounds like there's more to the story than was in the news account, and I'd like to see the tape.

Johnny Law said...

"This kid clearly wasn't going for a gun, so something else was going on"

I am glad you are so well trained that you can determine a person's intentions better than trained and experienced police officers. How do you know what it looked like to the officers onscene?

"Lethal force is only justified when there's an imminent threat to human life."

That is correct but you also have to consider these incidents through the eyes of any reasonable person. If the action looked furtive and threatening, the officers have a right to protect themselves. Action beats reaction and it is not fair to expect the officers wait until the last possible moment to act. This would only give you a lot of dead cops. There are enough of those already.

It's very easy to make your comments when you have plenty of time to think it over. In the real world, life and death decisions are made in the blink of an eye. A good rule is to stay very still if guns are pointed at you. Wait, that would mean placing some blame on people other than the police...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Johnny Law: As for the kid not going for a gun, he wasn't. He didn't have one. This shooting was an error, someone was shot based on a mistaken judgement. But perhaps you missed the part of my response that declared, "I'm not saying the officer was definitely in the wrong - there's no way for us to know from the information available."

Anonymous said...

To me it's the 10 shots that sounds fishy. Remember when four cops shot Amadou Diallo 41 times? They said they thought he made a move for a gun, too, but that didn't make it right. He was reaching for his wallet.

Anonymous said...

If you want to understand "grits for breakfast". You have to understand two things about the site. The police ARE always wrong - no matter what and no viable solutions to the problems addressed are ever offered up.

Anonymous said...

"If I'm pulled over at a traffic stop and coincidentally am stung by a wasp while the officer's walking up to the car, I don't want to die because I made an "overt movement,"

If you get shot while an officer is "walking up" to your car, something other than a wasp flying around (sit still, they won't bother you if you leave them alone) is going on.

Anonymous said...

"If you want to understand "grits for breakfast". You have to understand two things about the site. The police ARE always wrong -no matter what and no viable solutions to the problems addressed are ever offered up."

Obviously this anonymous is a cop and this cop frequents this blog to counterclaim some of the suggestions so I want to clear up some of the misconceptions his mind recklessly and aimlessly leaves behind.

This guy is not in any majority because most cops I know don't defend bad ideas that on their face are bad ideas. If you haven't picked up on this whack job, he/she will go with the status quo, even if it's per se wrong, until YOU suggest something that sounds better to him/her.

To those of us that were in law enforcement and had genuine public concern about law enforcement's current you/us mentality, this guy however isn't a minority.

Most of the problems in law enforcement are a direct result of us relying too much on law enforcement to solve too many of our problems and the increase in powers that projects.

The broad "lock em up" approach isn't working and there are cops out there like anonymous (whatever his/her name is) that use it for it's own sake.

Cops are not public enemies even though they appear to be. They enforce unpleasant situations and it's gotten to the point where they are enforcing too many which makes some of them really believe they can never end up like the one they just arrested.

It's polarizing and all of you should be concerned.

Anonymous said...

Webster's defines "whackjob" as"

One who claims to be an LEO or LEO related, and is most certainly none of the above.

Here's a hint. Try to persuade using real information, not the alleged "my police friends don't think anything like you" mantra.

hope said...

Anonymous at 10:22

"It's polarizing and all of you should be concerned."

I think I understand what you are saying and I, for one, am truly concerned and have been for some time.

Only thoughtful, reasonable, and sensible people can change this situation. I hope there are enough left that are and will do something about it.

Law enforcement by intimidation and a government that purposely uses intimidating tactics is not good. It never has been and never will be.

Anonymous said...

anonymous or "Whackjob"

Webster's doesn't define it; everyone knows it; and you saying so embodies the "I say so mentality" that's really a lie which gets you whack job cops in trouble to begin with.

Are you having trouble at home or are you getting even with the world because it just doesn't work they way you think it should?

Counseling is probably available at the PD free and if I were you I'd get it.

Anonymous said...

Heheh,

Just cuz you consistently make only two points in this blog (I used to work at a fed task force so I know what i'm saying, and the drug war is bad), doesn't mean you aren't having a full life.

I apologize if you felt I was attacking you personally. You have a contribution to make, no matter what anyone else says.

Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

Byrne grant money's gone and the rest of the federal funding is just about gone too. Asset forfeiture won't be able to pay the bills so there must be more than my two reasons to turn off the lights, change the locks; and send you back to those lost dog calls. Heh Heh.

Problem is if I only said task forces were bad I meant to say it's also the cops. Heh Heh.

Anonymous said...

Certainly more than two reasons, and methinks you miss the point, amigo.

You make some nice, authoritative posts about your view of the WOD and task force problems. Lots of B.S. in there, but you like the attention, so...so be it.

I've had a helluva ride in the T.N.C.P. while it lasted, but I, like most of the guys I work with, love all law enforcement. So if I had it to do all over again, knowing that the doors would close March 31st of 2006, I would have made the same choices. Got to see things most people never imagined...wouldn't even believe. Heck, maybe I'll write a book...let Scott edit it and you can be the technical advisor when rights are purchased for the movie.

Anonymous said...

"Got to see things most people never imagined...wouldn't even believe."

Like lyimg in reports, saying you did something you didn't, positive field testing drywall, learning to backdate reports, and saying you got dope from the defendant when you were outside and he was in the house.

We already read your book and reporting drug seizures gram at a time would be like watching paint dry or maybe grass grow.

Do yourself a favor. Snitch on your buddies before they snitch on you and don't write any more fiction than what you already wrote.

How long did you really wait for that guy who only had two grams to get the whole ounce of coke?