Send in the US Cavalryby Hugh Holub on May. 27, 2010, under border issues, politics, SB 1070
Things are tense in cowboy country.
Once you get outside the urban area Tucson is surrounded by ranching country. South of town there are ranches that were founded 300 years ago. Father Kino brought the first cows to the Santa Cruz Valley in the 1690’s.
There are also a lot of for real cowboys out there, doing cowboy stuff. The other day was talking to one of the cowboys that’s been up at 4:30 every morning branding cattle.
But the days of cowboys and ranching in Southern Arizona may be numbered.
To hear local ranchers talk about what’s going on in the borderlands sounds eerily like stories from the days of the Apache wars, especially 1850 to 1880.
The murder of Douglas rancher Robert Krentz sent shock waves through the ranching community. Every rancher and cowboy out working the range felt like it could’ve been them that was gunned down.
Every rancher I’ve talked to tells pretty much the same story:
…they see lots of undocumented workers crossing their ranches, leaving trash, cutting fences, and getting into trouble because of the heat. Many area ranches have set up water stations for crossers.
…other than the increase in the number of workers crossing, nothing much has changed in years out there. The workers crossing have never been much of a problem. There seems to be just as much increase in crossers as Border Patrol.
..they’ve built “side step” gates through fences but the Border Patrol has put sensors on these gates, so the crossers are still cutting fences.
…they are finding dropped loads of drugs out on remote roads. They don’t go anywhere near these drops for fear someone is watching them. They call the Border Patrol. And then get the heck out of there.
…they fear that there are armed drug smugglers with automatic weapons out there now. They really do not want to run into these guys. Most of the cowboys are carrying weapons, but as one said “A 45 is no match for a 47” meaning an AK 47.
…while working out on the range, they hope that the drug smugglers will sort of ignore them “ cause we’re just cowboys doing our job.” Since the Krentz murder, they don’t believe that.
…they used to offer aid to crossers they found on their ranches. Since the Krentz murder, they don’t any more.
…meanwhile they’re moving their families out of the area because they don’t feel it is safe any more.
…and they have nothing good to say about the Border Patrol.
If you want to get an earful about how ineffective the Border Patrol really is, go talk to a borderland rancher.
Homeland Security Director (and former Governor) Janet Napolitano was testifying before Congress the other day, denying that the border was broken and touting all the Border Patrol and goodies deployed out there. During her testimony she claimed to really know the border.
I really doubt Janet has every gone incognito to the border without an escort from the Border Patrol and been fed their line of cow flop.
We’d like all these experts on border security who keep dumping millions of dollars into the failed Border Patrol “layered defense” strategy to tour the border without their press entourages and without their Border Patrol escorts. They need to see what’s going on at the ground level and talk to the border people.
The Arizona Cattle Growers Association has submitted an 18 point plan to improve border security. Please take the time to read this.
If you go to the borderlands and talk to the cowboys, not only will you hear details about this plan from the cowboys, they will show you what’s wrong with the current strategy of the Border Patrol driving on roads 20 miles from the border, and leaving the line open for crossing and smuggling.
The photos of those masked gunmen who shot at the Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies over by Interstate 8, forty miles inside Arizona, says it all.
The folks crossing looking for jobs are not the border security problem we have. It’s the guys with AK 47s running around the borderlands that are the problem.
Back when the Apaches were kicking the crap out of everyone in Southern Arizona the US army established forts all over the place to secure the area. This was not a “police” type operation. It was military.
Ironically, one of the most effective Border Patrol operations has been their Forward Observation Bases at the border, with their agents riding the border on horses.
Maybe instead of sending in the National Guard, we need to send in the US cavalry.
List of Arizona forts established during the Apache War:
• Fort Apache
• Fort Badger
• Fort Bowie
• Fort Buchanan
• Fort Crittenden
• Fort Defiance
• Fort Grant
• Fort Huachuca
• Lee’s Fort
• Fort Lowell
• Fort McDonald
• Fort McDowell
• Fort Milligan
• Fort Misery
• Fort Mojave
• Fort Rock
• Fort Tyson (Charles)
• Fort Utah
• Fort Verde
• Fort Whipple
• Fort Yuma