Put safety before political games - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Put safety before political games

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Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 2:54 pm | Updated: 3:48 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Up behind Don Kimble’s house in southeast Arizona, banditos lay in wait for the Mexican cartel drug shipments that crisscross his rugged, but beautiful ranch. Human mules carry the cartel’s “dope” in backpacks. Protected by “well-armed Coyotes,” they head to nearby highways for the handoff to the next carriers. That is, unless the banditos stalk and rob them first. Shoot-outs, Kimble tells me, are common.

The Wild West has returned, entrapping innocent citizens in an 80-mile deep swath of real estate, stretching along the border from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico. Property values have plummeted, safety is a daily concern. Kimble says it’s as though Washington has ceded that stretch to Mexico, evidenced by its confusing, Laurel and Hardy Border Patrol policy.

Meanwhile, politics run amok amid pathetic attempts to disregard the real victims of this chaos.

Kimble, 59, was Rob Krantz’s lifelong buddy and neighbor; Krantz was the rancher who was shot and killed this past month by a Mexican man who is not believed to be an American citizen. Krantz and the other residents along the Mexican border are the up-front victims of Washington’s failure to protect our borders.

Beyond those ranches, the problem permeates our state. Arizona citizens all pay dearly for the border failure — not just illegals; or law enforcement that might be required to implement Senate Bill 1070; or our brown-skinned citizens; or Democrats or Republicans.

This state is at war. We stand as if alone. And yet, under attack are the very governor and legislature who are willing to act as others feign concern.

I’m curious. We subject ourselves to “profiling” every time we fly. Every one of us is treated as a terrorist in order to keep us safe. Yet in response to efforts to address the horrific, illegal problems on our streets, we cry profiling. The charges of racism are poisonous spin; the ignorance behind them is astonishing and a dangerous distraction. Shame on those who use the image of gentle, illegal faces to keep the borders broken. They are not caring advocates. They’re manipulators who pawn illegal people for their agenda.

Kimble tells of home invasions — “four or five” in the last month among his border neighbors — and he recounts startling levels of vandalism. Yet, he’s so intimidated by rules surrounding the treatment of illegals he dares not protect his property. Instead, he warns his workers: “Don’t talk to trespassers, move away quickly and report if you can.” But it can take an hour for Border agents to show up, if at all.

And, this is America.

All those along the border, including Sue Krantz, the wife of the slain rancher, will tell you: “It’s about sealing the borders.” They wonder why the Border Patrol won’t stage their officers against the border to block the flow, instead of patrolling 60 miles north as they do now. The policy confirms Kimble’s theory that Washington has given away that slice of America. The stretch from the border has become an American/Mexican Demilitarized Zone, stranding landowners.

Kimble and so many others believe Washington wants the borders open. Clearly, members of both parties are complicit.

So berate our governor. Slander the legislature. Go ahead. But, one must ask, where were you when this bill was being crafted and your input counted? This issue is about the safety of Americans, but for some, it’s a rotten political game that has turned America’s crisis into Arizona’s nightmare.

Puppet protestors inflict salt in the wound.

Linda Turley-Hansen lives in the East Valley, is a syndicated columnist and former Phoenix veteran TV anchor. Contact her at turleyhansen@gmail.com

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