Shown below is a map of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, a half million acre preserve that buts up to the border with Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared a portion of this park along the border line unsafe for American Citizens.
I am personally concerned about this because I live about 10 miles north of the park’s border along the major route between Tucson and Sasabe, the Mexican border town adjacent to the park. This highway, route 286, although heavily patrolled, still channels a major amount of illegal traffic in people and drugs.
The nearby Mexican border town of Nogales, Sonora has seen drug related murders constantly increasing. Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star reports:
There were 136 homicides in 2009, up from 126 in 2008 and 52 in 2007.
Through March 23 of this year, there have been 79 killings, according to a tally maintained by El Imparcial newspaper in Sonora.
For a population of about 21,000 (in yr. 2000) that’s a lot of murders, although not yet reaching the terror level in Juarez, across the border from El Paso.
There have also been pitched gun battles between police or military and drug gangs in the past year, and that the level of violence continues to increase. In March, this year, the deputy police chief of Nogales was murdered by drug gangs.
The conventional wisdom is that this violence hasn’t yet, and probably won’t spill over the border into the U.S. However, recent events such as the discovery on 8 tons of marijuana in a Tucson house this week, the murder of rancher Krentz, gangs against gangs near the border, the shooting of a Sheriff deputy a month ago, and now the closure of American territory to American citizens shows that this is wishful thinking.
As I’ve mentioned earlier in these blogs I’ve seen a lot of illegals cross my land and in the past. When these were honest farm laborers looking for work, I had sympathy for them. Two of my college years were spent at what then was Mexico City College in Mexico and I have a warm regard for Mexico and Mexicans. However, with the violent drug trade pushing violence directly up to my house in the desert I’ve become very apprehensive. The recent murder of a local Arizona rancher, Mr. Krentz, it has made it clear that those of us who live near the border are potentially exposed to this violence. Although I don’t consider myself an alarmist, the closure of the lower part of the wildlife refuge reinforces this and gives me chills. The route followed by the drug gangs who make this zone toxic leads directly north through my property.
Philosophically I’d love to have open borders, so Mexicans would be welcomed here, and Americans, likewise could invest and enrich the Mexican economy. In an ideal world we’d both gain. But this is obviously not an ideal world, especially here on the border. As a combat veteran of the Vietnam war I’m completely comfortable around weapons but not in any way an enthusiast. When I left the army I thought I’d never again have to carry a firearm for personal protection. I still don’t relish it, but do so occasionally when confronted with foot traffic from Mexico. However, I also realize that the drug gangs are far better armed than I am — revolver against AK-47 is not a fair contest.
The political winds that swirl around border enforcement are stirring up a lot of dust. But the bottom line truth is that when peaceful American citizens begin to fear for their own safety and the safety of their families, then it’s time to cut through the bull-shit and send in the troops. That’s what we did when Pancho Villa raided across the border. That’s what we need to do now.