I Haven’t Done This in a While
One Ruben Navarrette, Jr. has a piece in last Sunday’s Fresno Bee that is quite fiskworthy. It’s been a while since I fisked a piece in its entirety. Let us proceed:
Gun-running between U.S., Mexico must stop
It’s time for the American people to stop living in a state of denial and get serious about stopping gun shipments into Mexico.
It’s past time for the American government to stop living in a state of denial and get serious about BORDER SECURITY – in BOTH directions.
Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, has noted that as many as 2,000 weapons enter Mexico from the U.S. every day — most of them through Texas and Arizona, and many of them are purchased legally at gun shows and gun stores.
And that number is what fraction, pray tell, of the number of
illegal aliens “undocumented workers” who come across the border each day in the other direction?
Many of the transactions come in “straw purchases,” where drug traffickers use Americans — including friends and relatives — to buy guns.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that 90% of the firearms confiscated in drug crimes in Mexico come from the United States, and some of the shipments can be enormous.
Which again illustrates graphically that the BATFE is a whirling vortex of suck at DOING THEIR JOB, doesn’t it? Instead of investigating “straw purchases” etc., they seem to spend an extraordinary amount of time screwing with manufacturers after changing the rules on them without warning, or pursuing typographical errors instead of, you know, known criminals because, I suspect, legitimate businessmen (unlike drug dealers) don’t shoot at you when you screw with them.
Both Americans and Mexicans tend to think of the border as the end of the Earth. It isn’t. It’s a turnstile.
Not even. Turnstiles at least provide an opportunity to slow the flow.
When someone goes north looking for work, Mexicans naively assume they have seen the last of him. And when guns go south looking for trouble, Americans assume the same about the havoc they create.
Ah! And here we have it! Witness, ladies and gentlemen, the fundamental flaw of The Other Side, the inability (some would argue conscious refusal) to Identify the Problem. Read that phrase again: “. . . when guns go south looking for trouble . . .” Mr. Navarrette has, as his side so often does, personified inanimate objects. The guns aren’t taken across the border, no! They “go south looking for trouble“! No human intervention necessary! The problem isn’t the people who wish to use them criminally, the problem is the guns – and therefore the only possible solution involves eliminating the guns – Q.E.D. And not just the guns “going south looking for trouble!”
Wrong on both counts. Immigrants are going back to Mexico because of a bad U.S. economy. Meanwhile, the gun violence that Americans subsidize south of the border is boiling over onto U.S. soil.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano didn’t get the memo. She recently told a Senate committee that Mexico’s drug violence had not spread to the U.S.
And she’s in charge of the federal Dept. of Homeland Security! I feel safer already.
But only a few days earlier, Texas’ Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw told the Texas Legislature that violence from the drug cartels had — “no question about it” — spilled into Texas.
Then there is Napolitano’s own state of Arizona, where its largest city — Phoenix — is now considered the nation’s kidnap capital because of spillover violence from Mexico.
Which I posted on a few days ago.
According to the Justice Department, Mexican drug traffickers have a presence in at least 230 U.S. cities. No wonder the Obama administration is getting serious about helping Mexican President Felipe Calderon fight the drug cartels.
Gee, why doesn’t Calderon just fight the drugs that are coming North, looking for trouble? Isn’t that the winning strategy?
Napolitano has promised to increase the Homeland Security Department’s cooperation with Mexico to help curb the southward export of assault weapons. And, on that topic, Attorney General Eric Holder caused a stir when he turned the drug war into a debate on gun control.
“As President Obama indicated during the campaign,” Holder said, “there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons [which expired in 2004]. I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum.”
Except: A) Holder lied. To begin with, the “ban” wasn’t really a ban, and it certainly didn’t cover the weapons that Holder apparently believes it did. Don’t you think that the Attorney General ought to understand what the law does and doesn’t say? Either he does, and he lied, or he doesn’t and he’s incompetent. Either way, as Glenn Reynolds says, “We’re in the best of hands.” And: B) The “debate” got no traction at all, since Speaker Pelosi effectively told Holder “No f$&^ing way.”
That was all it took. Those who love their guns more than their neighbor to the south were eager to believe CNN’s Lou Dobbs when he declared: “Attorney General Eric Holder is willing to sacrifice our gun ownership rights under the Constitution for the benefit of a foreign government, in this case Mexico.”
And here’s the second fundamental flaw of The Other Side – the belief that if you don’t agree with them you must be EEEEEVIL! Note the comparison: If we don’t believe in “gun control” then we “love our guns” more than we “love our neighbor to the south.”
Odd dichotomy, that. I think I’ll go hug my AR15. How about this: We love our rights more than we love enacting policies based on opposing philosophies that are useless at best, counterproductive at worst?
Because we know the problem isn’t the guns, Mr. Navarrette.
Suddenly, the anti-Mexico crowd had a new warning for America. And like the rest of their gibberish, this bit of nonsense fit on a bumper sticker: “Obama will take away your guns — to please Mexico.“
Gibberish? Like “guns going south looking for trouble”? That kind of gibberish? And defending my rights is now “anti-Mexico”. Check.
So now laudable efforts by U.S. law enforcement agencies to crack down not on gun ownership but on gun smuggling — through initiatives such as “Operation Gunrunner,” which the ATF launched a little more than a year ago — are an infringement on Americans’ right to bear arms under the Second Amendment?
Somehow, I doubt that James Madison, the father of the Constitution, would cosign that assertion.
I bet Thomas Jefferson would.
Here’s another weakness of The Other Side – an apparently complete unfamiliarity with Economics 101, or as Father Guido Sarducci’s puts it in his 5-Minute University routine, “Supply and Demand.”
And I’ll bet Mr. Navarrette has a degree from a prestigious journalism school, too.
Choking off one source just means opening up a different one. This is something the British (who live on an ISLAND by the way) have some experience with. And the Brits have every gun control law on the books there that cause Josh Sugarmann to have wet-dreams, with the exception of a complete ban.
It hasn’t stopped people there from being machine–gunned.
Supply and Demand, Mr. Navarrette.
This is a serious issue worthy of serious discussion, without hyperbole or distortions.
So far, Reuben, you aren’t doing too well on either point.
Congress certainly thinks so, which is why it approved $10 million for Operation Gunrunner in the economic stimulus bill.
That would be the bill that was so crucial that no one had time to read it? So critical that if it wasn’t passed with extraordinary speed, our economic “crisis” would become an economic “catastrophe”? The one that includes $50 million for National Endowment for the Arts grants?
That economic stimulus bill? The one The One took three days to get around to signing?
Sarukhan, in a recent interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, cited one bust last year in the city of Reynosa, across the border from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
“In a single seizure,” the ambassador said, “we detained half a million rounds of ammo, 270 semi-automatic assault weapons, fragmentation grenades and … sniper rifles. And they were all coming from the U.S. side of the border.”
Right! I can go into any gun shop and buy a case of frag grenades? I’m having problems finding bulk-pack .22 Long Rifle ammo! How’s that BATFE thing working out? After all, that stuff got across the border, didn’t it?
And “detained”? According to Webster’s, “to detain” is defined as “to hold or keep, as if in custody.” All well and good, but what happened to all that ordnance? Is it all still in the Mexican government’s hands? Or has it been trickling back out to the Cartels? Inquiring minds want to know!
No point in denying it. Much of the death and destruction south of the border is stamped: “Made in the U.S.A.” Americans helped make this mess. It’s only right that we do whatever we can to help clean it up — not just for Mexico’s own good, but for ours.
Well, I’ll deny it. That death and destruction is stamped “Hecho en Mexico” because the fingers on the triggers are not attached to Americans. Someone please explain to me why “whatever we can” always seems to mean “infringe the rights of U.S. Citizens,” especially when that infringement never seems to affect the actual problem, which is bad people with lots of money willing to kill other people to keep making that money.
Assume we could shut off the flow of arms from the U.S. into Mexico (laughable, since we can’t shut off the flow of drugs, much less people in the opposite direction, but just as a mental experiment), the Cartels are going to stop killing? Or will the continuing murders be OK then because the “death and destruction south of the border” will no longer be stamped “Made in the U.S.A.”?
Oh, sorry, I forgot: The weapons and ammunition that will be smuggled up from Central America or directly from China and Europe by the containerload will still be our fault because we’ll be paying for it with our appetite for the drugs they sell, and because many of the weapons will be, as that earlier post pointed out “left over from the wars that the United States helped fight in Central America.”
Sorry, Mr. Navarrette. I’m as concerned as the next guy about our neighbor to the south, (perhaps more, since I’m about an hour from the border) but I understand that restricting my rights won’t help them. Your jeremiad is just another example of the cognitive dissonance exhibited by those with the gun-control mindset:
When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn’t seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn’t executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as “escalation of failure”.)
You’ll pardon me if I advocate for skipping the escalation of failure this time. I, for one, have had enough of “Do it again, only HARDER!“
(And yes, I’ll be emailing a link to this piece to Mr. Navarrette, Jr.)
UPDATE – 3/21: Six days, and not a peep out of Mr. Navarrette, Jr. Color me surprised.