My friends: it is difficult to relate exactly the experiences we are having here, particularly after a bottle of Jameson’s at the La Siesta, with a new friend and aging combat veteran, but I will do my best. I’m going to order this in terms of an After Action Report, because after nearly 20 years of carrying a gun in defense of the Constitution and those things that make us Americans, I think it is both fair and appropriate to seek that fair and balanced approach. That statement alone is a post, whose hard earned lessons I can’t even begin to articulate.
What I learned today: The Ajo Area of Operations (AO) is currently the most active dope and human smuggling area in the United States.
The cartels have networks of paid professional scouts buried in the Santa Rosa Range, hard on the US side of the border, which overlooks the entire Ajo Valley, and a radio network stretching from Ajo to Phoenix. The Agents are powerless to stop it. Blame that on manpower shortages, geography, or politics–they know the sites exist and can do nothing to stop it. Occasionally, they conduct massive FLIR assisted heliborne raids, or four wheeler “Trojan Horse” operations in attempts at interdiction, a version of a tactic I once employed as a domestic narcotics agent, but mostly they fail. They are also hampered in their law enforcement duties by the Wilderness designation of the entire site, which precludes the involvement of the motorized vehicles of any kind. Imagine that.
Everything we did today, which was largely picking up trash from dope and human smuggling ops, is under constant observation. The Border Patrol guys we worked with–who commute 4 hours each day from Phoenix or Tucscon just to come to work–something to think about in the the most active smuggling corridor on our southern border–advised me that there were active lookouts in the Santa Rosa Range on the US side of the border, places such as Sweetwater Pass, or Alli Wau, which we could clearly see, as well as the multiple elevated sights on the Mexican side of the “fence”, which were actively communicating our activities. They assured me that if we could hear the radio comms we might be surprised at the commentary on our clothing choices.
One of the Border Patrol Agents related his experiences in recent months when he was assigned to Nogales, where he personally detained 27 migrants, alone, and where he advised that they had detained over 2700 children, many of them in the 4-5 year old category, without parents, and were left to decide what to do with them. There is so much wrong with that simple tale I can’t even begin to articulate it.
This is an enormous issue, one that most Americans at home with their comfortable choices are unable to even contemplate. Since retiring from law enforcement in southern California, where a different version of these issues confronted my own conscience on a daily basis, I have done my best to inform those in my new Oregon neighborhood about the very strange choices they will some day have to confront, largely to unappreciative ears.
But today I was here, on the border, encountering smuggling sites with piles of “carpet slippers” and other accoutrement of the every day activities on the border. And I spent hours, frying in the Sonoran sun, with agents of our Border Patrol who betrayed only a seasoned, 1000 yard stare, attitude about what is happening on our borders.
This conversation is not going away, and I have my own experiences to inform an input, but what I can report from my first real experience here, on the front, at the fence, where the rubber meets the road, is so astonishing that I can only fail to report it accurately. That is particularly true after enjoying a Jameson’s, or three, with one of the wounded vets I am here with, a guy who took a .762 round through his face while fighting in Somalia.
Do you remember that?
Let’s take a look at what we are doing, friends. The world is a gigantic place, full of venom, and young Americans keep paying the price for these elections, whose lurid and furious spectacle we keep enjoying daily, and the putrid pile of candidates we must choose from.
I don’t know. I’m a little tight at the moment, blame the Jameson’s, and room 124, and maybe I’m even a little pissed off. I’m here with men who fought and suffered real consequences from these decisions, real wounds and recovery in their bodies, from Panama to Mogadishu to Ramadi, and I can only offer in discussion my own tiny wounds, earned on the hard and dark streets of America, defending the constitution each and every night, or in broad daylight in nice neighborhoods, in violent confrontations, and their outcomes, or one sad and regrettable late night where I came home with my uniform covered in fresh, dripping, blood, and where my wife, that Angel I do not deserve, took my pants and shirt and hosed them off in the back yard of our house–while sending me to bed with assurances that all was well.
Geezus. What did I ever do to deserve a woman that solid?
I have no answer. But I know something is happening to our dream, that frontier dream where we get to build a life against the intrusions of government, against those agents of destruction or disinformation, of some other easy dream, those agents of destruction who live for weeks, or months, in our national monuments, paid off by people who buy white tigers and rhinos and giraffes for their compounds, and who peddle cheap white chrystals of death to our children, whose ultimate aim, whether they know it or not, is to kill freedom and choice and benevolence forever. And all of it is supported by those chattering heads we study each night on our televisions, who can’t for even a minute utter a single sentence in defense of our own history and traditions and those deeper beliefs who have defined us for 200 years.
I have kicked doors in the United States, number 1 in the stack of young men with badges trying to defend something, and entered rooms with statues representing only death, with burning candles and offerings of food, or money, or even pounds of dope, and been forced to wonder, where is the world I believed in once?
Come here, friends, take a look around. Read the tea leaves. Talk to people. Ask questions. Ask yourself. Something is going on. None of it resembles your expectations.