MICHAEL CUTLER: BORDER AGENTS DEFENDING THEMSELVES WITH BEAN BAGS…
Diane Macedo, a journalist who has been covering the immigration issue for a number of years, wrote a news report appeared on the Fox News website on March 3rd.
Once again the issue is the murder of United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry who was killed on December 14, 2010 when he and four of his colleagues came upon a group of illegal aliens who were heavily armed with AK-47 assault rifles. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that weapon, it is a weapon that may permit the shooter to fire bursts of bullets. This weapon has a reputation for lethality and for being very rugged and is the weapon of choice for many countries and terrorist organizations.
Brian A. Terry
There are simultaneous controversies swirling around the murder of Border Patrol Agent Terry. First of all, it would appear that the agents were ordered to not resort to deadly force when encountering illegal aliens, even if these illegal aliens were armed. This is the subject of Diane Macedo’s article. It is believed that even when the illegal aliens encountered by Terry and company failed to drop their weapons and even opened fire, that the Border Patrol agents, at least initially fired nonlethal beanbags at the armed intruders!
Ask yourself- would want to be a Border Patrol agent patrolling some of the most dangerous terrain on our planet and be told that even if you are confronted by apparent deadly force, your first response should be non-lethal?
I want you to consider an extremely interesting quote from President Obama when he was running for the office of President of the United States. This quote appeared in the New York Times of June 14, 2008:
Senator Barack Obama was fund-raising Friday night in Philadelphia. But he was talking about “the Chicago way.”
Channeling the mob drama, “The Untouchables,” Mr. Obama said in reference to the general election rumble with the Republicans: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
Let me repeat what then candidate Obama said:
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
In the excellent film, “The Untouchables,” Sean Connery plays the role of Jimmy Malone, a seasoned Chicago cop who takes Elliot Ness played by Kevin Costner, under his wing. Many people don’t realize it, but Elliot Ness was actually a Revenue Officer, the equivalent of an ATF special agent.
Connery’s character instructs Elliot Ness about how to be “street wise” and calls into action his many years of experience as a “beat cop.”
The film is known for many incredible scenes and is often thought of as being one of the best law enforcement films. Probably the most famous line in the movie and one that was invoked by Mr. Obama had to do with the “Chicago way” as noted above.
So now we come back to the rules of engagement that, according to published reports, endanger our Border Patrol agents and, if would appear, have caused the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
The important questions that now need to be asked are:
“Are our valiant Border Patrol agents being ordered to bring bean bags to a gun fight?”
“Are our Border Patrol agents still being ordered to not use lethal force in comparable situations?”
When the citizens of our nation and a number of our true political leaders demanded that the military augment the Border Patrol, it turned out that the military forces were mostly being used to create the illusion of supporting efforts to secure our borders but were, for the most part, being used to handle mundane chores that had little or nothing to do with law enforcement activities. I certainly do not want our military to handle law enforcement duties- indeed, this is something that would be of questionable legality. However, when heavily armed smugglers who may well have military training- indeed, training our government may well have provided them – then the premise behind the “Chicago way” needs to kick in!
Instead, our government is going in the exact opposite direction using our Border Patrol agents as “cannon fodder.”
When I was an INS special agent and we were at a briefing where we felt that certain safety issues were not being adequately addressed, we used to employ a bit of gallows humor and I would remind the people putting the operation plan together that we were not “GS-13 Target Holders!”
That simple image was generally all that was necessary to get whatever concern he had addressed. Clearly our Border Patrol agents are not “Target Holders” either!
The second issue – one of equal concern – is the fact that according to published reports, at least two of the weapons found at the murder scene have been identified (by tracing serial numbers) back to an ATF covert arms trafficking investigation known as “Project Gunrunner.” Under the highly questionable investigative tactics employed by the long term investigation into gun running, ATF (U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) permitted large numbers of weapons to be purchased by suspected gunrunners and then, under the watchful eye of surveillance teams, these weapons were driven away. Many of these, it is believed, ultimately wound up in the hands of the Mexican cartels and assorted criminals in Mexico and, perhaps, elsewhere.
I previously wrote a commentary about “Project Gunrunner.” I felt compelled to once again raise the issue of this seemingly wrong-headed approach to combatting gunrunning that may have contributed to Brian Terry’s murder.
Below is a video of the CBS report that aired on February 23rd this year:
As an INS Senior Special Agent, I have worked closely with many other law enforcement agencies including the ATF, DEA and FBI as well as with local and state police. Whenever a strategy was to be devised to further an investigation- we always gave careful consideration to the downside of what we were doing. For example, there were times when an agent from another agency might approach me about enabling an alien who was involved with the drug trade to be permitted to enter the country in furtherance of a narcotics investigation- the concern was whether or not we might lose control over the individual and that he might turn violent and kill or, at the least, injure someone. The two word phrase that always took top consideration was, “Safety first!”
If the goal of ATF is to keep firearms out of the hands of the bad guys, I really and truly want to know, how does putting thousands of high powered weapons make us safer? How does putting thousands of weapons into the hands of criminals coincide with what should be the goal of law enforcement agencies, especially the lead agency in the United States for attempting to keep illicit weapons off our streets and the streets of other countries, such as Mexico? According to a number of highly credible news reports, ATF seemingly did the exact opposite of what should be mandated by their responsibility. While no information has, as yet, been made public that the round that killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was fired by a firearm that was allowed to “walk” in the parlance of the ATF, the fact that the illegal aliens were armed with apparently functioning AK-47 Assault Rifles that had been permitted to “walk” out of a gun store in the United States is unfathomable!
I also want very much to know if any of the guns used in the assault on ICE Special Agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila in Mexico had also been permitted to “walk” under the auspices of ATF’s “Project Gunrunner.”
In my humble opinion, permitting fully functional lethal weapons to “walk” out of gun dealers’ stores in the United States, purportedly in furtherance of an active investigation into gun trafficking makes even less sense than having police officers manning a sobriety checkpoint, providing highly alcoholic beverages to motorists- including truck and bus drivers, and then watch them drive erratically down the road. Commonsense should tell you that nothing good would come from such a “strategy.”
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