First, consider the case of Pima County’s Clarence W. Dupnik, who had the bad fortune to be at the helm when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot, and the bad form to try to politicize a tragedy. The ideologically incontinent Dupnik took to blaming the victims of the tragedy — the people of Arizona — while simultaneously absolving his own department of its failure to take action regarding a man who had allegedly made death threats in the past. This failure of duty has done little to blunt the rhetoric of gun control fanatics, who jumped on Dupnik’s “blame-the-Right” bandwagon and sounded the cry for a return to the nonsensical days of the Brady Bill.
Second, consider the plight of Cochise County’s Larry A. Dever and Pinal County’s Paul Babeu. Unlike the Tucson tragedy — which appears to have been, in the end, a very much "local" story, albeit one with national implications — the situation which sheriffs Dever and Babeu want in the national spotlight is actually an international crisis: The immediate need for troops on the U.S.–Mexico border to bring an end to a flood of illegal border crossings which now exceed the enforcement capabilities of their two county departments.
The Sierra Vista Herald reports that Dever and Babeu have alerted the federal government to the crisis, but the Obama administration has thus far been unwilling to provide the needed manpower:
Two sheriffs gave a grim assessment of security along the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday, telling lawmakers they need the U.S. government to send more soldiers.
“Get the military on the border, and get them there now,” Cochise County Sheriff Larry A. Dever said in a presentation to the Senate Border Security, Federalism and State Sovereignty Committee.Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said that a “visible human fence” made up of armed military men and women is the answer to reducing crime and cutting down the flow of illegal immigrants.
“The military should be there as a visible deterrent,” Babeu said. “The problem has not gone away. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security.”
The sheriffs both proposed a three-pronged approach to border security: increase the military presence, improve existing infrastructure such as the border fence and bolster enforcement.
With last fall’s elections now a distant, perhaps somewhat painful, memory for Mr. Obama, there seems to be little interest in D.C. for a repeat of even such blatant tokenism as last year’s deployment of 1,200 troops to the border. In fact, even while the Department of Homeland Security was busy making sure pornoscanners were installed in America’s airports, that same department was eliminating a security measure which could actually help protect the nation from the current invasion; as the Herald article observed:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently canceled funding for a controversial “virtual fence,” a billion-dollar project led by Boeing Corp. to put a line of sensors along the U.S.-Mexico border. Instead, DHS plans to use proven technologies such as mobile surveillance systems, unmanned aircraft and thermal-imaging devices. The problem, however, is not a matter of spotting the illegals — the problem is stopping them.
While Dupnik’s grandstanding has become such an embarrassment to Arizonans that he may now face a recall by voters, Babeu and Dever are actually trying to protect their citizens against foreign criminals streaming through their counties. Meanwhile, the nation may face the latest round of gun control prattle even as the administration appears impotent to cope with homicidal drug cartels that have turned Mexico into a free-fire zone and are finding it easier now than before to infiltrate our Republic.
Photo: Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik speaks with the media at a news conference, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz.: AP Images