Becky Fenger Fenger PointingJUNE 23, 2010

The killing fields

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If only my Photo of the Week, taken by a friend and concerned citizen, were a joke instead of the real thing. The truth is that Mexican drug cartels now control parts of Arizona.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu announced at a news conference that he no longer has control over parts of his county, and has asked President Barack Obama for help since he is outgunned, outmanned and short of resources. Too bad that Obama was on the golf course when his request arrived.

Two weeks ago my friend took a tour of the Arizona Interstate 8 corridor, starting at Mile Post 150, which is the intersection of Highway 84 and I-8. That's where the old Highway 84 overpass is located and a large truck stop once existed. It is now a tiny convenience store and gas station. There is a seedy little trailer park adjacent to the east.

Mile Post 150 is where one enters to go to Antelope Peak and was once a popular Bureau of Land Management hiking area. This is also the area where two suspected drug smugglers were shot and killed on June 7. One of them called the Pinal County Sheriff's office before he died. It is this area where Pinal County Sheriff's Deputy Louie Puroll was ambushed and shot about six weeks ago as he tracked six drug smugglers. In fact, there have been 12 shootings in that barren area so far this year.

"Borderland Beat" is a blog devoted to the reporting of "organized crime on the border line between U.S. and Mexico." A posting by Mary Ellen Resendez on June 14 reports that night vision cameras have photographed cartel members with military arms delivering drugs to vehicles along I-8. Investigators describe the smuggling corridor that now stretches from Mexico's border to metro Phoenix.

Resendez reports that the men who called for help were both found dead several hours later. An autopsy showed strap marks on one of the men that investigators suspect came from hauling a heavy load of drugs. Deputies claim that one of the men has been apprehended seven times previously. That's comforting to know. At least there won't be an eighth.

There are videos of the BLM land between Casa Grande and Gila Bend on that document the porous U.S./Mexico border. You know, the one that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano dubs "as secure as it's ever been."
BLM has had signs in that area for several years that read: "Travel Caution: Smuggling and Illegal Immigration May Be Encountered in This Area." The new signs have wooden posts, probably because they were erected hastily by the BLM following the most recent shooting. The signs will undoubtedly discourage family hiking and off-road vehicle recreation. As someone said, "Who wants to carry more guns and ammo than water in order to survive in the Arizona desert?"

This is an invasion of our country, and President Barack Obama promises to send a paltry 1,200 troops to the southern border. That would in itself be laughable in light of the scope of the problem. But to calm his critics, Obama now admits that the troops will all be assigned desk jobs. Desk jobs!

A photo of this sign appeared on Fox News Channel, but to my knowledge that is the only major media outlet covering the story. Pitiful.

Warning Label on the U.S. Constitution
There's quite a kerfuffle about the paperback copy of "The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence and The Articles of Confederation" published by Wilder Publications in 2008. It seems it was deemed necessary in this day and age to include the following disclaimer, or warning label, if you will, on the copyright page of the book: "The book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work." You are free to draw your own conclusions here.