OK, so I’m not big on guns. I’m particularly suspicious of arguments that justify them in the context of crime prevention. But this story blew me away (no pun intended).
Texas JUST decided that it was no longer really on for armed law enforcement to go around shooting illegal immigrants from helicopters. Well – unless they or someone else was being shot at, which even I have to say is fair enough. I’m not saying that a strong response isn’t appropriate when you’re trying to to protect your borders (though I’ve always found it fascinating how America seems so attractive to illegal immigrants when there are so many more interesting places to visit.)
And the DPS on the helicopter in the photo… “Department of Public Safety“!
Yeah – you’d think it was in charge of school crossings or putting salt on icy pavements with a name like that, wouldn’t you? Nope – these guys shoot people hiding in the back of trucks from helicopters. It’s like something from Logan’s Run! I admit the details are sparse in the report, but it’s strongly implied that the gun-toting defenders of liberty and justice weren’t actually in any personal danger as they strafed two Guatemalan guys in the back of a moving truck last October.
A couple of years ago, my son – as a Scout – was treated to a film and slide presentation from US Immigration about how they protect the borders of our neighbour to the South. It included images of incredibly creative would-be illegal immigrants hiding in hollowed out truck seats, inside truck dashboards and all manner of things. All intended to show how clever US Border Control was at foiling such folk. All fair enough and reasonable, positive propaganda.
Later in the presentation, there was a scene of two or three folk swimming across a wide river in order to illegally cross the border. Waiting for them was a cozy reception of US officials all aiming guns at these (presumably close-to-naked) people swimming across.
My son (being UK born, and having a retired policeman as a grandfather who has been faced with a double barreled shotgun armed with nothing more than a wooden truncheon and his wits) asked what he thought was a reasonable question: “Why are they pointing guns at them?”
As you can imagine, this flummoxed the Border Guard who took a moment to consider the question, then answered “Because they’re trying to illegally enter America”.
“Yes – but why are they pointing guns at them?” After an uncomfortable silence, the guy moved on and quickly finished the presentation. “Just because” plainly wasn’t going to cut it, and it seems he had no stronger argument! Given they’d just swum a frigid river in the depth of night in a foiled attempt to enter the States, you’d have thought a warm blanket, a strong cup of sweet tea and a swift ride back to the border crossing might have been more appropriate. I guess they should be grateful there was no DPS helicopter in the area…