Up behind Don Kimble's house in southeast Arizona, banditos lay in wait for the Mexican cartel drug shipments that crisscross his rugged, but beautiful ranch. Human mules carry the cartel's "dope" in backpacks. Protected by "well armed Coyotes," they head to nearby highways for the handoff to the next carriers. That is, unless the banditos stalk and rob them first. Kimble tells me, shoot- outs are common.
The Wild West has returned, entrapping innocent citizens in an 80-mile-deep swath of real estate, stretching along the border from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico. Real estate values have plummeted, safety is a daily concern. Kimble says it's as though Washington has ceded that stretch to Mexico, evidenced by its confusing, Laurel and Hardy Border Patrol policy.
Meanwhile, politics run amok amid pathetic attempts to disregard the real victims of this chaos.
Kimble, 59, was Rob Krantz' lifelong buddy and neighbor. Krantz was the rancher who was shot and killed by an alleged illegal this past month, a man Krantz went to assist, thinking he was injured. Krantz and the other residents along the Mexican border are the up-front victims of Washington's failure to protect our borders.
Beyond those border ranches, the problem permeates our state. Arizona citizens are victims; not illegals, not law enforcement that might be required to implement Senate Bill 1070, not the Democrats or the Republicans and not brown skinned citizens.
This state is at war. We stand as if alone. And, yet, under attack are the very governor and Legislature that are willing to act as others feign concern.
I'm curious. We subject ourselves to "profiling" every time we fly. Every one of us is treated as a terrorist in order to keep us safe. Yet in response to efforts to address the horrific, illegal problems on our streets, we shudder at possible profiling. The charges of racism are poisonous spin; the ignorance behind them is astonishing and a dangerous distraction. Shame on those who use the image of gentle, illegal faces to keep the borders broken. They are not caring advocates. They're manipulators.
Kimble tells of home invasions - "four or five" in the last month among his border neighbors and he recounts startling levels of vandalism. Yet, he's so intimidated by rules surrounding the treatment of illegals he dares not protect his property. Instead, he warns his workers: "Don't talk to trespassers, move away quickly and report if you can." But it can take an hour for Border Patrol to show up, if at all.
And, this is America.
All those along the border, including Sue Krantz, the wife of the murdered rancher, will tell you: "It's about sealing the borders." They wonder why the Border Patrol won't stage their agents right against the border to block the flow, instead of patrolling 60 miles north as they do now.
Kimble says it looks like Washington wants the borders open. And, remember, Washington makes up both parties.
So berate our governor. Slander the Legislature. Go ahead. But, one must ask, where were you when this bill was being crafted and your input counted? This issue is about the safety of Americans, but for some, it's a rotten political game that has turned America's crisis into Arizona's nightmare. Puppet protesters provide the salt in the wound.
Linda Turley-Hansen is a syndicated columnist and former veteran Phoenix television news anchorwoman who lives in the East Valley. Her column appears monthly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.