Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Which Border is Which?

Weapons and arms are smuggled across a long, difficult to control border into a country with no history of use. In the hands of bad guys, the deadly devices are used to kill officers and soldiers charged with keeping the law and securing the country. Is it:

a. The Iran/Iraq border
b. The Mexico/U.S. border
c. Both
d. None of the above

The correct answer is c. While the U.S. plans to declare all or portions of the Iranian military a terrorist group, we ignore the role American weapons play in destabilizing Mexico. Of course the world is still waiting on the proof that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is behind the weapons smuggling. As for Mexico, an AP article had this to say:

Particularly worrisome are U.S. sales of Belgian-made FN-57 pistols. These fire bullets that "will defeat most body armor in military service around the world today," according to the Remtek weapons site on the Internet. They sell for $800-$1,000 each at dozens of gun stores within a day's drive of the border. The weapons were unheard of in Mexico until they were used to kill at least a half dozen police officers this year. Among them were Mexico City policemen Felix Perez and Jose Rodriguez, slain in May when a car full of suspected mobsters fired FN-57s whose bullets sliced right through the officers' body armor. In all, about 100 Mexican officers have been slain since President Felipe Calderon launched an ambitious nationwide crackdown on the drug trade this year.

"U.S. laws allow citizens to have guns that are authentically warlike," Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora complained at a recent news conference. "We have to find a more effective way of stopping these arms from flowing into the country and giving these gangs such significant firepower."

What's been the American Congress' response? While the Legislature passed four measures on Iran, our elected leaders have played hot potato with our own role in cross border weapons prolifereation. The article said:

It's particularly easy to buy weapons at the thousands of U.S. gun shows held each year, where the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives stopped checking addresses of gun buyers after the National Rifle Association complained that sales plummeted. Mexico also wants lawmakers in Washington to loosen restrictions on who can see gun-purchasing data, but that's unlikely given the strong opposition from the NRA. The U.S. government is now restricted in many cases from sharing such information with local police departments, let alone the Mexican government, making it difficult to trace illegal guns or arrest weapons traffickers.

Is anyone else concerned about our ability to enter outrage over other's offenses whilst ignoring our own? Over time, this eats away at our country's credibility...