Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Krentz Bonfire

A little more than a month has passed since the death of Cochise County rancher Rob Krentz, and the emotion generated by his murder, the pure shock of it, has ignited a bonfire that still burns across Arizona's borderlands—and all the way to Washington, D.C...When the bonfire cools, will we be able to look back and say, as the heartbroken Krentz family hopes, that Rob's death wasn't in vain? Last week, Rob's brother, Phil, described how surprised and heartened the family has been at the outpouring of support they've received from around the country. "It has really woken people up to what's going on," he says. "But I don't know if anything will be done about it. It's too early to tell. Meantime, we're coping any way we can." Rob's sister, Susan Pope, says, "This has really taken legs, and I think some things will change for the better. But I don't think it'll ever get to where we feel secure." The Popes' home in the Chiricahua Mountains has been broken into three times. Susan works as a bus driver and teacher at the one-room Apache Elementary School, which has been hit so often that nothing of value remains inside...Life in the Chiricahua Corridor north and east of Douglas, as the Tucson Weekly has been reporting for two years, has become a nightmare of break-ins, threats, intimidation and home invasions. The stories residents told this newspaper, the frustration they feel trying to keep property and family safe in smuggler-occupied territory, were like a freight train in the night...Around Nogales, where arrests are down 20 percent, Susie Morales—who lives 2 1/2 miles from the line in the national forest west of Interstate 19—has seen no letup in crossings. As she cooks dinner in her kitchen, she can look out and see mules backpacking drugs on a trail 75 yards from her front door. Another trail runs 50 yards behind her house. These trails are so close that when Susie spots incursions, she runs into her bathroom with her cell phone and shuts the door. She has to keep her voice down so the crossers can't hear her calling for help. "There are more Border Patrol agents around, but the tide hasn't abated," says Morales. She carries a .357 magnum everywhere she goes. Foot traffic still pours over the Huachuca Mountains, south of Sierra Vista, to the tune of 1,500 a week, according to a citizen who places game cameras on trails there and counts crossings. East of the Huachucas, John Ladd tells me that in the 18 days prior to April 10, he counted some 350 illegals on his San Jose Ranch. Every one had climbed the fence. Ladd's property near Naco has been fenced since 2007, with the barriers ranging from 10 to 13 feet. But fencing just west of Ladd's, across the San Pedro River, stands 18 feet tall, so why would anyone bother with an 18-footer when you can walk east and climb a 10-footer? "I'm on the phone to Border Patrol on average three times a day, seven days a week, to report groups," Ladd says. "I don't know what normal is anymore. I've become cynical, untrusting and pissed off." East of Ladd's at Douglas, drug-laden ultra-light aircraft fly up from Mexico—right over Border Patrol headquarters, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters, every night of the week...Now, when men go out to work at their corrals, sometimes miles from the house, wives follow along, afraid to be home alone. Up in Rodeo, N.M., Tess Shultis no longer allows her two boys to play outside the house. "Not unless me or their dad is with them," says Shultis, a clerk at the market in Rodeo. "It's too dangerous."...If you encounter the wrong guy, and he thinks you're calling Border Patrol, he might start shooting. That's likely what happened to Krentz. It's supposition, but his killer probably has a criminal record, and rather than get arrested for it, he opened fire. For good measure, he shot Rob's cow dog, too, breaking its back. The animal had to be put down later. The killer's tracks led to Mexico along Black Draw, a heavily used smuggler trail through the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge...The idea of ceding American ground to the cartels is the pulse point of this crisis, because fundamentally, this is a fight for land...more

Note the assailant used the federal wildlife refuge for cover. The USFWS has imposed wilderness-like restrictions on the border patrol, making it a safe haven for illegal trafficking. Let's not forget Senator Bingaman's S.1689 which would designate over 400 square miles with similar restrictions. Bad idea.

What I've posted is just snippets from an excellent article by Leo Banks which is the cover story for the April 29 edition of the Tucson Weekly.

If you have any interest at all in this issue, read the complete article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your informative and sensative words. Why has this been allowed to go on without intervention? Why has it taken so long to awaken the sleeping public to this corruption, intrusion, and threat to our lives. It is time to demand change and force our government to give access to the boarders to our law enforcement. Illegal immigration, illegal workers are not the primary issue here. National security, public safety, the right to be safe and secure in your home and community are the issue. We must daily be after our legislators to give the boarer patrol freedom to do their job. We must demand federal agencies to protect our nation, encluding the national guard. The guard should be out there with weapons to defend, protect and apprehend any that cross private or federal land without legal rights to do so. Those who wish to protect the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge need to wake up to the fact that as the immigrants and drug dealers pass through the sanctuary of the Refuge it will be devistated with trash, human waste,& remains of the murdered. Far more will be lost of the fefuge when the eco system changes with infestation of rats,wild dogs, roaches and other pests of litter than would be lost by Boarder agents doing thier jobs. Then there are the law enforcement people who say they will not enforce the Arizona law. Fine. Fire them. They are sworn to protect the public and uphold the law. What are they affaid of? or is it that they are already in the pockets of the drug dealers?