Down on the front lines, where Mexico bumps into the United States, one border sheriff is essentially saying that in his area, at least, the authorities cannot protect the citizens at all. As a result, he now recommends that local people arm themselves, if they havenâ€™t already.
Sheriff To Texas Border Town: â€?Arm Yourselvesâ€™, NPR, April 9, 2010
Last week, residents held a town-hall meeting in Fort Hancock, Texas â€” a sleepy agricultural town on the border, about an hour southeast of El Paso, that looks like the bleak set of No Country for Old Men.
A couple hundred people crowded into the grade-school gym to hear a chilling message from Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West.
â€?You farmers, Iâ€™m telling you right now, arm yourselves,â€? he said. â€?As they say the old story is, itâ€™s better to be tried by 12 than carried by six. Damn it, I donâ€™t want to see six people carrying you.â€?
His warning was prompted by the killing of the Arizona rancher, and the spiraling violence a couple of miles away in Mexico in a region known as the Valley of Juarez. The notorious smuggling territory is being fought over by the Sinaloa and the Juarez cartels.
â€?One of the men that works for me had five people killed in front of his house over there [in Mexico] this past weekend,â€? says Curtis Carr, who is a farmer and county commissioner. â€?And heâ€™s moving his family over here this week. Itâ€™s serious over there. Whether or not itâ€™s gonna spill over here, I donâ€™t know.â€?
Of course, when the border is so porous that any Mexican can simply â€?moveâ€? his family to the United States, then the bad Mexicans can enter easily also. Thatâ€™s the problem.
Below, the border fence near Fort Hancock, Texas, is not too impressive.