This is a discussion on Poor BATFE, so understaffed within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Take the nausea meds. Ready the puke buckets: http://http://www.gjsentinel.com/opi...xsvc=7&cxcat=9 THOMASSON: Too much violence, too few agents Click-2-Listen By Dan Thomasson Tuesday, March 31, 2009 WASHINGTON ...
Take the nausea meds. Ready the puke buckets:
THOMASSON: Too much violence, too few agents
By Dan Thomasson
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
WASHINGTON — The startling rise of violence in Mexico and along the southwest border of the United States has sharpened the focus on a long-existing problem neither Congress nor a succession of presidents has been willing to resolve — the startling lack of manpower in a key agency in what promises to be a long battle.
Since 1972 when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (and now Explosives) was divorced from the Internal Revenue Service and turned into a separate, distinct entity in the Treasury department, there has been essentially no growth in the number of agents. While other law enforcement agencies have doubled and tripled in size, ATF’s numbers have remained flat at 2,500 despite the escalation in violent crime nationwide and the fact it has been assigned an expanded role by the Justice department where it was transferred during the administration of George W. Bush. Still, its agent productivity has been amazingly high, drawing praise from FBI Director Robert Mueller.
But the imbalance in numbers has been increasingly noticeable as the FBI has turned its focus to white collar crime, terrorism and counter intelligence, leaving much of the effort to control burgeoning drug-inspired gun violence to the ATF. With the Mexican cartels receiving 90 percent of their weapons from the United States largely through street gangs here, ATF is being forced to operate with one hand tied behind its back.
Why? The answer is rooted in the national paranoia about firearms.
For decades the gun lobby, particularly the powerful National Rifle Association with its iron grip on Congress, has used the ATF as a boogeyman that threatens the constitutional right of every American to bear arms. Left alone, the gun barons claim, ATF would force the registration of all firearms. At times the NRA has drawn a picture of black booted ATF storm troopers crashing down the doors of innocent citizens to confiscate the weapons they maintain for the protection of their families. The 1993 assault on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, has been held up as a case in point, although after the first day when four federal agents were murdered the operation belonged to the FBI.
The virulent attacks on ATF have lessened considerably as it has become clear they were the worst kind of extremist exaggerations and distortions issued for purely political reasons. However, the lingering effect in Congress has been to curtail efforts to bring the agency up to par in numbers with other federal law enforcement groups. ATF’s inspection force is so overwhelmed it has little impact and its ability to maintain computerized records has been hamstrung at every turn. There are about 650 non-agent inspectors to handle 68,000 licensed gun dealers, some 6,700 hundred of them along the border with Mexico.
Millions of dollars in wire transfers can reach the drug kings in Juarez and Tijuana and other Mexican border towns virtually overnight from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Me. And it occurs every day. With so much cash, the cartels can buy thousands of U.S. guns almost with impunity. The victims are too numerous to count, thousand upon thousands, in an orgy of mayhem that has destroyed a once thriving tourist business between the two countries. While most of the violence has been to Mexican citizens, it is stretching northward at a startling clip.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to Mexican officials during a recent trip there that the Obama administration would do everything possible to help solve the dilemma. The Southwest Border Initiative includes sending a combined agency task force of more than 600 south, to the river’s edge. Great! But the problem is as far north as the Canadian border and the only national agency equipped to handle that is completely undermanned.
It will be interesting to see whether the White House is brave enough to take on the NRA to back up Clinton’s pledge by supporting a sizable increase in ATF’s agent force. In the history of federal law enforcement there always has been one crisis time when each agency has expanded. That is true for the FBI, the DEA, the Border Patrol and so forth. It’s ATF’s time, but don’t hold your breath.
E-mail Dan K. Thomasson, former editor of the Scripps Howard News Service, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scripps Howard News Service
"Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18
Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
Paramedics With Guns Scare People!
I will support gun control when you can guarantee all guns are removed from this planet. That includes military and law enforcement. When you can accomplish that, then I will be the last person to lay down my gun. Then I will carry the weapon that replaces the gun.
How about a few of us email Mr. Thomasson and correct his perception?
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
What absolute tripe! I can't believe people are actually seriously pushing this line. What drug kingpin is going to seriously rely on sending mules into the US to find straw purchasers, pay the huge prices for semi-auto rifles and pistols, and then smuggle them back across the border? I'm sure stolen/straw purchased guns do make their way into Mexico at times, but what infinitessimally small portion of the arms available to a drug cartel could they possibly be?
Why would they do this, when cartels have the money, resources, and connections to import shipping crates full of real Russian full-auto AK's, or purchase arms by the truckload in central america, or just use Mexico's own corrupt government to feed them military arms, complete with the RPG's, hand grenades, and explosives we keep hearing about them buying through "the gun show loophole"? Why put up with all the red-tape and cost of buying neutered US civilian guns one at a time when they can get the real thing in bulk cheaper, faster, and with less risk?
It makes exactly zero sense as anything other than a scapegoat to demonize gun owners.
"A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
Is this hard to understand? Then why does it get unintelligible to some people when 5 little words are changed?
Mmmmm... nobody is reading between the lines. The BATF is about to be expanded. We are being prepped with a SOB story that will be taken to Congress alongside how Mexican Drug Lords are buying RPGs at the local Bass Pro Shop and there is nobody to rein them in.
You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.