There’s a little town in Southern Arizona. Arivaca. About 700 locals live there, 11 miles from the border with Mexico. Pretty barren place. Most folks are seniors who moved there to spend their later years in peace and quiet.
Such conditions have ended with the appearance of dozens of adult “failures-in fatigues” carrying their “adulthood” around in AR-15s and mock machine guns mounted on ever-present pickups. They’ve split the locals and run the newspaper publisher out-of-town with threats. And now, they’re “arresting” immigrants.
One of their unwelcome number arrived a few years back and has become the “scheduler” for the many faux “patriots” who regularly come and go. He sends them out along the border in small groups, armed to the teeth, looking for the Mexican “invaders.”
“Shoot ‘em” is a mostly unspoken “order.” But, they talk about it. So far, no one knows if someone really has been killed or if the occasional burst of weapon fire is just a screwball getting his jollies by peppering a few cacti. Which, incidentally, is a crime in Arizona. But, so far, the sheriff has looked the other way on all this for at least seven years.
Law enforcement “looking the other way” has become a national phenomenon, especially in the West. Sheriff’s, elected to enforce laws, are letting it be known they’ll be quite selective when enforcing.
One is Oregon’s Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin in Roseburg, Some time ago, he announced he would not recognize any new gun laws passed by any body, state or national. Further, he would arrest anyone from any agency - state or national - that tried to do their rightful duties in “his” county. Hanlin has been soundly re-elected in the meantime and those other agents have apparently steered clear of Douglas County.
Brother-in arms Sheriff Curtis Landers in Oregon’s far Southwest Curry County, said his troops would not work with ICE units. Coastal fishermen are known to use aliens as deck hands and in processing plants. Lots of ‘em.
For several years, near the little town of Merlin, Oregon, there’s been an illegal mining operation on BLM land. The owner was officially notified to shut it down. Finally, the feds went out to the site to personally hand him yet another cease-and-desist order.
They were met by more of those phony military wannabees with the obligatory automatic rifles. Dug in around the perimeter facing the road. The feds pulled back - waited several days - then retreated. Couple of weeks later, the local BLM office was shuttered.
These aren’t isolated instances. Nevada, Colorado, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana and others are operating on this “law-enforcement-by-choice” phenomena. They may arrest you for doing 50mph in a school zone but ignore other black letter law keeping other enforcement officials from doing their jobs.
When you have feds like the BLM surrendering and closing field offices when faced with armed idiots - and when no one is arrested for illegal acts related thereto - we’ve got a dangerous situation.
Adherence to law - regardless of Donald J. Trump - is the spine that keeps this nation upright. We, who are not engaged in enforcing laws, must rely on the honesty and integrity of those who do. What we’re seeing is that we can’t. In some cases - like Hanlin - there appears to even be insufficient public will to kick ‘em out of office. Or, maybe it’s majority voter approval for his “I’ll-decide-what’s-illegal” policy.
Southern Oregon and Northern California timberlands are teeming with these fatigue-wearers. All armed with various heavy weapons. Some in encampments - others living in solitary but well-armed outposts.
And, they seem to be getting at least some political support. Three California counties have petitioned the legislature to secede and create a new state called “Jefferson.” Oregon’s Josephine and Jackson counties (Roseburg, Medford, Cave Junction) haven’t made it that official but many folks there talk of becoming part of Jefferson. Bumper stickers, radio talk shows, (un)social media, bar talk and billboards are plentiful.
Duly elected officials - county commissioners and sheriffs - have the obligations of their oaths-of-office. But, you can’t count on that anymore in some cases.
The question is, which cases?