A View From the Porch

by Vaughn Croteau

July 22, 2004

My rural community has a monthly newsletter courtesy of the PTA and Community Association. The Community Association seems to primarily concern itself with irrigation issues, managing the community shredder, and doing fund-raisers for the local school.

In the latest issue of the newsletter (2 xeroxed sheets- 4 pgs.) a page and a half was given over to 'emergency preparedness'. Half of this content was an extensive listing of materials a household would want to have easily accessible. In this case, they really were preaching to the choir, this primarily agricultural community also happens to be populated by a large majority of Mormons. They're highly practical and prepared people and most households already have a rule of keeping a year's worth of dry goods, food and necessary provisions on hand.

What caught my eye was that the last item on the list was- "gun and extra bullets". I found myself wondering how many directives and advisories from 'fuhrer-land security' would include such sound advice?

The next notable kernel from the community association advisory was that there was no mention of meeting at some central location in event of some 'civil emergency'. I suspect some folks are so reflexively trained they'd just naturally show up at the nearest school gymnasium in an emergency, but within this community it's pretty much expected one's gonna' stay put - hold their ground. (besides, schools are now official 'gun-free zones'...)

These things stand in sharp contrast to what I've seen and heard from politicians and bureaucrats today as a response to the latest Sept. 11, 2001 commission findings. Every politician was steppin' like their tails were on fire and their asses were catching. All were quick to assure a fast and dedicated response, I shudder to think of where this leads.

It's an old and true saying that it's the squeaky wheel that gets greased, and my impression is that the media community has decided to give the helm to every shrill squeaker that'll step up now. They all seem to stand up squarely and demand to know who is going to 'take care of this'. Needless to say, the nanny state sees a lot of overtime ahead, and guess who's footing the bill!

I believe that it was Benjamin Franklin who suggested that those who would trade their freedom and rights for safety and security deserve neither. This has been a pronounced behaviour in the US for a great number of years, and an implication of this is that there are already tremendous dues to be paid for this collective neglect; not to mention what seems to lie ahead purely as a result of the last few years.

Another 'news item' today is that the American Border Patrol, a private group of activists, announced that it had smuggled a 'dummy weapon of mass destruction' across the US/Mexico border yesterday evening. Well bless their hearts... given that literally hundreds of individuals and thousands of pounds of drugs cross this same border daily, this isn't exactly 'news' to a thoughtful person.

I live in the same area where this event took place, within 15 minutes of walking from my own door I can be standing on a major throughfare for foot-traffic that border-crossers use daily. This is just one of dozens of routes within 50 miles that are regularly used.

This area of the border is already militarised enough for my tastes, and that's what concerns me about the actions of the American Border Patrol. On any given day a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) will be flying somewhere within 50 miles of my home. C-130's rumble directly over my home at about 700' every week or so as the military training pilots take their approach to a base 25 miles away down the valley. I have to drive thru an INS checkpoint 30 miles north of the border every time I go grocery shopping. Because of some arbitrary proximity to the border the usual standards of search and seizure do not apply, we're already merited the designation of being a special security zone.

There are real risks living rurally in this region, but the WMD smuggling isn't high on my list of threats in terms of probabilities. In the surrounding 100 miles there will usually be 4 or 5 times within a year that a vehicle or money might be stolen by what was probably a border crosser. This puts the odds of this happening to me down at a pretty safe range, 4-5 events out of tens of thousands of crossers.

If it takes the local sheriff 20 minutes at minimum to respond to my home, I don't see where a greater military presence will make me any safer. Folks, if some evildoer wants to bring destructive items into this country their odds of success will be very high despite whatever programs and plans are deployed. Events of history will readily vouchsafe this statement.

As far as I'm concerned, folks in the US have been 'sold down the river' generations ago, maybe now we're hearing the sound of the gangplank slamming onto the dock. How does this happen...? One foot ahead of another, just like it always happens.

Just listen to the politicos over the next few days, pay attention to the dance they're calling- 'cause it's your feet and your children's feet that will actually take the steps.

© 2004 V. Croteau
All Rights Reserved

(Vaughn Croteau wears many hats- one of which is that of the editor of The Plug Nickel Times & Press)




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