Monday, May 26, 2014

Making Political Hay out of the Misfortunes of a Supposed Hero

Earlier this month, I told my friend Mikeb302000 about a former U.S. Marine from Florida who unfortunately and perhaps accidentally crossed the international border at San Ysidro into Mexico with all of his worldly possessions in his Ford F-150 pickup truck. Unfortunately, these possessions included three legally owned firearms. Understand that guns are illegal in Mexico. I accepted his version of events in his own words. He just got lost looking for a restaurant off of I-5, trying to meet his friends. Even if you do believe his story, the fact that he was driving around with unsecured weapons in the cab of his pickup truck in the city of San Diego makes him a careless scofflaw. Bear in mind that he is a soldier suffering from PTSD, a form of mental illness. I unfairly speculated that he might have been slightly under the influence of alcohol given the fact that he simply continued driving south all of the way to the border without noticing any of the signs about the approaching international border, the last freeway exit into the U.S.A. and even a last ditch U-turn designed to give drivers one last chance to remain upon U.S. soil. Mike was kind enough to create a post from my tip. I was hoping that the regulars would get worked up about the injustice of it all. They did not completely disappoint. Now, three grueling weeks later, FOX has decided to release their take on all of this nonsense just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend. The headline is “Leave No Man Behind.” Obama has abandoned this poor soul, when just one phone call from the DOJ or the American Consul could have released this defender of freedom from the ravages of the Tijuana penitentiary system. The article by a FOX contributor does not seem to agree with the earliest press release from the San Diego Union-Tribune which reported that he attempted an escape and then subsequently attempted suicide while incarcerated. He was reported to have been doing much better in his incarceration when the prison provided him with an English-speaking chaplain. I am sorry, but it is difficult to view the U-T article without a paying subscription. Since there is really no way of confirming or denying any subsequent facts, FOX has chosen to say that originally he was chained by both arms and legs to his bed, and that now he only has to be chained by one leg by the Mexican prison guards. I mean, why not lie, if there is no way to check the facts? Much as the leftist blogosphere thrived under the sadistic presidency of GWB, FOX has no apparent reason to exist other than to spread hatred and lies about our president. This was just too good of an opportunity to pass up. Make hay while the sun shines!


  1. The Obama DOJ and or State Department should be doing EVERYTHING possible to secure this veterans release.

    I assume the OA is doing something, whatever it may be.

    1. It's only been a few weeks. I imagine that he will appear before a judge soon. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be sent back to the U.S.A. with some type of fine. I do feel for him however foolish his actions were.

  2. The idea that Fox has any moral or ethical concerns much less a grudging sense of decency, produces just the kind of laugh I need this morning while looking forward to another day of jingoism posing as patriotism. I truly feel for the guy no matter the reason he wandered into Mexico and I feel for others who have been victims of their strict, uncompromising and totally counterproductive gun laws. I'm thinking of Jon Hammar and his antique shotgun that may or may not depending on how you measure it be too short. Welcome to zero tolerance Mexican style.

    Of course, Mexico has the kind of weak, ineffective and corrupt government the Tea Party promotes and has reached the point of having all the wealth in one or two pairs of hardly taxed hands, but Fox will be Fox.

    As to the State Department having much clout in Mexico, after having executed a Mexican national under protest from the Mexican government -- good luck. Perhaps they consider this payback.

  3. I suppose you're right Captain.

    However, I might approve of a special forces operation to bring him home. Unofficial of course.

    Or maybe economic sanctions for a time. Squeeze the s*it right of them.

    Oh, that's right, we have a cooperative effort going on with our southern neighbor fighting the failed War on Drugs and can't compromise that.

    We live in an increasingly insane reality.

    1. I'm not even sure what sanity means any more

  4. In my day, when an American citizen ended up unjustly tossed into in a Mexican prison, it was typically on drug charges. Back then, it was the left leaning toward leniency and speaking out on the miscarriage of justice and the need for an executive pardon. Ironic how the situation has changed from drugs to fire arms. The moralizing lecture that used to be directed at the incarcerated victim had to do with personal responsibility. It advocated knowledge of the laws in the country you were in. The right loves every opportunity it gets to espouse personal responsibility. According to conservative doctrine, the Marine in prison for fire arms violations has no one to blame but himself, and shouldn't expect big government to intervene. I get a feeling however, that the narrative is evolving into a travelling second amendment sort of advocacy, in which U.S. citizens should be free to cross international borders with their god given right to firearms. It will be interesting to see how the Fox News crowd reconciles its pro-gun stance with the "Fast and Furious" issue.

    1. I have to ask myself what might happen if a Mexican citizen was headed the other way and how some Arizona sheriff might handle it, I'm guessing he'd not have the option of prison much less the option of having the gun taken away and sent home -- but of course I might be wrong. Anything that makes the "Second Amendment is the Word of God" tribe trip over their beliefs amuses me and I do think you're right -- this is one of those moments of re-definition.

  5. How often has our concentration lapsed due to preoccupations crowding our thoughts? How often have we missed a road sign simply because we were not paying attention? Especially if one is suffering from PTSD and makes a rash and hasty decision to pack up, break up with the girlfriend, change a venue, and escape one's demons? Especially at midnight on an unfamiliar road, according to the Fox News incitement and incendiary report? There may be no more this story than these anecdotal accounts – except for a suspiciously corrupt customs official living the life of a drug lord, and a notoriously corrupt justice system in Mexico that takes national pride in bullying hapless Gringos.

    Yes, this has happened before … years ago … another unwitting and witless American who crossed the border with a rifle and ended up in prison. Eventually, after repeated pleas from the U.S. State Department, the American was freed; but not before the usual diplomatic song and dance was done.

    What we learned from the last experience: All sovereign governments will satisfy their nationalistic and sadistic pride before any justice or mercy is dispensed. And Fox News will milk any story with journalistic injustice just to score a political point and incite The Base.

  6. I once wound up in Iowa on my way home from Wisconsin to Illinois -- hey it was a foggy night -- but as yet there are no visas required between states. You're right, It's a pots and kettles thing and look at how we handle undocumented Mexicans or foreign tourists of all sorts for that matter. I'm sure there are legitimate reasons for forgetting I left that .50 caliber Desert Eagle pistol in my carry-on and "honest, officer, I'm a vet with PTSD. . . " No, don't try this at home or anywhere else. Fox would be wearing the shoe on another paw if it came to undocumented foreigners caught here with guns for any reason at all.

    I read a horror story about an Icelandic woman roughed up and jailed in chains without food or water because her flight was delayed by weather until after her visa ran out. It's never been a good idea to get caught breaking any law in Mexico but neither is it safe for foreigners, with or without visas, to run afoul of US law enforcement.

    With the border areas of Mexico being war zones, I can understand much or their attitude as concerns people illegally carrying weapons and claiming some kind of exemption for being a gringo. The "oops!" defense or the "I forgot" defense or I took the wrong turn defense may be honest, but isn't going to cut it there or here or anywhere when it comes to firearms.

    Does anyone really expect sympathy or expect a country ravaged by our passionate consumption of illegal drugs to treat us better than we treat them? Our drug laws have corrupted governments all over the place and have got countless Mexican law enforcement people killed -- and of course we've actually facilitated smuggling automatic weapons into Mexico in "sting" operations. People on both sides of the border have been killed with smuggled guns.

    I don't want to let Fox take all the credit for milking stories or framing them to 'illustrate' some theme and to inflame the public or promote some popular but stupid attitude. It's only a question of degree.

  7. There is an update still available without subscription from the U-T San Diego website. Enter Alejandro Gonzalez Guilbot, head of Mexican customs in Tijuana. Basically, Tahmooressis got waved into what is known as secondary inspection. It usually only takes a very short time to undergo a cursory search of the vehicle and a motorist is allowed into the country.

    On that Monday night, Mexican border officials pulled Tahmooressi’s truck into an inspection lane when they noticed his pickup didn’t have a front license plate and was loaded with items that included a ladder, according to Alejandro Gonzalez Guilbot, head of Mexican customs in Tijuana.
    He said inspectors soon found three weapons, all loaded. Tahmooressi has said he volunteered the information about the guns to inspectors.

    A .45-caliber pistol was in a door pocket beneath the driver’s side window, Gonzalez said. The two other weapons were also within reach, he said. He described them as an AR MR-2 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. Tahmooressi previously described the rifle as an AR-15.

    Also seized were more than 400 rounds of ammunition.

    Gonzalez said on average, customs inspectors find contraband weapons about once or twice a week. But in more than a year in that office, he said he has never seen “an arsenal of this size.”
    In Mexico, at least two of Tahmooressi’s weapons are considered to be exclusively for military use.
    “All I can say is that the individual entered though a ‘nothing to declare lane’ with weapons that are for exclusive use of the Mexican military,” Gonzalez said. “He never said, ‘I got lost.’ He never said, ‘I am a Marine.’ ”

    The Tijuana weekly Zeta reported that Tahmooressi had visited Tijuana at least two times. By his own admission to his attorney he had been to Tijuana about six times. Attorney client privilege was violated as an e-mail from his lawyer to the marine’s mother was leaked to the press. A spokesman for U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter has verified that bank records confirm that he had visited Tijuana before. Still, the young man has a hearing today before a judge. I hope that he is not charged with weapons trafficking. Both local representatives to the U.S. Congress have written letters to the department of State urging to work towards his release.

    In my opinion, this man should have been carefully storing his weapons in a secure location with one of his friends. Driving around with this many loaded guns and a huge cache of bullets is not safe for anyone. One has to ask the question, what was his business in Mexico? If these were indeed his own personal weapons that he bought before coming to California, it will come out in trial.

  8. " One has to ask the question, what was his business in Mexico?"

    Certainly any cop or customs official would wonder. Having firearms within reach of the driver is illegal in the US if you don't have a concealed carry permit. It would have been legal here if they were locked in the trunk and unloaded. How can you not expect him to be detained and charged? Once again, lets say some Mexican showed up crossing the border with undeclared guns and ammo. He'd be lucky not to be shot.

    For what it's worth, the MR2 is a modification to the civilian AR which replaces the removable magazine with a fixed one so you have to load it one round at a time. Most anyone who owns one is using it as a hunting rifle and thousands of hunters do. It's done to get around being called an "assault rifle" in those states that have bans on large interchangeable magazines. No military on the planet would use or does use such a thing, and a 12 gauge is probably the most common sporting firearm in North America and Europe. Gonzales is simply lying through his mustache but I'm so used to lies, distortions, hyperbole and exaggerations in media stories about firearms, I'd be stunned at not having my intelligence insulted.

    You are right, Unless he was up to no good, it's a damned stupid thing to be driving around with unless you're on a hunting trip and it will be a hard sell to convince a jury that's what he was doing.


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