Death & Lawlessness in the Sierra Madre Threaten U.S. Border

There are 10 peaks over 14,000 feet high in the Sangre de Cristo range.

I am intrigued by the fact that the inhabitants of New Mexico’s scarred spaces were the last to submit to North American law. After reading a biography of Kit Carson, I recently came across a travelogue titled “God’s Middle Finger.” The author decided to travel into the Sierra Madre, the jagged range that climbs to 11,000 feet through 900 miles of Northern Mexico — starting just south of Tucson, Ariz.

According to author Richard Grant, the range contains several canyons that are deeper than the Grand Canyon. The Sierra Madre provided hiding places for Chiricahua Apaches well into the 1900s. The presence of the Apaches and the knife-edged landscape prevented the Mexican government from asserting its authority.

Copper Canyon is one of the only tourist spots in the Sierra Madre, however. The Copper Canyon tourist industry advertises: “Don’t miss out on trip of a lifetime because of trouble at the border. It is, however, best to fly here to Los Mochis and just avoid the long bus trips through the border. Hope to see you soon!”

There are not many tourist spots in such fabulous landscapes because the bandits in the Sierra Madre are known to take tourists out of buses and strip them of everything including clothes. The bandits are fairly tame, however, compared to the narcotraficantes. According to Grant, the drug traffickers in the Sierra Madre will often kill people just for the sheer pleasure of killing.

Grant met different people that led him into the Sierra Madre’s rocky topography — a stronghold for many of the Mexican drug cartels. Along the way, Grant learned that, although Mexico is offically a gun-free zone, killing with guns is as natural as breathing in the Sierra Madre.

An AK-47 is the weapon of choice and even young children pack heat with impunity. One of the men told Grant, “Further north they grow more drugs, but here we are hundred percent killers.” Then they began to hunt Grant with high-powered scoped rifles just for sport.

Would you take your family to visit our national parks if you thought you might end up meeting the same folks Grant met? Come to think of it, according to the Seattle Times, Sequoia National Park has no-go zones for visitors and park rangers during the growing season when well-armed operatives of the Mexican drug lords cultivate massive pot farms.

Take the profit out of the drug business by legalizing drugs? Many experts predict that the cartels are already positioning themselves within the U.S. crime industry to diversify into activities like kidnapping and extortion. Securing our borders, on the other hand, seems to depend on the politics of race and corporate greed.

Arizona’s attempt to discourage illegal immigration may be stymied by judicial fiat. Meanwhile, some illegalesidents of Arizona may head north to avoid the harassment predicted to result from Arizona’s new law. Whether or not violent crime statistics move upward in Washington state, the potential for malfeasance by politicians is one reason why our forefathers provided for every man to be armed.

Republished with permission of the Federal Way Mirror.

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