Following the tragic murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last week by a suspected "rip crew" near Nogales, U.S. Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano tried to downplay the amount of drug violence spilling over the border in an interview with the Arizona Republic's editorial board.
"It would be wrong to conclude from Terry's death, as well as the killing of longtime southern Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, that drug violence is on the rise or rampant along the border," Napolitano told the board while in Arizona last week.
An Arizona ranchers' organization finds Napolitano's assessment out of touch and out of line.
"In reading the Republic story about Secretary Napolitano's reaction to the murder of Agent Terry north of Nogales last week, I was struck almost dumb by her characterization of the murder and mayhem that is occurring daily on both sides of our border with Mexico as ordinary crimes," says Arizona Cattle Growers' Association president Steve Brophy.
"What country in the world would tolerate illegal crossings of countless tons of drugs each year over that same area? And, what country in the world would tolerate its own secretary of homeland security dismissing that as 'everyday crime'? As long as we do tolerate it, we deserve what we have gotten, even though Rob Krentz and Agent Terry didn't deserve what happened to them," he continues.
During the same meeting, Napolitano touted her agency's efforts in thwarting the cartels. She told the board "we're seizing more currency, we're seizing more drugs, we're seizing more guns, and so those numbers are going up."
As the group points out, Napolitano's analysis of the increase of drugs and money seized at the border is strange when she tries to argue drug activity there isn't "rampant."
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So, the cattlemen have made Napolitano an offer:
"The Arizona Cattlemen's Association invites the Secretary to meet with our members to explain and help us understand the armed gunmen and drug mules that cross our ranches daily. Explain to us how two murders in Arizona and several shootouts between drug cartels and law enforcement is not an increase in violence along the border."
Your move, Janet.