Do As We Say, Not As We Do.

December 20, 2011
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Last year, we saw the United States Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reach out its hand to drug dealers and weapon dealers alike to greet them with the words, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.” And help them they did.
In the ‘gunwalker’ case, more commonly known as Operation Fast and Furious, our government forgot the basics of logic, strategy and rule of law. Operation Fast and Furious was an attempt to prove that American firearms were being sold to Mexican gangs and were being used for illegal activity. After all, the current administration had to prove that at least some of Mexico’s crime was aided by American weapons since Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, and assistant director for the ATF William Hoover had all stated the well known ‘fact’ that 90% of Mexican crimes were aided by the use of American-made weapons. After claims like that, the Obama administration had to look into the numbers! (Especially since the actual evidence shows that the number is closer to 17 %.) Unfortunately, there were all too many problems with the plan.
First of all, several weapons dealers were asked specifically to sell weapons to known members of Mexican drug cartels, even at the objection of the weapons dealers. This was hardly an objective study on where the weapons would have gone during a natural process. Gang members who never would have been allowed to purchase weapons were allowed to buy because of Operation Fast and Furious. The number of weapons sold to Mexico during the time of Operation Fast and Furious obviously would have been much higher than normal, defeating the entire purpose of the study. It almost seems that the Obama administration wanted to increase the number of American firearms used for crime in Mexico, perhaps because the Obama administration needed to justify the outrageous numbers it had been citing as ‘fact’. But I wonder- is it sheer coincidence that the administration increasing the number of U.S. weapons used for Mexican crime is the same administration that is currently trying to convince Americans that we need stricter gun control laws?
But worse than that, the ATF was unbelievably short-sighted in the planning of this operation. Operation Fast and Furious relied on the ability of the ATF to track weapons to see where they were ultimately being sold. However, once a gun left the store, the ATF had no ability to track the gun. No bugs or tracking devices were put on the guns. No undercover agents were asked to follow the guns. Mexican police were not informed of Operation Fast and Furious. One lone ATF agent realized the problem and took incentive- he bought GPS tracking devices at the local Radio Shack which were, unfortunately, of no use to the operation due to their short battery life. As a result of the thoughtlessness of the ATF, the administration lost track of every single one of these weapons. Except for, of course, the ones that were later found abandoned at Mexican crime scenes.
The results of Operation Fast and Furious were tragic. To give you an idea of what this operation did to the crime rate in Mexico, let’s just look at one month of Operation Fast and Furious. In March of 2010, the ATF takes responsibility for the sale of 369 weapons into Mexico. That month, Mexico saw 958 of its citizens killed. So far, at least 122 of the firearms found at Mexican crime scenes have been directly linked to Operation Fast and Furious- one hundred and twenty two firearms that Mexico would not have had to deal with, had it not been for the operation. Here in the United States, one dozen weapons found at crime scenes were linked to Operation Fast and Furious. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered with weapons released under Operation Fast and Furious. Of the two thousand weapons that were sold into Mexico under the permission of the ATF, less than half of them have been recovered. The missing thousand are believed to still lie in the hands of the leading Mexican gangs. Mexicans are currently demanding that the officials responsible be extradited to Mexico to stand trial. So is it a surprise that both our president and our attorney general claim they never authorized this operation? What’s even worse is that, on top of all of this, agents of the ATF have admitted that even at the start of Operation Fast and Furious, they understood that the results might be tragic.
This is a fine example of why our founding fathers believed so strongly in a principle called Rule of Law- the idea that the law should be followed by the people and by the government alike. This First Principle states that only if every citizen is held equally accountable to the law, then and only then is the law of our government truly strong. Operation Fast and Furious caused our government to knowingly allow United States law to be broken, and the result was failure on every level. When our government breaks its own law, we should only expect tragic results! As citizens of this country, it is our duty to hold the government accountable to the law- if we don’t, then who will? Operation Fast and Furious should be a lesson to all those involved, but it seems that the United States has not learned its lesson. Even though the operation has been discontinued, acting director of Operation Fast and Furious, Ken Melson seems to have escaped unscathed - he has not been removed from his position and no disciplinary action has been taken against him. The end result of Operation Fast and Furious was unnecessary death, missing weapons, a well-armed drug cartel and an administration that can do nothing but shuffle the blame. There is no justification for Operation Fast and Furious and absolutely no excuse for our government’s actions.

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