On this Independence Day, Americans should be made aware of how their way of life is being sabotaged by terrorists.
As we prepare to celebrate our American Independence, it would seem ironic that our American way of life is under attack in many border states, especially in Arizona. The border state has been on the hot-seat lately for its controversial Senate Bill 1070, but few recognize how Arizona is struggling to hang on to its residents’ freedoms and safety, in the process. Aside from the financial costs of illegal immigration, Arizona has been dealing with a growing and all to real human and drug trafficking pandemic that has mutated to include the kidnapping of American citizens. The spillover created by Mexican violance has made Arizona the 2nd kidnapping capital of the world, outside of Mexico City. As many attack Arizona for their illegal immigration politics, perhaps the question should be what does the American way of life mean to these critics?
However you define the “American way of life,” it probably goes without saying that terror and illicit trafficking are probably not in the definition. Arizona has been fighting this new war on terror, the terror of kidnapping-for-ransom, as it attempts to choke off this crime wave before it reaches the rest of the country and becomes a way of life. In 2008, Arizona reported (it is estimated that more than double of these cases go unreported, due to the victims’ status.) 358 kidnapping-for-ransom cases and 318 cases in 2009. This year has seen about 105 cases, from January to May, which would seem to give us a more optimistic outlook on the safety of Arizona residents, if the trend persists. The declining trend seems to coincide with American involvement in the Mexican drug war, but may very well take on a life of its own if drug cartels establish a stronghold on Arizona as their portal into the rest of the country. For those that think that this does not affect them, because they are not involved in illicit affairs, there is a considerable amount of collateral damage that can affect all Arizonans and Americans. These include the mistaken identification of potential victims, residential and commercial shootings, high speed chases, and the overall unsafe environment that these terrorist crimes produce making for a chaotic state of instability that mirrors Third-World countries such as Colombia, Venezuela and Nigeria, to name a few. If you have ever lived in a city where you live in an eternal state of panic, watching over your shoulder for the next gun shot, mugging or express kidnapping than you can certainly empathize with Arizona’s desperate pursuit to secure its borders and choke off the criminal insurgency.
In this neo war on terror that Arizona has waged on kidnapping and trafficking, it has taken into account all of its residents, legal or not. Most of these cases involve illegal immigrant victims. Despite sentiment accusing Arizona of racism, Arizona expends all of its available resources on kidnapping and trafficking victims. In fact, in 2009, the Phoenix Police Department created the Home Invasion Task Force, dedicating 12 officers to help combat the pandemic. As Andy Anderson, Assistant Chief of Phoenix Police, put it, “We’re in the eye of the storm…”If it doesn’t stop here, if we’re not able to fix it here and get it turned around, it will go across the nation.”
If Arizona is, in fact, the last bastion shielding itself and the rest of the country from an incremental takeover by crime and terror, than perhaps it is essential that we also think about what that American way of life means to us, on this ceremonial Independence Day, and what we would do to protect it. It seems ironic that the service men and women that have fought and died for just this way of life, should be betrayed by our lethargic inability to recognize the enemy walking over our open borders and kidnapping our way of life. If Senate Bill 1070 is too harsh of a measure to take to secure our border and our residents, legal and illegal, then just what energy, if any, are today’s Americans willing to exert to sustain their identity and enviable way of life?
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