Monday, January 26, 2009

Border Fence Sells Faulty Theory

Your homeland security continues to leak from all sorts of holes and now it's about giving big grants to low-crime areas. The counties along the border have some urban areas and some vast empty spaces. Under the policy of the maladministration now kicked out, the government has sent them equal amounts to fight border crime.

If this makes no sense to you, welcome to the club. Increasingly, the occupied White House past shows that 'sense' is not the sort of virtue it can appreciate. Forging on into nonsensical, the main concept behind many of its operations seems to be affronting rationality.

The first batch of the $16.2 million awarded, more than $5 million, was given in 2005 to a loose coalition of sheriffs who split the take evenly, regardless of crime rates. The rest was given out in grants to several counties. And several million dollars more are in the pipeline.

Presidio County, whose sheriff and four deputies cover 3,856 square miles of West Texas and protect about 1,000 people, received $336,875 to fight the one crime, an aggravated assault, that occurred in the county in 2006.

But in the Rio Grande Valley’s urban Hidalgo County, across the river from the sites of several deadly Mexican shootouts, got about the same amount, spread over three years, for its more than 250 deputies to fight 7,160 violent crimes.

"I expressed my displeasure at the time," Sheriff Lupe Trevino said. "But that’s the way it goes. We used the money the best way we could, and you do what you have to."

The Associated Press obtained a county-by-county breakdown of state spending on border crime in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to spending records, several departments, including Presidio County, bought night-vision goggles, radar units and radios, along with heavy-duty four-wheel-drive trucks and other off-road vehicles. They put some money in their overtime budgets.

Hudspeth County, with a population of about 3,300 and 41 crimes in 2006, spent $22,300 on a Ford Mustang GT outfitted as a police car.

Misplaced resources?

The sheriffs say they need the money to match the equipment and budgets of larger departments in Texas. The state says that the money will be used to prevent crimes and that even trespassing and vandalism in sleepy counties could be signs of Mexican organized crime seeping across the Rio Grande.

But critics say some of that money was misdirected.

"This shouldn’t be border socialism," said Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense in Washington. "It has to be based on need."

Gotta love Mr. Ellis' definition of socialism. The last I heard, socialism to the wingers was about giving on the basis of need, not of earnings. Sorry, there I go being rational, not the sort of concept that rates with the wingnuts.

Any possible relationship between fighting crime and taxpayer funds has been finally obliterated by this latest fillip. The sheriffs' offices can join Wall Street's CEOs and go to the spa if they don't have those pesky drug wars acting out in their streets.

It's all a mockery to the wingers. They talk the talk about fiscal responsibility, but they can't walk the walk since they appear to have not the slightest idea what it means. A road map might be a good use of the funds, so the DHS could figure out where the border goes through populated areas ... oh, why make sense now? We have a new President, that's going to be his job.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home