With a drug war raging unabated in Mexico just across the Rio Grande River, Texas has decided to act. The state has unveiled a small but expensive fleet of gunboats similar to those used in Viet Nam.
Texas gunboats at 1:50:
Don’t accuse Texas of being gun-shy. This morning, the Lone Star State commissioned the second out of six armored gunboats now being sent to the Rio Grande to fight Mexico’s drug traffickers. According to press reports, the Texas Department of Public Safety — state police who also oversee the Texas Rangers — is spending a total of $3.5 million to outfit six high-speed vessels with machine guns and armor plating. The boats, like the one commissioned in Austin this morning and named after fallen State Trooper David Irvine Rucker, are expected to begin operations this month (photos here). It’s all part of a plan to patrol the river, lakes and the ship channel along the Gulf of Mexico to watch for drug smugglers and pirates.
“Cartel operatives have fired at law enforcement officers while they were attempting to interdict drug loads on the Rio Grande River. When our officers come under fire from these weapons, we want to afford them every opportunity to return home safely from each patrol mission,” Tom Vinger, assistant chief of public affairs for the department, told the San Angelo Standard-Times. —Robert Beckhusen for Wired
Obama and Homeland Security Chief, Janet Napolitano have said recently that the border is safer than ever. Citing statistics showing arrests for border crossings at a thirty year low, Obama recently suggested reducing the number of National Guard troops on the border. With thousands of murders along the border in the last year and mass graves constantly being discovered , how safe can the border be?
Just last month an El Paso woman was hit in the leg by a stray bullet from Juarez. Firefights between the rival cartels on the Mexican side of the border can be heard regularly by residents of Texas border communities. The violence spilled over recently in Hidalgo county where a Sheriff’s deputy was shot three times.
Border security is a federal responsibility. Texas has clearly decided that Obama and Homeland Security have failed their border responsibility. In this election year, it remains to be seen how Obama will respond to the new Texas navy.