“Fast and Furious” – The Result of Weak Gun Laws

DRAFT…clear out some repetition, including sourcing

Let’s talk about assertion that “Fast and Furious” is an Obama Administration program. Well, that’s accurate as far as it goes, but to leave out that it succeeded a Bush-Cheney era program known as Operation Wide Receiver is a bit disingenuous.

“Fast and Furious” indeed ran from 2009 to 2011. However it was the successor to Operation “Wide Receiver” that ran from 2006 to 2007, and then again in 2007  during, you know, during the Bush-Cheney Administration.   Call the 2006-2007  effort “Phase I” and the followup effort in 2007 as “Phase II”.

Phase II involved 200 guns. It didn’t work.  Although the ATF did its job, the Mexican government wasn’t able to track the smuggled weapons.

What’s the reasoning behind all this?  I mean, it sounds crazy for the US government to allow guns to be smuggled into Mexico…right?

In 2006,  before it was essentially unfunded by the GOP, the ATF was and is rightly concerned with sales of AR-15s and similar weapons to suspicious characters, and because of the GOP-led weakening of gun laws, could and can do very little about it. I mean, heck, the sale of semi-automatic, military grade assault rifles is guaranteed in the Second Amendment! For what it’s worth, my long passed way dad, who for thirty years was a small arms production specialist, and who worked with the US Army on the M16 rifle during the Vietnam War, wouldn’t agree at all that such weapons belong in civilian hands – even if they are set permanently to semiautomatic. I know- this guy, one of the few experts on the production of such weapons in the Northeast, made it quite clear to me what he thought of civilians having such military-grade equipment. But he lived in saner times – the 1970s- where keeping an assault rifle in one’s home would be…bizarre. And, please, don’t even try to tell me that assault rifles are good hunting weapons.  Hardly.

Anyways, the ATF’s frustration with such weak gun laws and the resultant flood of powerful weapons making their way down to Mexico was the catalyst for consideration of over-the-border “gunwalking” programs. The ATF reasoned that if they couldn’t leverage gun laws, then they could perhaps trace straw purchases of planted weapons to the drug cartels. This was the brainchild of a Bush-Cheney Administration. A “test” program, if you will.

Well, it sorta worked.   Operation Wide Receiver ultimately resulted with nine people getting arrested.

Success brings its own momentum and with it came about what can be called “Phase III”.   It was called “Fast and Furious” and was managed by William Newell, originally a Bush-Cheney Administration ATF agent who played a major role in Operation Wide Receiver.  This is the part of the program that occurred under the Obama Administration.

YES, a border patrol agent, Brian Terry, was shot and killed during a battle with five suspected illegal immigrants. It wasn’t a fair fight: The border agents had beanbag guns, and the suspects had some pretty powerful weapons smuggled in from the USA to Mexico (thank you weak gun laws!). Two of those weapons were found to be AK-lookalike weapons that came from the Fast and Furious program. The bullet that killed Terry was too badly damaged to be traced to those weapons.

In summary:

1. The Bush-Cheney Administration implemented the first two phases of the gunwalking program, known as Operation Wide Receiver. The first phase had limited success, the second phase was unsuccessful.

2. The Obama-Biden Administration, on arresting and bringing to justice suspects from Operation Wide Receiver (the part that I called “Phase I”), implemented Fast and Furious under an ATF agent who originally served under the Bush-Cheney Administration.

3. A border agent was murdered by suspected illegal immigrants, possibly by Fast and Furious weapons. However, as the bullet that murdered him was too badly damaged for trace analysis, whether or not a Fast and Furious artifact killed the border agent will remain forever unknown.

Here’s a 2007 dated document from the Bush-Cheney Administration where gunwalking operations under Operation Wide Receiver were openly discussed. Proof, if you will, of the program starting during the Bush-Cheney Admin: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/documents/2011/10/atf-emails-discuss-bush-era-gun-walking-program.php?page=1

So…please don’t come to me and tell me that that the was an Obama-Biden only program. Hardly. It was started and was just as much a Bush-Cheney program. If McCain (and angels and ministers of grace defend us) Palin were elected, the program would likely have continued.

Too, the issue -the real issue- is the huge numbers of guns (2,000 guns a day!) smuggled into Mexico thanks to severely weakened gun laws in the  USA.  The GOP-led House has, over and again, denied the Obama Administration’s attempts to strengthen these laws so as to begin to manage the flood of powerful American weapons smuggled into Mexico.  This abdication of responsibility by the GOP is reprehensible, all while they try to gain politically with a “Fast and Furious” brouhaha.

Sources:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/the-guns-that-got-away-11172011.html

http://azstarnet.com/news/blogs/senor-reporter/article_01700a28-f502-11e0-989c-001cc4c002e0.html

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/06/fast-and-furious-investigation-going-sideways-gop

http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/?iid=SF_F_MPM

Regarding Accusations of the Poor as “Sucking off the System”

I came across a posting somewhere that used coded language to blast the poor for being parasites that “suck off then system” and that the increase on those living in poverty due to this great recession represents an increase of parasitical activities to the point where that’s pretty much everything that’s going on.

This is the worst recession since the Great Depression. In fact, as it’s labeled by some economists as a depression, by the very definition of a recession/depression, how could anyone *not* expect a spike in such necessities as unemployment compensation and food stamps as during the worst economic crises in 80 years? Or for that matter, welfare, of which the vast majority of funding goes to helping children living in poverty?

Labeling such assistance with emotionally negative labels is the equivalent of blaming the poor for being poor, or the unemployed for being unemployed when there are close to three people unemployed for every open job in this country (certainly an improvement over 2010 (5:1) and 2011 (4:1), but not good enough by a long shot). It’s the equivalent of labeling the poor as “parasites” as Ayn Rand loved to do. It’s also the furthest thing possible from Jesus’ teachings. After all, his very first public statement as that He was came to “bring good news to the poor”. Would that we all should show such respect for the dignity of those living in poverty, rather than inferring that they are “parasites”.