I live in Phoenix. Texas is home for me, though; I grew up with guns. I grew up with gun safety lessons (don’t ever point a gun at anyone or anything you aren’t prepared to shoot, don’t ever put your finger inside the trigger guard until you are prepared to shoot, and don’t ever even look at dad’s guns cross-eyed lest you get the spanking of your life and find yourself grounded until you’re 50). I grew up with the understanding that guns are a tool, and like any tool, if misused they can do incredible damage.
I also grew up with the realization that it’s not guns that kill people. It’s people that kill each other, and they don’t always use guns to do it.
Mexican drug cartels have all but overrun the country. It’s gotten so bad that more have died in violence perpetrated by Mexican cartels than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The Mexican government is all but incompetent; they claim moral superiority because they don’t apply the death penalty, yet their crime rates are in the stratosphere, jails and prisons are outrageously overcrowded and corruption is the only way to survive. After years of listening to liberals in America scream and cry for harsher gun control measures and watching them stumble over themselves, I have finally seen and heard an argument that seems genuinely dangerous to our Second Amendment freedoms: the outright lie that 90% of all guns seized in Mexico (where guns are all but completely illegal for civilian ownership and usage) come from the United States.
Like any good lie, there is a grain of truth to it. What is it? Well, 90% of all traceable guns seized in Mexico can be traced back to the US. As of 2009, the truth of that number meant that only about 17% of the total number were actually coming from the US. The rest are coming from other foreign sources and can be easily spotted because of their markings (China, Russia and various Middle Eastern countries are the most popular, along with Belgian-made rifles that are often stolen from the Mexican army and some police agencies).
If you read the numbers as reported by Fox News in April of 2009, you’ll see a name that has come up since then. Two years ago, ATF agent Bill Newell gave the correct numbers to Fox, putting the lies perpetrated by liberals and the MSM to rest. You’d think it was once and for all, but it wasn’t.
Enter “Project Fast and Furious”, also known as “Project Gunwalker”.
According to whistleblowers Larry Alt, Darrin Gil and John Dodson, all ATF agents, Fast and Furious was intended to catch straw buyers in the act. The idea was to enlist the aid of a handful of gun stores, allow straw buyers to “pass” background checks in order to buy guns (AR-15’s and AK-47’s were popular) by means of the ATF and colluding organizations giving the green light for the sales, then stopping the buyers before they made it across the border and the weapons ended up in the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, we found out all too late what really happened. It was the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry on December 14, 2010 that shone a spotlight on Fast and Furious. Two of the guns recovered at the scene of his killing were traced back to a single US gun store, right here in Phoenix. How did they get into the hands of drug runners and human smugglers? The ATF let it happen. Fast and Furious was an abysmal failure. The news has gotten worse since the news broke, too. At least three murders in the US and more than 200 in Mexico have been linked to F&F guns, and the prediction is that hundreds – possibly thousands – could be linked by the time the dust settles.
The name of the Phoenix gun store that has gotten caught up in the ATF’s massive mishandling is very well known to me. I am a customer of Lone Wolf Trading Co., and have been since moving to Arizona. It is the only gun store I have ever shopped at, whether for guns, ammunition, grips, slings, skins, cleaning kits, you name it – I am not personal friends with Andre Howard or his staff, but when I walk in you’d think I was. They all recognize me. Even when I haven’t been in a full year they still recognize me. When I heard the store’s name come up in the reports about F&F, I was floored. I couldn’t believe they’d engage in that sort of business – I have been there when they have turned people away for background check failures.
As it turns out, they weren’t willing participants in the government cluster. ATF supervisors swore to Howard that none of the guns he sold to known straw buyers would ever reach Mexico. When the feces hit the oscillating rotator, however, Howard started searching for answers. In March of this year he retained a lawyer and called a meeting with the ATF heads who had enlisted his help for F&F. He taped the meeting (along with others), during which ATF agent Hope MacAllister and US Attorney Emory Hurley promised him that the guns sold from his store were stopped before they crossed the border. But in at least one Spanish-language publication, those same ATF and US Attorney spokesmen blamed Lone Wolf for selling guns directly to the cartels. Interestingly, the Washington Post pretty much let the ATF off the hook with essentially the same argument, just dressed up differently. Remember our buddy, Bill Newell, who gave corrected numbers on what was being found in Mexico? Suddenly he was being named as complicit in the coverup.
F&F originally began with a paltry $2M budget in 2005 and it worked relatively well. In 2009, however, the program was drastically expanded. Obama administration officials expanded the scope, personnel and budget by more than ten times what Bush had given the green light for and on top of all of that requested an additional $12M in funding. Under Obama and Holder’s DOJ, it became a vehicle for something else entirely. Over the past nine months, bloggers David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh – along with a group of anonymous current and former ATF agents known as CleanUpATF – have hounded the story and dug up facts and articles that the MSM and gun-ban proponents have deliberately ignored at the behest of the Big O. Michelle Malkin has also followed the story, along with Laura Ingram.
Remember how, in early 2009, Fox News presented correct numbers on the guns that were really being recovered in Mexico? Democrats and their anti-gun rights shills couldn’t have been more upset about having their lies exposed. They needed something to make the numbers work. Here’s where F&F becomes useful to Obama and the Holder DOJ: they expanded the scope, gave it an enormous budget, and instructed the head of the ATF to make sure that the guns sold actually did make it across the border. The hope would be then that crimes would be committed and the guns would be recovered – but that the Mexican government, who was not informed about the expanded program, would be none the wiser about how the guns had made it there in the first place.
The MSM, which has largely ignored F&F, had very quietly backed away from claims that 90% of guns seized in Mexico came from the US. Well, in June of this year, MSNBC finally had the numbers that Obama wanted in the first place. They had a reason to report that a large majority of the guns retrieved from a major cartel bust had come from the US. Without a single word about F&F or the ensuing melee, MSNBC parroted fudged numbers provided directly to them by ATF heads in emergency CYA mode. And it shouldn’t surprise any of us that the report that came from the ATF was ordered by Democrat nitwit Dianne Feinstein and two unnamed fellow senators – you’ll recall Feinstein being behind the original calls in 2009 to take further steps to ban guns. She has said multiple times in the past that she would love to see all Americans have their guns confiscated.
If the story hadn’t leaked and a few good agents hadn’t done the right thing, we would never have known the truth. Those classifying themselves as moderates and progressives would have easily gotten behind new laws that would have put us on the short path to decimating the Second Amendment. Even with the truth coming out, however, a willingly complicit liberal media has aided and abetted the Obama administration in taking a scandal far more egregious than Watergate ever was and turning it into nothing. It isn’t even being discussed in debates. Press heads aren’t even bringing it up with Obama, and the few times he has been questioned he has flatly denied knowing anything about it.
It wasn’t just the courage of those agents that helped. Andre Howard should be commended for doing what needed to be done not only to protect himself, but to try his damndest to expose an operation that he knew was wrong. No matter how much cheaper I can get it elsewhere, I will never go anywhere but Lone Wolf. It is appalling to me that the media is so willing to indict Mr. Howard and let the government off with a free pass.