Hey bloviating politicians! U.S. border towns quiet, lovely, safe

Greg Harman

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As a good friend announced to her family she was headed to Mexico for some R&R, her sweet abuelita objected. “It's not safe,” peeped the timorous voice at the head of the table. “I'm not going to the border,” my friend clarified, and the family around the table visibly relaxed.

One would have thought we were talking about Afghanistan in the rainy season.

So, who would have guessed, despite news of dramatic shootouts, beheadings, and mass graves, Mexico's murder rate is actually down from a decade ago, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. (That's pretty sobering news ... unless you happen to traffic in human rights or journalism, two career paths strongly discouraged by the drug cartels these days.)

And despite Texas Governor Perry's grandstanding on the issue yesterday, things are even rosier on the U.S. side of La Linea. According to what is being billed as the first ever safety poll of border dwellers, the Border Network for Human Rights reports that more than 86 percent of border residents said they feel safe walking and driving in their neighborhoods. I'd wager that's as good or better as folks in many parts of San Antonio.

Of the 1,222 residents surveyed from California to Texas, another 70 percent said they felt their neighborhood was probably as safe as any in the U.S. Of course, respondents in El Paso, recently ranked as one of the safest large cities in the United States, would be wrong on that point, but in their own secure point of favor.

So we ask: why do we need the U.S. National Guard and round-the-clock drone surveillance from San Diego to Brownsville?

“Politicians creating border policies need to talk to the people who actually live at the border instead of listening to pundits and opportunistic politicians set to score political points by fanning the perception that the border is out of control,” said Fernando García, director of the Border Network, in a prepared release. “It is time to rethink our border policy by increasing the quality and accountability of border enforcement, not the quantity of armed agents and soldiers on our southern border.”

Yeah, we get there are hot spots in Texas. Isolated spots like Fabens come to mind. But these years of fear mongering and macho posturing are getting a little tired.

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