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Bean bags vs. AK-47s

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Live Link: Tom Tancredo

December 18, 2010

Another Border Patrol agent on the Arizona border was shot and killed by Mexican drug smugglers last Tuesday. Of the eight attackers, four are in custody and a fifth is under surveillance by Border Patrol Blackhawk helicopters as he tries to make his way back to the Mexican border.

BP Agent Brian Terry was part of a BORTAC team (for border tactical unit) tracking armed drug smugglers 15 miles northwest of Nogales, Ariz., (and only three miles west of Interstate 19) when they were attacked with automatic weapons fire. The area is well-known as a major drug-smuggling corridor, and the smugglers are known to frequently be armed with AK-47s and other long rifles.

Here’s the part Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Border Patrol management are trying to hide: Border Patrol Agent Terry and the BORTAC team were under standing orders to always use (“non-lethal”) bean-bag rounds first before using live ammunition. When the smugglers heard the first rounds, they returned fire with real bullets, and Agent Terry was killed in that exchange. Real bullets outperform bean bags every time.

The larger, ugly truth Napolitano and senior managers in the Border Patrol want to hide is that the rules of engagement and inadequate weaponry of the Border Patrol place the lives of all agents at grave risk. The National Border Patrol Council, which represents over 15,000 field agents, believes the border is too dangerous for officers to patrol without body armor, armored vehicles and automatic weapons.

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