Sunday, December 04, 2011

Across the fields of mourning...

I watched the local morning news to catch the weather forecast, then flipped the channel over to the lefty documentary channel, Current TV, which is usually good for some lulz, while I worked up the energy to get out of bed.

There, on the TV screen, big as life and twice as gross, was a dude lying amidst the ocotillo and the prickly pear looking a little mummified in his Adidas and blue jeans. Something had been at his face, most likely vultures. I couldn't help but blurt aloud "Yup, that's a bleepin' dead guy, alright." Hell of a thing to see before breakfast.

I had stumbled across a documentary that seemed to take umbrage at the vast attractive nuisance in America's lower left-hand corner, otherwise known as the Sonoran Desert, which is turning aspiring construction workers and fruit harvest technicians into human raisins at a pretty good clip, apparently. That is, when it doesn't get them shot for trying to tenderfoot their trespassing way through a desert that is jam-packed with raping, looting, beheading, drug-smuggling banditos locked in a turf war like something from Martin Scorsese on acid.

Now, normally, if the pool in your back yard was drowning neighborhood kids at a rate of a few hundred or more a year, you'd put a fence around it to keep the blighters out and hang a "trespassers will be eaten by piranha" sign on said fence and be done with it, but the guys doing the documentary did not strike me as being in the pro-fence camp. Further, since we've already put fence in most places that are easy to get to, that leaves the unfenced spots out in the middle of hell's back forty as the only lightly-monitored crossing places.

The film crew drove south and hooked up with a coyote in Altar to smuggle them back across the border somewhere in the middle of the Arizona desert, which I am pretty sure is not an authorized port of entry. I'm not, however, clear on the legalities involved, especially if you're breaking the law for the sake of Art and Truth as though you were working for Michael Bloomberg.

Anyhow, what I learned from all this is that hiking for days in the desert with just a couple gallon jugs of Gatorade between you and a really convincing Amenhotep IV impression is incredibly stupid and dangerous. You would think that this would be blindingly obvious, but apparently it's not.


Anonymous said...

People not from the desert tend to underestimate how deadly it is. Uncompromising in all aspects. You play by it's rules or you DIE.

It seems that there's a moral somewheres in here, but damned if I can find it.


Old NFO said...

They, as usual, are portraying the illegals as the 'heroes'... More fitting would have been for them to all die, and the last shot being the camera falling to the ground, but that's just me...

You can NEVER win in the desert, the only thing you can do is survive IF you get lucky and everything breaks your way.

Tam said...

Old NFO,

Their angle was 'victims' rather than 'heroes'.

I'm not sure that I agree with littering and a federal misdemeanor being death penalty offenses, but at the same time, folks who go courting Darwin Awards so assiduously don't get a whole lot of sympathy from me.

I think we could clear up half the problems along the border by getting rid of most of the public services that appeal to loafers and strap-hangers, and let anybody who wants to bust ass come on in. You can't fix an ant problem without cleaning up the pile of sugar in the middle of the kitchen floor.

That, and legalize weed to gut the cartels, and the border would be a lot more tranquil.

MSgt B said...

"especially if you're breaking the law for the sake of Art and Truth as though you were working for Michael Bloomberg."

I love you Tam! (Figuratively speaking)

Bloomberg pissed off (and on) a lot of people here in VA.

Robert said...

If we had open immigration, 2/3rds of the population of India would immediately move here. And that's just India. Not to mention all of the other countries. They would then vote to reopen those closed programs that appeal to the strap hangers and suchlike.

45er said...

"Art and Truth"... as I read that, my brain was jumping to a Bloomberg reference, and then there it was.

Gregg said...

Which is why those programs need to be ruled unconstitutional and abolished.

Zendo Deb said...

People from the City tend to underestimate how dangerous the country can be.

Not just wilderness, but good old fashioned country.

When I was kid there were pretty regular stories about New Yorkers (They think they have winter in NYC) would be driving through the Illinois out-back in the winter, and suffer some kind of mechanical mishap.

They would then decide to walk to the nearest store for help. In their London Fog with the zip-in lining.

They would freeze.

(If you ever find yourself in a Midwestern Winter, when it's 20 below zero on the mercury, and 30 Mph - or better -wind is howling across the prairie, you should know that exposed skin will freeze in under a minute. Put a couple of candles and few chocolate bars in your car.)

Today the stories revolve around folks secure in the knowledge that their GPS will get them there, ask for the "shortest route." And end up freezing in the mountains out west.

All this boils down to asking the question, "how dangerous can it be?" When the answer comes, it usually qualifies you for a Darwin award.

mongo78 said...

A fairly short and interesting read on this topic is The Devil's Highway. I picked up a copy of this in a bookstore in Marfa, TX, and read it as we drove back to San Diego on I-8. Sobering and disturbing stuff.

That said, I don't think turning off the welfare state would be enough to deter migration from Mexico. As long as there are people who want to escape the corruption and poverty, there will be people who will take the risk of crossing the AZ desert.

Tam said...


No, but it would go a long way toward making sure the ones that came were the ones we wanted.

Maybe we could trade them Occupiers and Welfare Leeches on a 1-for-1 basis?

A work visa program?

I dunno. Whatever the answer is, it's not what we're doing now.

FatWhiteMan said...

Saw a brief glimpse of that channel late yesterday afternoon. They had a "documentary" on about the cartel wars and was trying hard to see how many of the anti's 90% memes they could cram into a segment. I didn't know that there are only 6,000 legal registered guns in all of Mexico and every other gun there that is not registered has been used in a crime and they all come from the U.S. Apparently if we all registered our guns, the cartels would be forced to fight each other with knives or spoons or something. I turned it off when they were getting ready to go undercover at U.S. gun shows to show how they are just merchants of death for the cartels.

Tam said...


"I turned it off when they were getting ready to go undercover at U.S. gun shows to show how they are just merchants of death for the cartels."

Then you missed the prevaricating ATF supervisor and Dennis Hennigan looking like a Very Sad Panda! It was the most lulz-worthy part! Especially when they tried to put a positive spin on Fast & Furious!

Unknown said...

Death in the desert? Heck, we lose a few from time to time in Big Bend National Park, in spite of all the advice and literature about staying all watered up.

Evolution works.

Txred said...


I'm a lot more pro-legalization of drugs than I used to be, however I'm a little troubled of late when I see references to making major inroads on the Cartels' profits via said law changes. Isn't part of the legalization argument that we will gain a new, valuable tax base from the drugs so legislated? If so, what's our government's usual M.O. vis a vis so called "sin" commodities already on the books such as alcohol and tobacco? Isn't there a thriving illegal enterprise in highly taxed states in the transport and sale of black market, untaxed goods?

The Zetas, Sinaloa, and Gulf Cartels are all pretty well practiced in making their vast sums of cash on drug trafficking and kidnapping. I'm pretty doubtful that our .gov will be able to successfully overthrow the current distribution network or price their taxed and legal product much below the current market value.

I am still in favor of legalization of marijuana, but I'm concerned about the unintended consequences of the required legislation and enforcement thereof. I doubt seriously it will be the near-instantaneous panacea that many seem to believe. I'm afraid our border/drug war issues are going to get a lot more complex and ugly before we get on the road to a long term solution.

WV: ances; If you wander into the Sonoran Desert unprepared, chances are that Mother Nature and the heat will do various 'ances on your shallow, wind-blown grave.

Tam said...

Who'd buy Oaxacan ditchweed at a crazy markup when they can get good Kentucky for a fraction of the price?

Txred said...

That's my question: Will it be a fraction of the price once the farmer pays their site registration tax and the "farmacist" pays for their wacky weed tax stamp? The lure of all those extra dollars and the ability to "punish" the evil potheads via tariff in front of their constituents will have our duly elected representatives frothing at the mouth. You know how much common sense those folks have in either one of those situations, much less when both happen simultaneously.

Also please remember that the gentle folk of Kentucky and the surrounding environs don't have a great history of paying revenuers the legally required taxes on their produce.

By the way, thanks for giving me something to mentally chew upon on a daily basis. It's much appreciated.

WV: endrint; I never really started a rant, but I'll add /endrint anyway.

og said...

"Who'd buy Oaxacan ditchweed at a crazy markup when they can get good Kentucky for a fraction of the price?"

yep. One thing those redstaters can do is grow stuff. You can grow maters, you can grow buds. If I had pulled a bud off every deepwoods "feedlot" i encountered in my life, I'd have a pile big enough to pay for my retirement now.

Of course if I had, I might have been in more trouble from other folks.... A guy with a still, once he establishes that you're not a revinoor, will offer you a snort. (And you'd BETTER take him up on it) A "Farmer" tends to have less of a sense of humor.

As for deserts, I've been in the Red desert and have no desire to go back. And that one isn't that hot. Sam Kinison said it best: Move to where the FOOD IS!

Jayson said...

TxRed, just look at California's weed industry. Seems the price is low enough that plenty of people are getting high (despite the DEA's efforts.)

Firehand said...

When I drove through the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas(I want to go back and see the place) there was a sign at the entrance to the national park, something like "You will have to carry water with you when you hike, because there is none here." And I have to wonder how many people think they're just being cautious? Which is insane: you should be able to LOOK at it and know you will die there if you don't take care.

It's not just deserts; a while back a guy wrote about the people who die in Hawaii, on the coast, and the ones who disappear in the jungle every year. You either pay attention when out in nature or she'll kill you.

Maybe, along with stupid, we should add 'careless' to Heinlein's Universal Death Sentence.

Txred said...

Jayson, that's a great point. I had not thought of the California example. I do think that we would see a lot more grandstanding and teeth gnashing on a congressional level than we did in a state that overall has a pretty positive view of the drug. California is also an excellent example of just how much local vs. state vs. national wrangling for control and taxation that we would see on a national basis.

Tam's and Og's replies do give me a great idea for a screenplay. A remake of Swayze's Next of Kin with the main character as an Appalachian DEA agent with relatives in the hills who are waging a small scale war against some entrepreneurial types from south of the border. It's got it all: it's a remake (they love to make those), action, and it's "ripped from the headlines". I'll do my best to remember all you little people in my Academy Award acceptance speech.

Vaarok said...

You gotta figure, when back-home a ditchdigging job for one man has a line forming before sunup with half the prospectives bringing their own shovel, that "there might be a job where people are scary and don't speak your language and will boot you if you cause trouble" begins to sound not-so-bad.

And when you figure most of 'em do things like put their house in hock to raise up the coyote fee, just to try to earn a buck, I have to shush all the people who say they're only coming for anchor babies and handouts.

Sure as hell no white boy wants to swing a hammer or run a shovel these days.

I'm eagerly awaiting the modified guest worker programs coming in next year, where there's a route they can use to get proper papers- if they're paying thousands to get here illegally, and you offer them a legal way that's cheaper, it's a no brainer they'll take it. And then you can tax 'em, track 'em, and regulate 'em.

fast richard said...

I support the idea of expanded guest worker programs and an easier path to residency. Currently it is very difficult to get an immigrant visa without substantial education and skills. It should be easier to come here legally to work than it is now to come illegally.

The only easily available welfare benefit for new residents should be a ticket home. Continued residence should be contingent on being self supporting. As long as children born here are automatically citizens, there is no need to even have a path to naturalized citizenship for their legal resident parents.

Our immigration system is badly in need of an overhaul. The last big rewrite, in 1986, caused at least as many problems as it solved.

the pawnbroker said...

Immigration? End it; slam the door shut for everyone from everywhere.

Work visas? Yes; then use it or lose it.

Weed? Legalize possession and home cultivation and see how fast hobby farmers put the cartels' megabiz to sleep.

Fast & Furious? That describes gun sales on Black Friday; highest NICS count ever, I think they said 130,000. I'm sure there's no connection to points one, two, and three having about the same chances as those human raisins in the desert.

Tam said...


(And take this, please, with the wry smile I'm wearing as I type it... :) )

I was just remarking to Bobbi this morning that, as I get older, I'm more comfortable saying that I don't have the answers.

It's nice to know there's hope to remain, as Rod Stewart said, Forever Young. ;)

Jayson said...


there's a similar plot to season 2 of "Justified", a TV show on FX lol

OtherWhiteMatt said...

I think the problem is that the city folk are used to being babied and told what's dangerous, that or after seeing so many worthless signs(hot water will burn!) that they start to ignore all signs including the good ones.

the pawnbroker said...


Forever young? Eff that, I'm looking for the express checkout lane. But yeah, answers come way easier with age; funny how so many things get blindingly obviouser as the years roll by and responsibility -if not culpability- wanes.

Bram said...

When I lived in Las Vegas, there were two news stories you could count on hearing once a week.

"Dave the yuppie dead of dehydration in the desert."


"Eddie Spaghetti found dead in desert with gunshot to the head."

Anonymous said...

It has often occured to me that people who are willing to risk death to get to the United States TO WORK are exactly the sort of people we want to have here. As I see it, the problem isn't the immigrants but rather our ain't-we-so-generous-and-civilized laws that will give all comers a full free ride from womb to tomb if they want it in exchange for... um... er... Well, I suppose that they haven't got to do ANYTHING in exchange for this largesse other than show up. Don't even need to speak or read English.

National security and crime issues aside (and I'm NOT minimizing them), let 'em all come, I say, with the provisos that they WILL obey they laws, they WILL work for a living, and they WILL learn English if for no other reason than we're not going to make signs and government forms in any other language except Braille.

As for those national security and crime issues, I suggest taking a leaf from some of the Asian countries' playbooks: you get caught crossing our well-patrolled border with guns, drugs, or other contraband beyond a bootleg CD, and you will be hanged.

global village idiot said...

Their angle was 'victims' rather than 'heroes'.

The two are semantically synonymous to the left. Just look at what kind of Soldiers the left tends to lionize: whiners like that OWS ex-Marine and the treasonous bastard who leaked all that stuff to the James Bond villain. Real snake-eaters and life-savers get short shrift.

Meanwhile, as to the unfortunates dying in America's Largest No-Stupid Zone, you quite reasonably point out that it's a place where the unprepared get precisely what Nature says they deserve; on the other hand, you deride the leftist documentary as though they're missing some sort of point.

Leftist thinking exists expressly in opposition to an understanding of the laws of Nature, survival and common sense. Such universal truths are the natural enemies of bleeding-heart bed-wetters such as these.

You and I and every other right-thinking American might, in a moment of unearned sympathy, might be persuaded to look at your "raisin people" and go, "Those poor people! If only they'd been better prepared for their trip." A lefty is intellectually unequipped to make it any farther past "Those poor people!"


global village idiot said...

In other words, when stupid people suffer for stupid reasons, they are to be pitied. They are not to be considered as having got their just desserts; rather, the premise that one's actions have consequences is itself inherently unjust.

Do you remember when you posted years ago about a young lady writing into an advice column, wherein she expressed displeasure that her boyfriend was upset that she'd lied to him, and her desire to patch things up without consequences?

That right there is the distilled and undiluted essence of liberal thinking. Theirs is the world of the reset-button and the do-over.


Art said...

awaiting announcement of the new federal program, Safe Sonoran Passage Path with aesthetically pleasing shade shelters and h2o caches.

Corey said...

I don’t get here often enough an miss discussions like this. I will try not to make this too long but will hit a few important points.
Guest worker programs? The U.S. currently has 11 categories of guest worker visas that cover everything from fruit pickers (2 of those, H2A and H2B), to fashion models (seriously, that’s an H1B visa), professional athletes (P-1) to “we think you’re awesome!" (O-1 “Individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement”) and even lackeys (O-2, assistants to awesome! people). Each category has its own annual quota that can be raised or lowered at any time by congress. The guest worker program exists and is not broken, it is simply not being used.
Docjim505 said “It has often occurred to me that people who are willing to risk death to get to the United States TO WORK are exactly the sort of people we want to have here.”  Agreed, but the important question is HOW MANY do we need here and what skills should they have? Many of them fall into the unskilled labor category. With an overall unemployment rate of close to 10% and the unemployment rate among unskilled minorities close to 50%, why are we importing more unskilled labor to compete with them? Immigration policy should not be based on charity to the people of other countries. Obviously most of them want to come here, and just as obviously letting them all come here cannot be done. Now that we have established that there must be limits, let’s talk about what those limits should be based on. How about we base them on our own best interests as a nation? There’s a novel idea. When the economy is in the tank and there are lines at the unemployment office we let in fewer people. When the economy is booming and companies can’t find people to fill jobs in certain field, we let in more people with the skills we need. Just a thought. Also, best quote ever from Thomas Sowell that relevant to everything in life, “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.”
Finally, Art’s waiting for the “Safe Sonoran Passage Path”? It’s already here, but at least it is a private, 501 C-3 non-profit group instead of a government program.  I lived I Arizona for 15 years and I don’t care who you are, dying in the desert sucks.
I swear I could write a book about this, but no one reads all the other books already written about it so why bother.
 I'm not even going to start in on the smuggling part.

Anonymous said...

After reading all the legalize it comments , well I live in the area that produces Vidalia Sweet Onions , Vidalia Sweet Weed anyone ? I'll devote a few acres to it !