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Operation Fast and Furious: Not So Fast – We Should Be Furious

October 9, 2011

Recently, ‘Operation Fast and Furious,” an ATF-sponsored initiative to encourage gun dealers to break the law by selling guns to law-breakers so that they could eventually be caught and charged with law-breaking, cam to light.  It turns out that some of the many guns sold unlawfully ended up in the hands of criminals whom ATF could not keep track of, that these guns were used in crimes, and that innocent people, including some in local law enforcement, died as a result.  (Many local sheriffs oppose operations of this kind; it is not as though all of the law enforcement community has run amok.  Law enforcement is largely a local matter; the Constitution identifies only three Federal crimes – treason, counterfeiting and piracy.  The sheriffs are the ones who should have the lead in keeping the peace, not the Feds.)

What is at stake here, in addition to the lives of Border Patrol and local law enforcement personnel, as well as those of American civilians, Mexican civilians, police, et cetera, is the Rule of Law.  No one, including the President himself, is above the law.  All are bound by it, at all times and in all places.  No one can therefore break the law with impunity – not to catch drug dealers or for any other reason.  The recklessness of putting unknowing innocents at risk, including members of other branches of law enforcement, is matched only by that of disregarding the foundations of the Law itself, ostensibly done in the name of bringing wrongdoers to justice.  Arming criminals before attempting to arrest them… Irony indeed!

Federal law enforcement has a track record of abusing power.  The mass murder of the Branch Davidians in their Waco, Texas compound  is the outstanding modern example.  (General governmental abuse of power is so widespread and is of such common knowledge that it needs no further treatment here.)  What checks governmental power, in the American system, at least, are the other branches of government, and the people themselves.  Executive overreach has, in this case, led to Congressional investigations.  This is good; one can only hope that Congress does its’ duty and does not become a party in covering up wrongdoing.

The final check and balance, should the three branches of government not check each other, are the people.  We must stand up, even in the face of threats and harassment, to oppose abuse of power.  We must exercise an active voice on Election Day, as well, by holding our elected officials accountable, in the primaries and in the general election.  To continue electing those who do evil or who do not oppose it with energy and effective action, is to be a party to it.  We, the People, may fail, but failure is not the worst of fates.  To witness wrong and not to try to right it is.

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