The Houston Chronicle chronicles attempts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (the group that brought you the Branch Davidian standoff) to track down illegal gun purchases that end up down Mexico way. From Agent Tim Sloan comes this pearl of wisdom:
"An angry ex-girlfriend or wife is the best person in the world, the greatest source of information."
The Chron titles its story "Federal agents hunt for guns, one house at a time," and is clearly sympathetic to the feds (it's 102 degrees out! there's pit bulls at every corner!), but gives details that makes law enforcement look less than knightly:
On this day, agents weren't wearing raid jackets or combat boots and weren't armed with warrants.
Guns were hidden under civilian shirts.
Another tip took agents on a 30-minute drive from the shack to a sprawling home with a pool in the back and an American flag out front.
It turned out two handguns, of a type drug gangsters prefer, were bought by a pastor for target practice.
Some stories, they say, are hard to believe.
The lamest so far came from a police officer: He said he bought a few military-style rifles, left them in his car and—on the same night—forgot to lock a door. He couldn't explain why he didn't file a police report or why he visited Mexico the day after the alleged theft.
Those warrants can really ruin the cut of a sports jacket, that's for sure.
Here's something to throw in the mix: Why not reduce the amount of violence and gun play, both here and in Mexico, but, I don't know, ending the war on drugs? Seriously, to the extent that Mexico (and by extension, the U.S.) has a drug-violence problem, it is clearly related to the illegal status of intoxicants, not the bang-bang potential of guns. Read this on that.
Hat tip: Dan Gifford, who blogs at Big Hollywood and was nominated for an Academy Award for his production of Waco: Rules of Engagment, one of the most disturbing documentaries of the past quarter-century.