Pinal County sheriff Paul Babeu recently said parts of Arizona are under control of drug cartels and that Arizona needs 3,000 federal troops. Jason Ready, who the SPLC describes as “nativist” and possibly neo-Nazi, just sent out an email encouraging private citizens to patrol the area in camo with “plenty of firearms and ammo,” calling it “the Minuteman Project on steroids.”
The sheriff’s response was illuminating.
Two months ago, I stood with 10 local Police Chiefs and Senator McCain in calling on President Obama to immediately deploy 3,000 soldiers to secure our Arizona border. The President announced the deployment of only 1,200 three weeks ago and there is still no action. People from across America are calling and writing to offer their support and even want to come patrol remote areas of the our Pinal County. They want to stop the drug and human smugglers who threaten our safety. Though I appreciate their support and offer to take up arms and patrol, this would not be helpful and would only cause a strain on already strained resources and their safety needs to be a priority. I do not ask or encourage them to come here. Securing our international border and fighting these heavily armed smugglers is the responsibility of the federal government. Local law enforcement can’t handle this on our own, yet it will only complicate our concerns to have untrained and armed citizens, who are not from Pinal County – patrolling our desert areas. We currently have operations that are ongoing and advised to not take law enforcement matter into their own hands.
Untrained and armed citizens crawling around in camo could easily get killed accidentally by law enforcement as well as deliberately by smugglers. But the sheriff did decline politely. He knows things are spinning out of control in the war zone formerly known as Arizona desert.