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Like any long-running mainstream media meme, the Gunwalker scandal has its own theme song: Oops!… I Did It Again. The MSM are selling the ATF’s malfeasance as an enormous f up, wherein the same law enforcement agency that went a little overboard at Waco did something really, really stupid. Yes, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and really Big Fires) should have known better. Yes, someone must be held accountable for the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, shot by drug thugs armed with a weapon or weapons enabled by the ATF. But if you think about it, the Agency’s heart was in the right place. After all, the drug cartels are the REAL bad guys. As the South Africans say, ja nir . . .

By now it should be clear that Mexico’s drug cartels have taken over the country. They’ve murdered journalists, politicians, judges, businessmen, police, soldiers and each other, with impunity. Their control is so complete that they’ve set up roadblocks to extort blood money from anyone bold enough to believe they have the right to travel freely. The cartels have murdered so many people that they’ve resorted to dumping lifeless bodies into mass graves.

Every single day, there’s a fresh story of murder and mayhem. Today, it’s Eight Bodies Found in Mountains in Northern Mexico and Gunmen Kidnap 7 from Drug Rehab Center in Northern Mexico. Cartel-related casualties number in the tens of thousands. That’s to say nothing of the thousands of people physically and psychologically maimed by torture, or the millions of Mexican living in fear, denied their basic human rights. The Taliban have nothing on these guys.

So anything the ATF can do to stop the Mexican drug cartels from gaining access to deadly weapons is a good thing, right? Even if we have to give them weapons to stop giving them weapons, well, why not? Where do I begin? How about this: it’s too late. The Mexican drug cartels have all the guns they need, and then some.

The ATF purposely mislead Americans to believe that “90 percent of Mexican cartels’ guns come from Bob’s Gun Store.” That lie was exposed: 88 percent of guns confiscated by the Mexican authorities and successfully submitted for trace to the ATF came from America. (Not necessarily American gun dealers either, BTW). How many qualifiers can you stick in a stat to make it bark like a dog? More importantly, the total population of guns confiscated by the Mexicans was 30,000.

Now consider the fact that the Mexican police and military are thoroughly corrupt. There’s every reason to believe that these two entities have supplied the drug cartels with a majority of their box fresh military-grade weapons. Weapons that American and foreign small arms makers sold to the Mexican authorities legally. In fact, the Mexican police and military have no real reason to confiscate any weapons—other than creating a little security theater and transferring ownership from one cartel to another.

But let’s assume the confiscated guns are part of some legitimate law enforcement effort. What percentage of the cartels’ arsenal does 30,000 guns represent? Let’s be generous and call it 10 percent. That gives us an installed weapons base in the region of 300,000 firearms (not including grenades and grenade launchers). Remember: that’s a one-year total. What’s the bet the cartels have access to a million illegal guns?

The U.N. called this one: any new weapons brought into Mexico on the drug cartels’ behalf are simply new guns for old. They’re upgrading or topping-up. Which makes the ATF’s efforts to damn the “Iron River” of guns smuggled from America to Mexico—a river largely of their own creation—a pathetic joke. As Congressman Issa said at the beginning of his Gunwalker hearings, the ATF’s operations were inherently delusional. They could no more stop the drug cartels from tooling-up than a bug sprayer can eradicate cockroaches from the face of the earth.

Here’s an interesting angle: what should the ATF have done? Answer: arrested any Mexico-bound straw purchasers they came across. Other than that, nothing. Combatting Mexican drug cartels is not in their remit. It was none of their God damn business. Actually, if the ATF wanted to be really clever, they could have HELPED gun smugglers smuggle guns into Mexico. Mexican civilians need guns (and ammo) to defend themselves against the cartels’ rein of terror.

It’s hard for me to describe the full magnificence of the ATF’s hubris and institutional inanity. Suffice it to say, this is what happens when you give $1.5 billion dollars a year to a federal agency that has no real reason to live. They find one. Is it any surprise that they found the wrong one? Not to me it isn’t. But I am ready to be surprised. Because the ATF’s Gunwalker machinations have forced Congress to lift the rock on the vermin across our border. And our role in helping them thrive.

Did you know that Mexico is America’s second largest supplier of crude oil? We import over a million barrels of oil per day from our neighbor to the South. Also, a great deal of “our” manufacturing is now based in Mexico. I wonder if the U.S. could do anything to convince the Mexican government to allow their citizens their constitutional right to keep and bear arms, thus combatting Mexican drug cartels at the sharp end? I doubt it. But let’s see where this Gunwalker scandal takes us.

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  1. Well said. Probably the best summarization of the mess that I’ve seen, and I have been following this for quite a while. Also the first time I’ve seen anyone put it out there about how they are operating outside of their authorized area (which, in retrospect, should have been the first question asked).

  2. Kind of curious….as much as I like my AR, why would a cartel pay US retail for AR patterns when full auto AK (and cheaper surplus ammo) is probably significantly cheaper and probably easier for them to smuggle in? Surely some enterprising arms dealer can find a harbor on Mexico’s vast coastline to unload shiploads full of eastern-block surplus….

    That question has always made this whole thing smell fishy.

    • With the possible exception of Los Zetas (former military command structure), the cartels are about as efficiently organized as you’d expect for a Mexican criminal conspiracy. Some of the favored few get fancy full autos with grenade launchers, some members further down the food chain take what they can get. Given that the worst of the violence is internecine, I reckon membership has its privileges. Right until a rival cartel cuts off your foot, strips you naked and hangs you from an overpass.

      I’m sure there is no one source. And the mix of suppliers must change according to the immutable laws of supply and demand. As I mentioned above, there’s probably a gun glut at the moment. Which would, as you point out, drive down demand for ARs bought at Bob’s Gun Store.

      Which reminds me: I’d like to know EXACTLY how these Gunwalkers purchases went down. Where did the ATF-enabled smugglers get the money to buy these weapons? Did the ATF pay them to buy them? And who got the money from the sales?

      And here’s a curve ball: some of the recipients of the Gunwalked guns may have been civilians looking for self-protection. Imagine that.

  3. Put my [tin foil] thinking hat on the other day. Made me wonder whether there is a domestic equivalent of gunwalker going on somewhere. Just where did those juvenile gang bangers at Brighton Beach get their hardware?

  4. RF said
    “Mexican civilians need guns (and ammo) to defend themselves against the cartels’ rein of terror.”

    RF I agree 100 %, the law abiding Mexican citizen needs arms to defend themselves, their casa, and their city, and then take back their nation.

    I have actually been thinking the last couple of day of writing an essay about how all law, in modern terms, both in reality and in practice, all law is made at the point of a gun. I plan to use the examples of Pol Pot, Mexican and Soviet Russian Constitution “Constitution” that give it citizen all sorts of rights. The reality was the state had the “guns” and got to decide how it was implemented. Example the Soviet Russian Constitution of 1936 Constitution article 136 says the following
    a. freedom of speech;
    b. freedom of the press;
    c. freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings;
    d. Freedom of street processions and demonstrations.
    We all know that was a lie. If the citizen has no means to force their Government to “do the right thing” This is what can happen! Once again thanks for hosting this great website

  5. Not specifically firearms related – but pertinent to US dealings with Mexico:

    In Alaska many folks are getting upset that the US will buy oil from places like Mexico. Especially in light of their president meddling with US freedoms by trying to get the “assault weapons” ban reinstated. Yet, the federal government meddles in AK lands forbidding the drilling for oil when all Alaskans (native and non – intentionally excluding our tree hugger immigrants) want the economic freedom to use our natural resources .

    There’s a reason that many AKers are no longer talking about the “lower 48” but are referring to it as the “US”.


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