Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bitter Rivalry and Hate

In 1857, Manhattan was patrolled by competing police departments: the Municipals and the Metropolitans. According to a contemporary, their rivalry was relatively mild, at first:

Notwithstanding this duality of city guardians, there were no more murders, robberies and assaults, than usual. All this time war was progressing, although no overt act was committed, the arms used as yet being only the tongue of bitter rivalry and hate.
Soon enough, though, things escalated:
Friction soon developed between the rival police forces. On June 14, 1857, The New-York Times reported that members of the Metropolitan Police Force had arrested a man for disorderly conduct on East 9th Street, but that he had been immediately seized by a member of the Municipal Police Force. A group of the Metropolitans promptly “remonstrated” with the Municipal, and soon regained custody of the miscreant, in the process arresting the Municipal and another city officer who had attempted to come to his assistance.
Now that you've read that, read this:
The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and a spinoff group of disaffected Minuteman members plan separate monthlong deployments along the border, beginning Friday and Saturday, respectively.

The Minuteman group said it will have members on patrol along the Mexican border in Arizona, California and Texas, and also plans to post members along the Canadian border in Washington state....

Meanwhile, the Patriots' Border Alliance, created after disagreements this spring led to the expulsion of several original Minuteman Civil Defense Corps members and officers, is to stage its inaugural 30-day border watch operation starting Saturday in the Palominas area, south of Sierra Vista and west of Naco.
Click here if you wish to trace the complex genealogy of these squabbling superpatriots. You should also note the alleged problems between citizen's groups and federal agents.
Volunteers who have converged on the Mexican border to watch for illegal immigrants are disrupting U.S. Border Patrol (search) operations by unwittingly tripping sensors that alert agents to possible intruders, an agency spokesman complained Monday.
This is why the border must be guarded by machines. You'll never hear Raytheon's Active Denial System 2 compare System 1 to male genitalia, or call it "a swine who lives in a cat box," even though System 2 is clearly superior when it comes to dealing with harsh border conditions:
System 2 was built for 125 degrees Fahrenheit with sun loading, and for rain. System 1 – you can’t let it rain a whole bunch. We’re not watertight. As soon as it starts raining, we pull it into the garage. System 2 has been tested for rain and tested for dust.
While I suspect that ADS sentries could be taken out with a few bullets, or even a well-aimed brick, the idea of an invisible line that can't be crossed appeals to the poetic side of our nature. Mayors who oppose the building of a border fence may want to consider deploying ADS to keep defense contractors (and their horde of undocumented laborers) from approaching the proposed worksite:
Mayors along the Texas-Mexico border have begun a quiet protest of the federal government's plans to build a fence along the border: They are refusing to give access to their land.

Mayors in Brownsville, Del Rio and El Paso have denied access to some parts of their city property, turning away federal employees assigned to begin surveys or conduct other preliminary work on the fence meant to keep out illegal immigrants.

"This is exercising our rights. This is our property. We are not going to make it easy for them," said Brownsville Mayor Pat Ahumada, who refused last month to sign documents granting government workers permission to enter city property.
Perhaps the Minutemen - and their bickering splinter groups - should undertake a new campaign to keep the borders' borders open.

(Image at top via Urbanography.)

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