Life in the field for Border Patrol Agents is often lonely work, as police officers most agents patrol alone in their vehicles as they travel remote territory off the beaten path. Agent Brian Terry was different; he served as a Marine in the Middle East during wartime, loved law enforcement and was selected for the elite BORTAC (the SWAT of the) U.S. Border Patrol.
Arguably, Terry had a lot of experience under his three-year Border Patrol belt. He knew combat. He knew how to stay alive. Yet it would be a fateful night in the December desert that took his life – not a terrorist in a warzone, but a cartel smuggler/bandit in Arizona.
The 40-year old agent was planning his new life out, marriage, and perhaps one day a family of his own, but in the blink of an eye it was snatched from Terry. A week has passed since the assassination and few details are being released. No trigger man, no justice.
What there has been is plenty of Border Patrol management scrambling to cover the fact Agent Terry was armed with a weapon that shot bean bag rounds- something that was a contributing factor to his untimely murder.
Department of Homeland Security is busy covering their tracks, while Janet Napolitano, DHS secretary, levels inaccurate statements like; “the border has never been more secure and there is not an increase of drug trafficking across the border,” – and agents continue to patrol undermanned and under-armed.
Perhaps, Terry got Napolitano’s memo and decided the less lethal way to arm oneself was the best way since the coast was clear. That statement is not made in jest, someone handed out those memos and if anyone (Border Patrol Agents) on the job talks to media they will be fired.
Looking into the rearview mirror there are still no answers, waning press coverage and a funeral. And since the press isn’t getting any information from Washington D.C. or Tucson/Nogales sector stations, information must be leaked by those who are flat out angry and tired of the company line.
The following is testimony from those who are speaking out in frustration, all have Border Patrol experience and out of respect for their privacy- all will remain anonymous.
Up Front and seeing red…
“As a combat-trained Marine, Brian would very doubtfully have even considered non-lethal. He knew what the (BORTAC) team likely might be facing, as that was exactly the reason BORTAC was being used in the area. As we all know, the patrol has its own covert network for communications, as any law enforcement agency does. Word I am getting from agents is they were told what the bosses are saying, but to me, it seems few really believe it. They are fearful to say much as they know if they do and it is found out, they’ll be harassed right off the job by DHS management. That’s my two cents.”
A need to understand
Another retired agent wanted to interject some perspective on Terry’s murder and he hope the clarification would give outsiders a better idea of what may have happened.
“We are all saddened and angry concerning what we know or have heard concerning Agent Terry’s death. We can only imagine the level of cover-your-ass jockeying that is going on in CBP/DHS at all levels.
Consider the possibility that we will never know what really happened by the time all the pressure and structured debriefs take place. Perhaps, what we have heard to date is more accurate than what the official line may one day prove to be.
From what I am hearing, this is a massive screw up of epic and unprecedented proportions. So, please consider the following facts.
We in federal law enforcement work know from experience that Commissioner Alan Bersin’s office is a fertile source of denial, mis-and-disinformation, especially concerning the effects of wilderness along the border on B.P. operations.
Agent Terry’s death is related to wilderness on the border and we have been harping on the dangers to B.P. Agents operating in these proposed areas for years. Does anyone believe Secretary Napolitano’s assertion that the border is safer now than it has ever been?
Go to Google Earth and type in (Peck Well Santa Cruz County Arizona) this is the reported location of Terry’s shooting on December 14. It is in the center of the proposed Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Area planned by Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) in HR-3287. This area is accessed through the Pajarita Wilderness from Mexico and is contiguous wilderness or proposed wilderness for 24 miles north of the border.
While in Google Earth look up Toruno Tank Santa Cruz County Arizona; on some quads it is listed as Paja Verde Tank, this is the reported location of another B.P. Agent shooting on December 29, 2009. That agent has recovered and returned to duty.
Look between Peck Well and the end of the Coronado National Forest on the East Side in Peck Canyon and you will see terrain where at least one dead body, two wounded and several other non- injury shootings took place since April 2010. All this is reported only 8-12 miles north of the Mexican border.
Immediately West of Peck Well is the Bear Grass Tank area where game and fish officials were shot at and two archers were held up and stripped at gun point, the list goes on and on.
Now, ask yourself this question, “Who in their right mind would voluntarily take bean bag rounds into that environment unless pressured or directed to do so?”
And from another…
“I am a retired Border Patrol Agent. I was interviewed by TV news earlier this year about the Arizona border situation.
I wanted to send a message and tell you how upset I am about the news coverage regarding the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry. The 15 seconds of TV news coverage you are airing is concerning.
Agent Terry’s death is very typical of the liberal stance your station always takes. There was no helicopter coverage or on site reporters asking about what happened.
If this had been a Border Patrol Agent shooting a Mexican national, your station would have sent every resource available to cover the story of a poor migrant trying to get a better his life. Your station would have camped on the door step of the Border Patrol station in Nogales demanding to get answers as to what happened. Your station would have contacted the Mexican Consulate and would have provided assistance to them to find the truth.
I am so sick and tired of liberal stations running story after story about the “DREAM Act” and the negative impact of “SB 1070” on the poor criminal illegal aliens in Arizona.
I use the words criminal illegal aliens because listed below are just some of the crimes they commit every minute in this country.
They cross the border illegally violating Federal Law. We do nothing to them.
They enter into a conspiracy to pay a smuggler $1,500 to $2,000 to smuggle them across the border illegally, which is a felony. We do nothing to them; upon arrival at their destination, they buy counterfeit documents to get a job (social security card, legal resident alien card), thus committing identity theft. We do nothing to them; they use the counterfeit documents to receive welfare. We do nothing to them; they use the counterfeit documents at hospitals to give birth to their children for free. We do nothing to them; they use the counterfeit documents to get a driver’s license. We do nothing to them; they then enter into another felony to smuggle their spouse and 3.5 children into the United States. We do nothing to them.
If you remember, more than 60 percent of the people in Arizona supported SB1070 and want an end to the illegal alien crisis that has hit this State. Access to WIC, Medicare, free medical care, etc. etc. to criminal illegal aliens is ruining the State of Arizona. Why not do some research and find out how much money the State of Arizona provides to criminal illegal aliens every year?
Concerning the ‘DREAM Act; These people violated federal law when they crossed the border illegally when their parents brought them here. That was their parent’s choice, not mine. I owe these people nothing and I mean nothing.”
Back to the real world
Department of Homeland Security’s latest statement reads, “To secure and manage our borders, DHS has continued to deploy historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border, including Predator Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) coverage along the entire Southwest border for the first time—from the El Centro Sector in California to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas—and new agreements with international partners to increase information sharing and bolster cooperative efforts to crack down on transnational threats while facilitating travel and trade.”
Does Border Patrol Agent Terry’s family feel safer?
The violence along the U.S./Mexico border does not end in Santa Cruz County. The other Arizona counties deal with the violence on a daily basis, yet are met with DHS’s party line of “there’s no problem here, we have made things more secure than ever.”
Pinal County Sheriff and Border Sheriffs Honorary Co-Chair Paul Babeu said in a statement on Terry’s murder, “This tragic death underscores the dangers we all face in protecting the public and securing the border. Our prayers are with his family and our prayers are with his extended family at the Border Patrol.”
Cochise County Sheriff and Border Sheriffs Honorary Co-Chair Larry Dever said, “Agent Terry’s murder is a grim reminder of the risks involved in patrolling the southern border. Those of us who keep the peace in this part of the state have learned to live with this risk. Tragically, that risk has claimed the life of Agent Terry.”
The BorderSheriffs.com was formed to give law enforcement a voice on the issue of border security. The tragic death of Agent Terry reminds us of the human cost involved in protecting those who live near the southern border, something Arizona rancher, Robert Krentz found out when he was murdered by an illegal alien on his own property.
Looking to the future on immigration reform, border security must be the number one priority. The agents who bravely put on the green uniform and patrol alone deserve to have all the tools in the tool box when it comes to detection and protection. The nonlethal weapons may come in handy at Disneyland, but for those protecting our borders they deserve a chance to win and go home after work.
There is no doubt that an investigation is being conducted internally, but what really needs to happen are Congressional hearings, where management has to testify under oath and for the record.
May Agent Brian Terry rest in peace and may God protect all those who serve the country.
For NAFBPO’s Comprehensive Proposal for Immigration Enforcement & Reform Found at: http://www.nafbpo.org/editorial-cier.pdf
© Copyright 2010 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.