It was just one skirmish, but it plainly exposed Congress' and President Obama's dereliction of duty in failing to seal our southern border against a direct threat to the peace and security of our nation: drug smugglers.
Last Friday afternoon, Pinal County, Ariz., Deputy Sheriff Louie Puroll was patrolling a patch of desert when he picked up the trail of five smugglers bringing marijuana north from Mexico.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Brabeu later explained what happened to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News.
"This is a known corridor for smuggling not only drugs but illegals," Brabeu said. "And so he radioed back to dispatch to call for support, and he continued to track the direction because he's highly skilled in this as a search-and-rescue deputy."
The smugglers figured out what Puroll was doing.
"And so they left a rear guard behind and took cover and concealment as our deputy approached," Brabeu told Van Susteren. "This last suspect, who was armed with an AK-47, popped up and started shooting at our deputy, who was in uniform. They clearly knew he was a law officer." The gun battle lasted 10 minutes.
Puroll emptied his pistol, then started shooting his rifle. He was hit, receiving a minor wound to his side. The sheriff's department dispatched a helicopter to the scene, and 200 law enforcement officers were eventually deployed to surround and search the area. Local authorities caught 17 illegal aliens in the vicinity, Brabeu said, and the Border Patrol caught another 100. So far, none has been charged with shooting Deputy Puroll.
You might suspect Pinal County is smack on the southern border. It is not. It is about 140 miles by interstate freeway north of Mexico. It is deep into the sovereign territory of the United States. Yet it is on the front lines of America's drug war, because it sits astride a wide-open corridor through which our derelict federal government allows smugglers to routinely bring massive amounts of illegal drugs into the interior of our country.
It is no exaggeration to call this war a war. It is a conflict in which many people have been killed or wounded -- even though our government is hardly fighting back.
Consider these facts from the recently released U.S. Justice Department National Drug Threat Assessment for 2010:
-- Almost one in five U.S. teenagers used illegal drugs in the past year.