Late last week, new guidelines and policies about when Border Patrol Agents can use lethal force were released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington D.C. In a directive issued by U.S. Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher, with the subject line "use of safe tactics and techniques," agents have been ordered not to shoot at fleeing vehicles and have been urged not to put themselves in situations that require deadly force to survive.
In the directive, Fisher acknowledges that since 2010, Border Patrol Agents have been assaulted by illegal immigrants and criminal aliens with rocks 1,713 times since 2010. Deadly force was used only 43 times, resulting in the death of 10 illegals engaging violently with agents. In response, the Mexican government and open border groups have demanded Border Patrol reassess their use of deadly force, arguing rock throwing, a potentially deadly tactic used to distract agents during drug smuggling runs, should not be met with lethal force. What is most alarming is Fisher's urging of supervisors and agents to use less than deadly methods to combat assault, setting up agents on the ground for failure as they try to comply with a bureaucratic process during fast moving and dangerous situations. [Emphasis below is mine]
In order to lessen the likelihood of deadly force situations and reduce the risk of injury or death to agents and others, I am implementing the following directive effective immediately, which clarifies existing guidelines contained in the CBP Use of Force Policy:
(1) In accordance with CBP's current Use of Force policy, agents shall not discharge their firearms at a moving vehicle unless the agent has a reasonable belief, based on the totality of the circumstances that deadly force is being used against an agent or another person present; such deadly force may include a moving vehicle aimed at agents or others present, but would not include a moving vehicle merely fleeing from agents. Further, agents should not place themselves in the path of a moving vehicle or use their body to block a vehicle's path.
(2) Agents should continue, whenever possible, to avoid placing themselves in positions where they have no alternative to using deadly force. Agents shall not discharges firearms in response to thrown or hurled projectiles unless the agent has a reasonable belief, based on the totality of the circumstances, to include the size and nature of the projectiles, that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious injury. Agents should obtain a tactical advantage in these situations, such as seeking cover or distancing themselves from the immediate area of danger.
Supervisors are instructed to address this directive at musters, to include using alternative methodologies, such as setting up controlled tire deflation devices, acquiring additional back-up, utilizing technology and less-than-lethal equipment, taking appropriate cover, and recognizing when to engage or subsequently disengage.
When Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed on December 15, 2010 in Arizona's Peck Canyon, it was revealed that his highly specialized and trained BORTAC team came under AK-47 fire from illegal drug smugglers from Mexico after agents fired bean bag warning shots. They fired bean bag shots in order to comply with Homeland Security policy and received live ammunition fire in return. Those bean bag shots, or what Fisher would call "utilizing technology and less-than-lethal equipment," got Terry killed and will only set up agents in the future for the same fate.
"I cannot stress enough how important it is to physically and mentally prepare yourselves, so that when dangerous situations arise, you increase your chances of survivability while limiting unnecessary risk to others. It is anticipated that these initial steps will help reduce the likelihood of assault against our agents," Fisher wrote.
These new guideline "clarifications" won't result in a reduction in assaults against agents, but instead will do the opposite by increasing them.
The National Border Patrol Council, an organization representing 17,000 Border Patrol agents is pushing back against new regulations and overbearing policies that put agents in further danger.
Restricting agents in their use of force, whether it is against rock or vehicular assaults, will only result in more criminals attacking Border Patrol agents. Criminals will know if agents are prohibited from using deadly force against rock or vehicle assaults, they will quickly employ those means against agents. This is evidenced by the Border Patrol’s previous pursuit policy that was overly restrictive. The vast majority of smugglers would fail to yield and evade agents, since they were well aware of the policy’s restrictions and that there were little to no consequences for fleeing.
The Border Patrol, due to its strategy of putting pressure on smugglers and illegal aliens at the border fence, has contributed to the situation where criminals are emboldened to launch rock assaults from Mexico or just inside the U.S. Tactically this leaves agents little recourse as they are often caught unprotected in the open or between fences when assaults occur. Assaults would decrease if agents were allowed to make arrests away from the border fence, in areas of their choosing that are more tactically sound and with other agents for back-up.
No Border Patrol agent goes to the field wanting to be involved in a deadly force situation. Agents are trained to protect themselves and be aware of their surroundings. No agent would intentionally put himself in front of a speeding vehicle or within range of rock throwing criminals so that they could use deadly force. Assertions to the contrary belittle the training, integrity, and professionalism of Border Patrol agents. These assaults happen for one reason only: criminals make a conscious decision to attack Border Patrol agents. Stop the assaults on agents and the use of deadly force would be unnecessary.
In an interview taped for C-SPAN's "Newsmakers," Brady said Ryan is a "terrific leader" but made clear that he won't give up the Ways and Means gavel without a fight.
"Bottom line, I feel like I'm qualified and prepared to lead the committee, and at the right time I'm going to make that case to my colleagues," Brady said. "I think we have a strong case to make."
But Brady, who also called Ryan "a terrific friend," emphasized that the internal campaigning will be respectful.
Brady said "the time is not quite right" to begin campaigning for the position, and he would not specify how much longer he'll wait. But, he pointed out that with Camp's recent release of the committee's tax reform proposal – one three years in the making – both he and Ryan are currently consumed with promoting Camp's plan.
Republicans would get a loyal member of the party no matter who ends up with the position, and while Rep. Brady is technically "next in line," Rep. Ryan might have the reputation and cache with Republicans to get the position.
On Tuesday, Jon Stewart attempted to "slay" arguments regarding food stamp fraud on The Daily Show. In the video, Stewart spoke about the supposed hypocrisy of conservatives criticizing food stamp usage using a collection of Fox News videos.
When taken at face value, the comments may actually seem quite hypocritical. However, Stewart misses the real point: some items that can be purchased with SNAP ("food stamps") completely lack nutritional value, or are "luxury" foods like lobsters, steak, and organic salmon that don't really present an economically-friendly meal choice for someone who has trouble paying for food without government assistance. Also, Stewart didn't mention the fact that "food stamps" are actually referred to now as SNAP funds--SNAP being an acronym that stands for "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program." The program is not intended nor designed to cover an entire food budget.
Taxpayers should be upset that their well-intentioned dollars to prevent the poor from starvation are able to be spent on unhealthy food. That's the real controversy.
Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio may be among the top contenders for the GOP's next presidential ticket, but today conservatives got a new Dream Team in Sarah Palin and Dr. Seuss.
Taking a page out of Sen. Ted Cruz's play book, former Governor Palin used a beloved children's author to take President Obama to task on his failed policies during her keynote speech for this years Conservative Political Action Conference. Here was the line that first had the crowd roaring:
"I do not like this Uncle Sam, I do not like his health care plan."
Then she just kept them coming:
"I do not like when Congress steals, I do not like their crony deals."
"I do not like this spyin' man, I do not like, 'Oh, yes we can.'"
"I do not like this kind of 'hope,' and we won’t take it nope, nope, nope."
Not all of her speech relied on witty couplets, however. For instance, Palin put the rhymes away and looked the audience straight in the eye when discussing the need for a powerful national defense.
“It’s like a liberal on gun control. Mr. President, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke, is a good guy with a nuke.”
To the crowd's delight, Palin also took an opportunity to acknowledge she predicted years ago that Russia would begin to try and expand its influence in the world by invading Ukraine:
"I’m probably being too hard on the president…after all, who could’ve seen this coming?
She ended her speech as she always does - with a bright look at our country's future. And of course she couldn't help throwing in a jab or two.
"This is a great awakening. The age of Obama is almost over. The end of an error."
There aren't many people who can rile up a crowd like Sarah Palin. Her electrifying collaboration with Dr. Seuss was a fitting finale to an already inspiring conference.
In honor of your bold nursery rhymes Governor Palin, I’ve produced one of my own:
Some critics may say she’s “going rogue,”
But she proved conservative principles are still in vogue.
She’s a Mama Grizzly who’s nobody’s fool,
And she just took the president back to school.
Judging by the crowds at Sen. Rand Paul’s speech yesterday -- along with the fact that 46 percent of respondents were between the ages of 18 and 25 -- it was a foregone conclusion the junior senator from Kentucky would win CPAC's annual presidential straw poll, right?
Sen. Rand Paul demolished his competition in the 2014 Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll on Saturday, winning 31 percent of the vote -- nearly three times the total of second-place Sen. Ted Cruz.
Mr. Cruz's 11 percent was still a big improvement for the freshman senator, who won just 4 percent in last year's straw poll. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson was third with 9 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was fourth with 8 percent in results that signal growing discontent with the GOP establishment in Washington.
Respondents hailed from all 50 states, and only attendees who registered for the conference were allowed to participate. The polls opened at 7:00 AM on Thursday, and closed at 1:30 PM on Saturday. According to the pollsters, 2,459 total votes were cast. This is the second year in a row Mr. Paul has won the award.
Here's the statement his office released after the findings were made public:
“I am grateful to all the attendees who stood with me. The fight for liberty continues, and we must continue to stand up and say: We’re free and no one, no matter how well-intentioned, will take our freedoms from us. Together we will stand up for the Constitution. Together we will fight for what is right. Thank you and onwards to victory."
Meanwhile, the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) also conducted a survey of its own. Ted Cruz won that straw poll by a decisive margin:
The Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) released the results of its 2016 presidential straw poll today. SCF conducted an online poll for its members who could not attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC today.
The top three vote winners were U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) with 42%, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) with 17%, and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) with 10%. Over 41,000 ballots were cast nationwide.
"The results of the SCF presidential straw poll are unique because they reflect the views of a large group of conservatives across the country," said SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins. "Our poll shows that Ted Cruz is currently the conservative favorite for president in 2016."
I suspect attendees of the conference would beg to differ.
He walked on stage to a sea of ‘Carson 2016’ signs. Then he got to business.
“America is a land of dreams,” Carson declared, before insisting this freedom is under attack by the bullies of political correctness.
“People are afraid to speak up for what they believe.”
The conservative doctor knows a thing or two about political correctness, as he himself has been lambasted for defending conservative principles such as traditional marriage and private health care. He refused to let these attacks stop his pursuit of the First Amendment.
“I will continue to defy the PC police. They try to shut me up. I find them pretty amusing. I still believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Last year, the media charged Carson with comparing gay marriage to bestiality. He said anyone who believes that is a “dummy” and he corrected their inaccurate assumption.
“Of course gay people deserve the same rights as everyone else, but they don’t get extra rights.”
The media published more unfair headlines when Carson declared Obamacare is “the worst thing since slavery.” In their analysis, the doctor had directly compared the two.
Carson likened these demonizing tactics to those found in community organizer Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. But, the doctor said conservatives need to “stop being intimidated” by these old, familiar strategies.
“It’s time for people to stand up and proclaim what they believe and stop being bullied.”
He offered a few specific solutions, including that of the nation’s health care system:
“Fight to make sure health care stays in their hands and not in the hands of the government.”
Carson didn’t say whether he’s joining the presidential race in 2016, but his passionate and bold speech certainly gave those wearing “Run Ben Run” reasons to smile.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig wants criminals to know that they shouldn’t just be afraid of police anymore—they also need to worry about homeowners who are ready to use a firearm to protect themselves.
“A lot of Detroiters are fed up,” he said in a recent interview with WDIV-TV. “They’re tired and they’ve been dealing with this epidemic of violence. They’re afraid and they have a right to protect themselves.”
After all, when seconds count, police are only minutes away, right?
“If you are confronted with an immediate threat to your safety, you’re not going to have time to dial 911,” Craig said. “It becomes an issue of, the threat is here, I have to respond to the threat.”
However, Craig was careful to say that citizens must exercise common sense. In other words, there needs to be a true threat coming at you and you can’t chase someone down the street. But he wants would-be criminals to know that they need to worry about a few things. “They’ve got to worry about a police department that is going to aggressively find you when you commit an act of violence. And you got to also worry about the good Detroiters who are not going to put up with the violence.”
H/T: The Blaze (video)
Townhall's Christine Rousselle and Sarah Jean Seman loaded on the SWAG at CPAC 2014. Dozens of exhibitors, from the NRA to the Motion Picture Association of America, handed out koozies, hats, t-shirts, sunglasses and frisbees. Check out our official SWAG grading post for more details.
Three things in life are guaranteed: death, taxes, and incredible swag at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference held yearly in the DC area. At this year's CPAC, a lot of organizations really stepped up their game, providing some pretty sweet free merchandise to CPAC attendees. Here's some of my personal favorites:
If you'd like a soundtrack to accompany this post, press "play" and begin scrolling:
Pens, fliers, and stickers.
While these items are mostly fine at any other conference, CPAC is different. Stickers may be fine to cover a water bottle, but compared to other swag distributed, they're pretty weak.
Bracelets, bags, anything with a low chance of re-usability.
Bags: great for toting around CPAC swag and groceries, but how many of them do you really need? Bracelets and wristbands are an easy way to promote an org, but they're not really "in vogue" right now.
Pins, cups, and koozies.
There's nothing inherently "wrong" with pins, cups, and koozies, but they're a little "meh." Fun to collect, but they also just take up a lot of space.
Shirts, hats, sunglasses, and water bottles.
Shirts are denied an A grade due to weird availability of sizes. (Full disclosure: Townhall distributed shirts this year) Sunglasses are quite fun, but quality can be varied. If they're great, you're golden, but if they're crappy, they're useless. Water bottles are awkward to carry around, but they're dead useful post-CPAC.
Phone chargers, squirt guns, candy, and frisbees.
Squirt. Guns. Need I say anything else?
When Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was introduced at CPAC this afternoon, the main ballroom was so full of energetic attendees, some of whom wore “Stand with Rand!” t-shirts, one could hardly see the stage. The crowd was ebullient and on their feet as soon as he took the podium; even some members of the media gave him a standing ovation.
“Imagine with me for a moment a time when liberty is spread from coast to coast,” he began, after the applause died down. “Imagine a time when our great country is governed by the Constitution. Imagine a time when the White House is once again occupied by a friend of liberty. You may think I’m talking about electing Republicans -- I’m not. I’m talking about electing lovers of liberty.”
“We must elect men and women of principle, conviction, and action who will lead us back to greatness,” he added.
He then implicitly referenced Thomas Paine’s famous pamphlet, “The Crisis,” saying its publication, in his view, was an extraordinary act of courage by an extraordinary patriot.
“Will we be bold and proclaim our message with passion [like Paine], or will we be sunshine patriots retreating under adverse fire?” he asked.
William Lloyd Garrison, too, Paul proclaimed, was a fearless American leader conservatives must study and celebrate, an abolitionist who exemplified true moral courage.
“He rose above those politicians who would leave the country half free, and half slave,” he declared. “Will you, America’s next generation of liberty lovers, will you stand and be heard?”
This is when he addressed the National Security Agency's controversial data mining program.
“If you have a cell phone, you are under surveillance,” he said emphatically. “[And] I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.”
The crowd erupted in applause.
“The Fourth Amendment is very clear,” he continued. “[And] the Fourth Amendment is equally as important as the Second Amendment, and conservatives cannot forget this.”
And of course, like most CPAC speakers, Paul didn’t mince words when discussing the president of the United States.
“How will history remember Barack Obama?” he asked. “History will record his timid defense of liberty. [If] the executive branch can detain citizens without trial; if it can amend legislation; if it can declare to Congress that Congress is in recess; then government unrestrained by law becomes nothing short of tyranny.”
He also addressed the president directly.
“Mr. President, we won’t let you run roughshod over our rights," he said. "We will challenge you in the courts; we will battle you at the ballot box. Mr. President, we will not let you shred our Constitution.”
“You can’t have prosperity without freedom,” he said in conclusion. “The time is now: stand with me [and] let us stand together for liberty.”
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