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They Policed Paradise and Put Up An AeroStat

Radar blimps, helicopters, drones, cameras, & patrols – Trump’s Wall’s Been Built

Visual Vandalism

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They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
 
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot. ~~~ Big Yellow Taxi” (Joni Mitchell, 1970)

Sorry folks, but Trump’s so called “Border Wall” has been built already.

Paraphrasing Joni Mitchell, they didn’t pave paradise – they just built a police state to patrol it.

I’ve driven and hiked the US – Mexican Border region from Texas through southern Arizona and have been appalled by the pervasive border patrols, the roadside checkpoints – even radar blimps, cameras, helicopters, planes, drones – creating an overwhelming police state presence.

This morning was the last straw. True story, you can’t make this stuff up. Bear with me:

Last night, it dipped into the 20’s – a cold night provides incentives to get up and out early. But at 7 am it’s still dark, so I worry about conflicts between the dog and coyotes and other predators, so wait until sunrise.

As the sun rises, we set out on the usual morning hike – from 2-4 miles -and are thrilled with the canyon grasslands and forest landscape:

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We get back and make coffee. As I’m sitting enjoying a hot cup of coffee, basking in the warm sun on my face, I think of the word “mindfulness”.

At exactly that moment, a harsh noise breaks the silence: a police radio. Moments later, a border patrol SUV rolls up.

Fuck that shit. The bastard must have been watching me from the woods.

He’s the 10th border patrol SUV that’s rolled by my remote location in the last 2 days.

I wasn’t there an hour, before I was confronted by and questioned by a border patrol agent.

But it’s not just constant border patrol SUV’s rolling across the landscape.

Take a look at how an “aerostat” blimp poisons the landscape:

aerostat hovers over the Huachuca Mountains in Sierra Vista Arizona, north of the border

aerostat hovers over the Huachuca Mountains in Sierra Vista Arizona, north of the border

DHS radar and cameras in Coronado National Forest, visible from and just west of Coronado National Memorial

DHS radar and cameras in Coronado National Forest, visible from and just west of Coronado National Memorial

DHS rada/camera tower despoils Montezema's Pass at Coronado National Memorial. How do they get away with this?

DHS radar/camera tower despoils Montezema’s Pass. How do they get away with this vandalism?

A National Park Service display at Coronado Memorial highlights the fact that existing low tech fences seriously impede wildlife migration.

US - Mexico border fence runs through the San Pedro Valley - view from Coronado National Monument (look through poor air quality to see the straight line)

US – Mexico border fence runs through the San Pedro Valley – view from Coronado National Monument (look through poor air quality to see the straight line)

And this high tech police state surveillance wall is not limited to the US Mexico border

I saw a border patrol agent on horseback last July in the Pasayten Wilderness area just south of the Canadian border in the northern Cascades in Washington State. What is border patrol doing in this landscape?:

Pasayten Wilderness, view from Hart's Pass, Northern Cascades, Washington State

Pasayten Wilderness, view from Hart’s Pass, Northern Cascades, Washington State

Ironically,in a rebuke to today’s DHS police state, today I hiked in the spectacular Coronado National Memorial,

US - Mexican Border runs through it - Looking west from Montezuma Pass, in Coronado Point in Coronado National Memorial (Az)

US – Mexican Border runs through it – Looking west from Montezuma Pass, in Coronado Point in Coronado National Memorial (Az)

The Memorial was established to:

commemorate Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s expedition and the cultural influences of Spanish colonial exploration in the America’s in the 1500’s.

It was a journey of conquest filled with exploration, wonder – and cruelty. Inspired by tales of vast cities of gold, 339 European soldiers and over 1000 Aztec allies embarked on an epic journey through arid deserts and rugged mountains. They encountered rich traditions and brought new technologies. The resulting collision and combination of cultures reverberates today. Read More

Sierra Madre mountains, Mexico, on let. US Pantagonia mountains straight ahead. No wall necessary.

Sierra Madre mountains, Mexico, on left – “we don’t need no stinkin” badges!”. US Pantagonia mountains straight ahead. No Trump wall necessary.

Yet the massive border patrol police state in some locations is belied by a total surrender of the border in other locations.

On New Year’s eve, I camped on the Rio Grande river on the border in Lajitas Texas, just north west of Big Bend National Park. Look:

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As I sat there, on the Mexican side, a pickup truck rolled up and a Mexican family of about 10 folks jumped out and began a party – loud folk music and lots of laughter.

Moments later, on the US side, a car rolled up and a man and two women got out, luggage in tow.

Simultaneously, the Mexican family carried a small row boat from the back of their pick up truck, rowed across the river, and took the 3 folks across the border in two trips.

Border patrol was nowhere in sight – I guess the golf resorts at Lajitas need maids, cooks and maintenance men.

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