People who live in Chicago, Washington, D.C., or San Francisco inner cities lock their doors at night. They are careful where they travel within the city. They all have friends who have been mugged, had homes burglarized, cars stolen or lives taken. They travel the city in crowds like schools of fish.

Their safety, like all prey, is in numbers; the odds that someone else will be eaten instead of them. In rural communities, small towns, and isolated ranch houses, we do not think of ourselves as prey.

During the election, candidate Obama made a very telling comment about “bitter, small towns, clinging to their guns and religion.” He is from the big city prey mentality. He comes from a place that believes that if we take guns away from ordinary citizens, they will somehow be safer. His comment was interpreted as a slam against small-town America, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt. He simply doesn’t have any way to relate to those who believe each person is responsible to take care of himself.

The Mexican border, once a cultural bridge, is now a war zone inhabited by killers, smugglers, and drug dealers as bad as any town in Afghanistan. Rural people who live along this poisonous border live with the daily possibility of death and destruction. Thousands of Mexicans have been killed in the drug wars already. The situation, which has been worsening, culminated last month with the murder of a rancher by a suspected drug smuggler on his way back to Mexico.

He lived in my county along the border. He was known to the neighbors and many Mexican illegals as a generous man. His ranch has been well-traveled by illegals for years. His luck ran out. All of us, his neighbors, are saddened but reminded of just how fragile normal life has become where many have put down their roots.


If the president thinks the community is bitter, he just might be right. They are on the front lines in a war to supply recreational drug users their daily toke or weekly snort. The smugglers are doing quite well. I hear of no shortages from celebrities and potheads. And, in truth, I would guess most ranchers are ambivalent about dope smokers and drug users. Unfortunately they are trying to ranch on the battlefield where the self-righteous, self-centered stoners, snorters, smokers, shooters and suppliers are fighting The Law.

“… bitter, small towns, clinging to guns and religion.”

You can see in this Arizona rural community why we cling to our guns. We don’t have police cars patrolling our neighborhoods. The nearest neighbor could be ten or twelve miles away and the criminals pass like ghosts in the night. We use our guns because we are not prey; we take responsibility for our own lives and livelihood. The president’s unfortunate denigration of religion as a source of strength is something he probably wishes he could take back. His past church membership speaks for his faith. Suffice it to say when we turn to God for help it is because He has proven to be more reliable than the stream of politicians’ promises that continue to pour over us like dirty water sluicing down the drain.

And nobody seems to have a clue. PD

By Baxter Black