Local History, Speeding and Lawbreakers

The other day as I was heading out of the town where I live, a small town known for its speed traps, I saw the city cop parked behind a tree a quarter-mile from the city limit where the speed limit drops to 45 miles per hour. As I topped the hill heading out of town I flashed my lights at the cars heading his way. Nine miles later as I headed into another small town, with a similar setup, someone flashed their lights at me to warn me that the cop was at that edge of town that day. It’s illegal to speed. It’s also customary, so much so that I’d call it traditional, even conservative, to flash your lights to warn of a speedtrap.

Ten miles to my west is the city of Neosho, Missouri. At one point during the Civil War, Neosho was the Confederate capital of Missouri. The state legislature met at Neosho and passed an ordinance of secession on October 30, 1861, which was signed into law by Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson on October 31. Five miles to my east is the town of Newtonia, site of the Battles of Newtonia, which were fought on land owned by Newton County Court Judge Ritchey, a Unionist. (See where this is heading yet?) The second battle occurred October 28, 1864.

Had the Civil War ended on October 27, 1864, the border between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America would be within a few miles of my house. It might well have been between my house and my current place of employment, 25 miles to the northwest. Had that happened and the United States prohibited Confederates from crossing its southern border to find work…well, I’d have been flashing my headlights at fellow “outlaws” to let them know the location of the city cop AND the Border Patrol.

Opponents of real immigration reform, those who think a fence is sufficient and prudent, have created the straw man that supporters of real immigration reform support criminality. They repeat over and over the fairly obvious fact that illegal immigrants arrived by breaking the law. The implication is that supporting immigration is like supporting the violation of serious laws like the prohibition on murder. How many of those same folks arrive at their job by speeding and even, as I did, flash their headlights to assist their fellow “criminals”? Crossing a border, an accidental construct of history, to find work and feed your family is a “crime” about on a par with speeding, a crime we take for granted and which even most law enforcement officers commit in their off duty time. So-called “amnesty” for current illegals, which would require payment of large fines and otherwise qualifying to remain in the US, is on a par with the common practice of police in stopping drivers only when they exceed the speed limit by five to seven miles per hour (so called “speeding tolerance”) or of courts allowing speeders to avoid points on their licenses by attending driving school.

I noted that borders are accidental constructs of history. That doesn’t mean they are useless. It would certainly be much easier to stop potential terrorists at the border than to try to catch them once they enter the country, to grab an obvious and timely example and an example used by those who oppose real immigration reform. So what is the best way to make sure that the person crossing the southern border is a Mexican looking for work and not a Saudi, Yemeni, Chechen, Palestinian or, for the sake of political correctness, Northern Irish terrorist? Well, the easiest way is to give those Mexicans an incentive to cross the border at a checkpoint and sign the guestbook (thanks Dennis Miller). Then we would know the guys running across the border in the night are killers and not just traffic offenders. What kind of incentive might work and cost little or nothing? How about a green card?

immigration,border fence,

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