Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean turned themselves in today to begin serving their 11 and 12 year prison sentences, respectively. They received those sentences for shooting an illegal alien drug smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, in the butt while they were pursuing him. Aldrete-Davila was hit one time, but not so severely that he could not get himself into a getaway car and escape.
Ramos and Compean were immigration officers patrolling our southern border. Ramos was once nominated for border patrol agent of the year. These guys made a couple of mistakes during their altercation with Aldrete-Davila; they pursued him without first getting authorization from their superiors. This was against policy. Compean also picked up shell casings ejected from his pistol after firing at Aldrete-Davila, which turned out to be the offense of destroying a crime scene. They did not report that they had discharged their weapons, also against policy; although it was well known that a scuffle took place and that shots were fired. The officers omitted the fact, not to hide anything, but overlooked it because it was clear that supervisors were well aware of the incident.
Typically, these offenses would bring these men a five day suspension, or some other equally innocuous punishment. So how did a five day suspension become an 11 and 12 year prison sentence?
For starters, Congress hang on, I need to vomit
Sorry I get queasy anytime I think about that distinguished body , which pays each member 165K a year, has a killer, paid for by us, health care program, and a retirement program which pays fully vested members 80% of their salary after serving a whole five years.
So, Congress, in one of its, Roll up our sleeves and get to work moods, decides to create a law making any crime where a firearm is involved require a mandatory ten year sentence for the perpetrator. Why assault, burglary, or robbery, deserve less punishment when a knife or pipe wrench is used is beyond me, but it might be because the law has nothing to do with preventing crime, only to attack the prevalence and existence of firearm possession among law abiding citizens. (You’ll find this is a reoccurring theme with me.)
Anytime Congress pledges to help the American people by making new law, you can be sure there will be negative and unexpected consequences. These people are not trained to anticipate or forestall injustice, they are trained and motivated to ride the political tides which can keep them in office for at least five years. (Don’t want to miss out on that good pension plan!) 165K is way too much money to pay these public servants. Service to our country is not supposed to be a lucrative career path; it is suppose to be a place where people go to serve the American people. I would hope these jobs would be filled by wise men and women who have worked in our American capitalist system, experienced and learned its sublime idiosyncrasies, and wish to protect these for all Americans.
So Ramos and Compean get these lengthy prison terms because a firearm was used in the crime. Judge Kathleen Cardone’s hands were tied and these sentences were mandatory. Even though three jurors, who cried while the verdicts were read, have come forward to complain they were pressured to render the guilty verdict; Judge Cardone still can find no compelling reason to let these men stay out of prison until their appeals are completed. I would note: Involuntary manslaughter carries an average sentence of two or three years.
As for Aldrete-Davila, our favorite drug dealer. He was tracked down by U.S prosecutors, given full immunity to testify against Ramos and Compean, has subsequently tried to smuggle 1000 pounds of marijuana into the country again, and is currently suing the U.S. government for 5 million dollars for violating his civil rights. For five million big ones shoot me in the butt!
What do we make of this? This isn’t injustice, this is a message, and the message is, Do not stop illegal aliens from crossing the border under any circumstances.
I am the most conservative person I know, but watching this miscarriage of justice and the Bush administration’s seeming unwillingness to address the case, I can’t help but think, maybe I should have voted for John Kerry yccchhh!
Copyright 2007 Jim Pontillo