Monday, January 19, 2009

Bush Finally Gives a Little Justice to Border Patrol Agents

Two Border Patrol agents became front page stories in 2005 after they shot a Mexican drug runner. This drug runner complained to Mexican authorities about how he was treated (how dare the US not allow this illegal smuggle drugs into our country) and the next thing you know Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean were serving eleven year and twelve year terms respectively.

The conservative movement was up and arms. How could two law enforcement officers be put in jail for carrying out their duties? For years we have all been frustrated by impotent agents who watch illegals cross the border and do virtually nothing to stop it. Considering what these two men went through, do you blame them?

What they went through was nothing short of horrific. Ramos and Compean were treated like the most hardened criminals in the system. Like those individuals who continually perpetuate murders and other crimes once in prison, these former agents were placed in solitary confinement and were let out only one hour a day for exercise. Why such harsh treatment? Because if these former law enforcement officials were part of the general population they would be walking around with targets on their backs. Such harsh treatment was the only way they could protect them.

According to psychologists, this form of isolation is among the ugliest forms of punishment individuals can face. People are social animals by design and to be unable to communicate with others only leads to mental health issues over time. For two years these men lived under such harsh circumstances.

Finally, Ramos and Compean are having their sentences commuted and I join millions of Americans who are glad to see this happen. However, I am also wondering how it took so long to happen. Furthermore, instead of commutation, I join the vast majority who have an opinion on these convictions that believe they should have never have been found guilty in the first place. They should have been pardoned. A commutation will still allow these convictions to haunt them with a prison record and they will never be able to serve in law enforcement again.

I'm glad that these two men who had the courage to do what we have wanted our agents to do for quite some time and that they are finally getting their freedom back. It would be great if they could get their reputations fully restored as well.
Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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Blogger The Intellectual Redneck said...

If you shot a drug smuggler in the butt, where I live, you wouldn't get a prison sentence. One of your relatives would take you to a Cracker Barrel for a celebratory meal.
The Intellectual Redneck

8:02 PM  

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