A False Sense of Security

I’m sure my trip to New Mexico and Arizona would have been more enjoyable if I hadn’t run into the Border Patrol so often. Let me say right away, the officers I interacted with couldn’t have been more polite or more pleasant. Being an old white guy wearing a Nature Conservancy hat, I was never challenged. Despite that, I didn’t like the idea of being stopped and being checked two or three different times.

I was about 20 miles away from the Mexican border when I encountered this checkpoint.

Border Patrol Check Point

I actually stopped on my way to Pancho Villa State Parked and asked if I was passing the border and if I needed a passport to get back in because I wasn’t carrying mine. They joked and told me I might enjoy spending the rest of my life in Mexico. I didn’t have any problem getting past the stop on the way back, except for waiting for the truck in front of me to clear.

Still, I felt slightly offended when the German Shepherd sniffed out my car and just a little intimidated by the 20 or so well-armed officers standing at the post. If I hadn’t been so intimidated I would have taken a shot of the actual guards. Even the 9 mm Glock in my glove compartment couldn’t make me feel completely secure at that point.

It wasn’t just the checkpoints. I must have spotted 20 border patrol cars between central New Mexico and Eastern Arizona. They were parked beside the highway looking South. When I drove by this depot, it reminded me of American army outposts in Vietnam:

Border Patrol Depot

I was also amazed by the number of cars stopped by the Arizona state patrol. I began to wonder if I’d suddenly crossed into a Police State.

Do all these patrolmen make the people of New Mexico and Arizona feel more or less secure?

Unfortunately, I know how I felt.