Last night, with Dana Perino filling in for Greta Van Susteren, Fox aired a genuinely creepy bit of fluff journalism from Griff Jenkins, heretofore best known for his Tea Party cheerleading schtick as well as his lame-ass ambush-journalism stunts.
This time, he decided to tackle a story about vigilante border watchers in Arizona with the same kind of cheerleading zeal:
GRIFF JENKINS, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Here along Arizona's southern border, outside of Douglas (ph), Arizona, one of the nation's most trafficked areas for illegal human and drug smuggling, one man, Lynn Kartchner, an Army veteran from Vietnam, a retired civil servant, keeps a watchful eye day and night, using only his resources. He's not a part of any militia or any affiliated group. He's not a part of the border patrol. He simply goes out with a few of his colleagues and tries to find illegal activity and report it to the authorities. So we traveled with only a camera to follow him on patrol to see what he could find.
Tell me, what do you do out here, and why are you doing this?
LYNN KARTCHNER, VOLUNTEER BORDER SECURITY: Well, there are a lot of gaps in the border patrol surveillance out here because they know they've driven most of the illegals, especially the drug smugglers, onto the ridgelines on both sides of the valley. And we're here to maintain surveillance over the bottom of the valley and to keep the people herded into those narrow corridors where they can -- where the border control can really concentrate on them.
We watch them parade around with night-vision scopes mounted atop .50-caliber rifles, watching for anyone their searchlight beam turns up. Of course, no one is caught using these tactics, so the report concludes:
JENKINS: It's a few hours from dawn now. Lynn realizes that his bright beam certainly gives away his location of surveillance. However, after spending several hours through the night surveilling things, even with the border patrol actually on operation not far from here, he's pretty sure that his light will serve as deterrent for any other foot or drug-smuggling trafficking in the area.
Lynn, we didn't see anything tonight. It'll be dawn soon. What do you make of it?
KARTCHNER: I think we've lit up and beat up the area enough here that we're not going to see anything else. So it's time to pack it up and go home. But we can say that at this place tonight, no criminal activity happened.
JENKINS: What's your message to the cartel guys on the other side of that border may be watching us?
KARTCHNER: Well, this is our country, and we're not giving it up, not without a fight.
Makes you wonder if this crew had anything to do with those shootings of border crossers earlier this year, in an area about a hundred miles west of where Jenkins shot this segment:
Tuesday, local Arizona news stations began reporting that a group of undocumented immigrants were shot at in an area of Parker Canyon located near Rio Rico Arizona on Friday. According to reports, a group of undocumented border crossers were shot at by two men wearing camouflage using high-powered rifles. One of the five immigrants was hit by a bullet in the forearm and treated at an area hospital for his wounds. The migrants also told authorities that they came across two dead bodies.
... While little is known about the attackers, Sheriff Antonio Estrada has stated that “[i]t’s perturbing to hear of people with high-powered rifles and camouflage. It raises some real red flags.” He also told KVOA that the shooters might have been U.S. citizens. “I hate to think that is what we’re looking at but we’re not going to dismiss any possibilities,” Estrada stated. “They may be individuals who may be hunting illegal border crossers. That’s really a big concern for us.”
Indeed, it's been ironic how Arizonans have gotten worked up over supposed border violence, particularly the Bob Kercher case, when in fact the chief suspect in that murder is believed to be a U.S. resident -- while ignoring the deaths of Lartinos on their border in increasingly mysterious circumstances. Especially in a state that's developing a real white-supremacist problem.
Makes you wonder, though, why Jenkins didn't bother to profile that other group of vigilante border watchers down in Arizona -- namely, J.T. Ready and his not-so-merry band of neo-Nazis. Guess they were a little harder to fluff.
But it's always worth remembering that we've already seen, with the case of Shawna Forde and her band of killer Minutemen, where this kind of vigilantism leads.