Terror On The Border
Monday, June 28, 2010
By all accounts, Arizona rancher and NRA Life
member Robert Krentz was a great guy-the kind of guy you'd like to
have as a friend and neighbor.
A quiet, humble man, Krentz lived his dream along the Grand
Canyon State's southern border, raising kids and ranching on the
land that had been in his family for more than a century.
"He was always kind and he was always fair," said Krentz's son
Frank, who is also an NRA Life member. "It didn't matter what time
of night it was, if you called him and said that you needed five
gallons of gas or a tire, or to come help on a well. We drove in
the middle of one night to pick up our neighbors. Their truck broke
down 400 miles north of where we were. He and I loaded up and drove
all night to pick them up, and he didn't even hesitate about
anything like that.
"He always seemed to think about other people first."
"Rob and I had three children," said Susan Krentz, Robert's wife
of 32 years, "and we felt that living on a ranch provided
opportunities to make the boys and our daughter the very stable,
hard-working people they are. We just enjoyed living there [on the
ranch]. I mean that's what Rob and I knew. We thought we were the
luckiest people in the world because we enjoyed going to work."
All that ended on the morning of March 27, 2010.
Krentz, who was 58, was working on the ranch just like nearly
every other day of his adult life when he apparently saw something
out of order that took him off the beaten path. He was ambushed and
murdered by unknown criminals who had crossed over from Mexico and
fled back across the border. An American family man shot down on
his own property--yet another victim of violence on a border now
left inadequately protected by the federal government.
"To his neighbors and friends, Robert Krentz was known as a kind
and gentle soul you could count on to help you in a time of need,"
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told members gathered
at the recent NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Charlotte, N.C.
"And if he happened to find an immigrant suffering in the
relentless heat, Robert Krentz was the kind of man who'd give him
the water or food he needed, whether he was trespassing or not.
"Robert Krentz was not a man to harbor malice for anyone. He
just wanted to feel his family could be safe in their own home and
on their own land.
"Robert Krentz was one of the good guys."
The Border Is Secure?
"I say this again as someone who has walked that border,"
Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano recently told Congress.
"I've ridden that border. I've flown it. I've driven it. I know
that border, I think, as well as anyone, and I will tell you it is
as secure now as it has ever been."
Napolitano's statement is nothing less than a flat-out
lie--something we've come to expect from Obama administration
officials concerning any number of issues over the past year and a
The truth is, our nation's southern border is far from secure.
Ask anybody who lives there about the changes over the past several
years. In fact, just ask the Krentz family.
"Actually, it was pretty peaceful until I would say the early
1990s, when we started seeing an influx in the people," Susan
Krentz said. "Then in the late '90s, it just got to be more and
more damage, more fences being cut, the numbers of people started
increasing. In fact, in the late 2000s, in eight days officials
removed 500 people from the ranch.
"Gradually, they got to be more and more belligerent, and they
are very sophisticated and very well-organized. They have better
communication systems than we do," said Susan Krentz.
Such was the situation on the border on March 27, when Robert
Krentz needlessly lost his life, changing his family forever.
"People had warned that something like this was going to
happen," said Robert's other son, Andy Krentz, another NRA Life
member in a family of longtime Association supporters. "It could
have been anybody here along the border instead of us--it just
happened to be us."
Andy Krentz is quick to point out that because he was recovering
from recent surgeries, his father was incapable of escaping the
attack against him, sealing his doom.
"He had back surgery, he had his right hip replaced, he was
incapable of escaping if someone was going to harm him," Andy said.
"I mean, if he could have got close enough to the person he might
have got away, because he was strong in his upper body. But from a
distance he was unable to evade an attack because he was pretty
"He was recovering, he was doing pretty well, but he wasn't spry
by any means. It takes a certain amount of dexterity and
flexibility to move out of the way of somebody laying fire on you.
I'm not saying that anybody could have gotten away, but he
definitely did not have the opportunity to try."
While some politicians like Napolitano, who have visited the
border country and truly understand the situation there, simply lie
about conditions there to push their political agendas, many others
truly don't understand the nature of the country along our southern
border. This leads to apathy by many politicians and American
citizens--kind of an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude.
"They don't understand the vastness of the border," said Andy
Krentz. "It's very hard to describe. You know, you can't see it,
and it just goes seemingly forever. It's not a dirt road that you
can drive on, there are mountains, in places it's impossible to
travel unless you're on foot. A human can traverse it, but a
mechanical vehicle cannot.
"Take a mile of space, with trees and rocks, that you can't
actually cover or see," he continued, "a lot of people can move
through that area. That's the biggest thing--people just don't
understand what the border is. And they don't understand the
dangers that it poses, either. It's a desert. It's hot, it's dry,
and there's not very much water unless you know where to find
The Root Of The Problem
NRA's Wayne LaPierre sees the intense violence problems on the
border today as part of a widespread systemic failure of
"Wherever you look, from Washington, D.C., to statehouses from
New York to California, in city halls and courtrooms across this
country, the people we entrust to make the laws, enforce the laws,
preserve our freedoms and protect this country are abandoning us
and abdicating their sworn and sacred duties," LaPierre recently
told members at the Annual Meetings.
"It's closing in on us from two directions--from our border to
the south, and from cities in every corner of this country."
It all stems, LaPierre says, from abuse of power by those in the
"It's caused by two dishonest and deadly abuses of power by
those who wield it: Selective enforcement and prosecution of the
criminal laws against the bad guys, and selective recognition and
protection of the freedoms of the good guys," he said. "The
political elites want to pick and choose which laws they enforce or
ignore, who they prosecute or exempt from the law, whose rights
they defend and whose rights they deny. In so doing, they directly
endanger you, me and everyone in this country."
"Right now in Mexico, several global drug cartels are waging war
for control of that trade," LaPierre said. "You've seen the
horrible carnage in the news--torture, beheadings, victims plunged
into vats of fuming acid. It's like some insane nightmare of how
war would be waged in hell.
"But that nightmare is moving north like a knife into our
unprotected underbelly. Mile by mile, these drug-cartel killers are
bringing murder, kidnapping, torture and terror across our border,
and leaving a bloody trail of bodies from Texas to California."
Indeed, heavily armed, dangerous drug runners cross over the
border and through residents' property as if there were no border
at all. In fact, drug couriers have long used the Krentz ranch as a
crossing point. Andy Krentz remembers the first time he learned
about a shipment of drugs being scattered across the Krentz ranch
by drug runners who were being pursued by the Border Patrol. He was
only 6 years old.
"From the time I was 6 to now, we are still dealing with
narcotics coming across," he said. "I would say once or twice a
year these guys find something out there, at a minimum. And if
you're finding it one time a year, how much are you not finding, or
how much are they letting through? It has not stopped. It has not
even slowed down."
Fix It Or Forget It?
As members of the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association, the
Krentzes are strong supporters of that organization's 18-point
Restore Our Border Security Plan to make the border a safe place
for families to live and work.
"The U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona has become a lawless
region," the plan's introduction states. "Criminals, bandits and an
international organized crime unit are operating with impunity in
the region. Their trades are burglary, home invasion, drug
smuggling, human smuggling, murder, extortion and kidnapping
rackets. These organized crime units have been terrorizing northern
Mexico for 20 years and have been terrorizing southern Arizona for
at least 10 years. These entities are extremely violent and
dangerous and they have now succeeded in creating terror in
southern Arizona as they have in northern Mexico."
The plan lays out 18 action items for the federal government to
address in order to restore the Arizona border to a peaceful place
for ranchers to work and raise their families.
"I understand that some of the people that do cross the border
are looking for a better life," said Susan Krentz. "But the other
countries who force their people out do not want to be responsible
to them to create economic opportunity, create an infrastructure
where people can survive and create jobs, because people don't
really want to leave their homeland.
"We have a good plan that not only protects the citizens of the
United States, but also the border crossers, because the people
that are coming across are being exploited and sold into slavery
and attacked. You know, they have to pay anywhere from $1,500 to
$2,500 to these people who are smuggling them across. And if they
don't pay, women are raped, men are beaten and killed."
Unfortunately, the Cattle Growers' plan has fallen on deaf ears.
Federal authorities instead simply declared the border to be
"secure," and continue to treat ranchers in the area like crybabies
worrying over a minor distraction rather than the endangered
species they have become.
Consequently, in an attempt to protect its residents, Arizona
passed its own immigration law, mirroring existing federal law,
which is not currently being enforced. The Krentzes and the Arizona
Cattle Growers' Association neither supported nor opposed that
legislation, instead sticking with their action items in the
Restore Our Border Security Plan.
However, the resulting national debate over the Arizona
immigration bill, much of it directly caused through outright lies
by President Barack Obama and his administration, have turned the
lives and livelihood of the Krentzes and other ranchers on the
border country into even more of a political football to be kicked
back and forth, with nothing being done to fix the deadly
"None of this ever should have happened!" LaPierre said. "If the
political elites had done their jobs, they would have secured the
border. They would have prosecuted illegal alien drug gangs and
"If they had done their jobs, they would have prevented ranchers
from being murdered, and Hispanic victims from being kidnapped and
The Gun-Ban Connection
While immigration is not an issue on which the National Rifle
Association has ever taken a stand, the issue's link to gun control
"Immigration might not be our issue," LaPierre said. "But the
crisis on our southern border is a perfect illustration of the same
dishonesty and corruption that have infected the gun debate for
decades. And the consequences of the ruling class refusing to do
anything to contain that crisis ultimately endanger your Right to
Keep and Bear Arms.
"You know exactly where it leads. Whether it's laws against
armed, violent crime, illegal immigration or anything else, the
consequences of selective enforcement are always exactly the
same--bad guys get a pass, and good guys like you get it in the
LaPierre pointed out that when violent crime explodes as a
result of the government's refusal to enforce the law, those same
politicians always attack your Second Amendment right to protect
yourself. An excellent example is Mexico President Felipe
Calderon's recent call to the U.S. Congress to reinstate a ban on
semi-automatic rifles--including the same "ranch rifles" carried by
many while working their ranches on our southern border.
"That's morally wrong, it's destructive to society and it's got
to stop now!" LaPierre said.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The Krentzes don't know what the future holds. But they do know
that things need to change quickly for them to be able to return to
ranching along an unprotected border largely ignored by Washington
"We are going to continue to ranch, and we are going to continue
to survive," said Susan Krentz. "That's it. We don't have a
"But will it be easy? No. Will it be challenging? Yes. Will we
have to be more vigilant and careful instead of where before we
always just kind of had an idea that they would never hurt us?
With many politicians largely making a campaign issue out of the
endangered lives of border residents, Andy Krentz believes that
perhaps it is the American people who can prompt the necessary
"You know, ultimately, maybe it needs to be a didactic shift in
the thinking of the American populace," he said. "People need to
say, 'Wait a minute. You know, I own a home with a yard, and
basically what they [politicians] are saying is somebody could be
in my yard and I walk out and say get off my yard, or ask if they
need help, and they shoot me.' That is the same thing, and that
could happen right here in Charlotte."
That's why the NRA is taking a very strong stand over
Association members being murdered and terrorized on their own
property because Washington politicians won't work to protect
"Instead of securing the borders and protecting law-abiding
American families, politicians in Washington did nothing, as if
they wanted to play some sick game of hateful manipulation to
polarize the country, prejudice the vote and poison the political
system--just so they can protect their jobs," LaPierre concluded.
"The consequence of that corruption and contempt for the rule of
law is this: While terrorized residents throw their deadbolts, draw
their blinds and pray not to have their homes invaded or their kids
kidnapped in Arizona, in Washington, D.C., the ruling elite bask in
the safety of their 24-hour security and scream with outrage at
Arizona's law--all because they insist upon playing political games
with our lives!
"Ladies and gentlemen, it's contemptible, it's life-threatening
and it has got to stop!"