Perhaps we aren’t trustworthy neighbors

Published 2:24 am Saturday, July 26, 2014

As a news junkie, if I had to pick a day to spend about five hours in the car listening primarily to CNN, Wednesday was about as good as it gets.

Anybody who has watched even a smidgen of national news this week knows that correspondents are breathlessly reporting from around the world.

First, there is the drama in Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are believed responsible for downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Is Russia’s Putin responsible or not? The question has been debated for hours.

Then, there was more turmoil in the Middle East. Flights to Israel were cancelled Wednesday after an explosion near the airport in Tel Aviv, but former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, in a show of support for the “world’s safest airport,” flew there anyway.

As far as anyone listening to the news could tell, his sole purpose in going there was to do long interviews in which the interviewers were far more interested in whether or not the former mayor might run for president (No, he said) than in anything he might say about airport security.

And then, there was debate over what 1,000 National Guardsmen dispatched by Texas Gov. Rick Perry could actually do to protect the border. At least 57,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the U.S. –Mexico border in the past nine months.

The announcement drew cheers from some, who imagined 1,000 troops with guns keeping “illegals” from crossing. That visual is not what the governor wants, since he is likely to make another bid for the White House in 2016.

Instead, Perry says he sent the guard members to stop criminal activity the border patrol normally addresses, but can’t because they are too busy “babysitting” the minors.

In truth, all the National Guard troops can do is “refer” suspected criminal activity to the Texas Department of Safety.

It is costing Texans $12 million per month, but if indeed Perry does seek the GOP nomination again, he’ll likely be able to say that he’s the only one who did something to stop the influx, regardless of whether this is successful.

One columnist suggested this week that the influx of young people was less criminal than likened until someone jumping from a burning building into the arms of a trusted neighbor. Most of us cannot even imagine circumstances so bad that we would send our children, alone, to a foreign country.

But the responses of many Alabamians to the idea that some of these now-homeless, parentless children might be housed in different facilities in Alabama, make me think we are not neighbors to be trusted.