May 14, 2011
Oh the irony! On Tuesday while Barack Obama was in El Paso fanning the flames of anti-Republican rhetoric before a carefully selected crowd of adoring supporters, the ATF was setting off a blaze of its own in North Texas. According to the Plainview Herald, an ATF training exercise got out of control and started a fire in the drought ravaged panhandle.
Seemingly unaware of the drought in North Texas and the recent wildfires which have devastated the region, the ATF decided to conduct a training exercise for area law enforcement bomb squad officers. Shortly after the stockpile of explosives was detonated the “Fast and Furious” flames spread out of control and required nearly six hours and the efforts of five area volunteer fire departments to extinguish. The flames consumed approximately 150 acres of pasture land in the already hard-pressed region.
Motley County Attorney Tom Edwards said the explosions could be heard up to 28 miles away from the site and that an investigation is in progress. “We have the federal government that has just refused aid to the state of Texas for all our fire damage throughout the state, and then here comes federal agents who start another fire,” said an incredulous Edwards. The ATF could face charges for violating the county’s ban on burning during the current drought. The ATF agent in charge of the Lubbock office, Jim Luera has claimed full responsibility for the fire and the agency will reimburse landowners for their losses.
At a time when the ATF and Eric Holder’s DOJ are embroiled in controversy stemming from their “Gun Runner” and “Fast and Furious” campaigns which have increased the flow of firearms across the border into Mexico, it seems the height of incompetence to intentionally detonate explosives in a region which has already suffered from a series of devastating wildfires. What could the ATF possibly have been thinking?
Perhaps when the ATF conducts its next training exercise they should check with the White House to make sure that all necessary precautions are taken. I’m thinking if they were to build a moat around the site it could contain the damage and prevent the destruction of private property.