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If no wall, what then?

Dear editor:

My two letters of Jan. 15 and 23 asked for objective proof that appropriate and sufficient border walls are ineffective in stopping illegal immigration across our or anyone's border. Since they have gone objectively unanswered, I feel as if I proved my point and I'm on a roll.

Therefore, I wish to address the Democrat's stated counter position on how to secure the border. I will use an analogy to prove my point as to why their offer would be ineffective.

When the door to your home is unlocked (the equivalent of a border without a wall), does a surveillance camera and motion detector inside your house do any good to keep out an intruder? By the time you discover they've gone inside, they're already in your home and it's too late. If the intruder knew that even if caught by the police essentially nothing would be done to them, they wouldn't care that you had surveillance. They would take their chances at not being caught. That's the equivalent of what the Democrats want to do to secure the border. These measures would only be effective to catch the few "intruders" who somehow manage to get past the wall, not the tens of thousands pouring over our southern border annually.

As I've stated in my first letter, one can have a vigorous discussion concerning whether illegal immigration or unrestrained immigration across our southern border is right or wrong, moral or immoral. But that's not the purpose of this letter. This third letter is specifically to make a case for the ineffectiveness of security measures that only are capable of apprehending those who have already entered illegally into the United States. Once inside the United States they are just about impossible to remove.

As Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Jack Sternberg, M.D.

Hot Springs

Walls deny our history

Dear editor:

Seems a mea culpa -- Latin for "Oops!" -- is in order. Who knew our prodigal practitioner could issue a challenge and then dictate rules of engagement for any who dared? My last ramble apparently strayed far afield from doctor's orders.

Oops! No. 2 -- my last letter left the impression that China's "Great Wall" was something of a success. It was not. Like Sam Cooke's song, don't know much about history. Especially 16th- century Ming Dynasty history. It is a wonderful world, but I've got to admit -- don't know much about Chinese history during any century.

Then I read Michael Schuman's article "China Built a Big, Beautiful Wall, Too. It failed." Everything I thought I knew about that wall was wrong. So wrong it reminded me of an unscripted television moment in 2008. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough was attempting to defend the indefensible, reciting all the usual excuses for yet another assault on besieged Gaza. Israel calls it "mowing the lawn" -- a genteel euphemism for its periodic butchery of a trapped people with nowhere to run.

Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski was a guest on Joe's show that day. When finally allowed to respond, Brzezinski was brutal. "You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you."

Reading Schuman's article (in Bloomberg.com) it was obvious I, too, had a "stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on" in 16th-century China. Schuman's conclusion is a sobering, cautionary tale for our own times.

"The ultimate lesson of the Great Wall of China is that a physical barrier, no matter how expensive and impressive, will fail if detached from a broader set of policies to alleviate the sources of insecurity along the border. The Ming never figured that out. Hopefully, Washington's mandarins will."

Still part of that dwindling minority fired up for Trump's big, beautiful wall that Mexico will pay for (when hell freezes over)? Ask yourself what it is about this particular border in the year 2019 of the Common Era that preserves it for all eternity. Why not the borders of 1845 or those that may exist a thousand years from now?

Trump's "Great Wall" is an exercise in arrogance, a billboard for bigotry. "On this side we are exceptional Americans. On that side, you are not exceptional -- stay away." Walls deny our own sordid history. For centuries we have meddled where we did not belong and we have stolen what is not ours. Like it or not, Americans play a part in much of today's human misery.

We who have much have a duty to repair what we can, to apologize and pay for what we cannot, and to learn to see our neighbors as equal to ourselves regardless of color or creed or which side of a border we find ourselves on.

This is what we should be talking about.

John Ragland

Hot Springs

Editorial on 02/06/2019

Print Headline: Wednesday's Letters to the Editor

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