Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is being blasted in liberal precincts for some less-than-precise rhetorical formulations about the increasingly dangerous crime situation on the border between her state and Mexico.
Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, for example, mocks Brewer at some length for repeating a claim that has recently been circulating in the immigration debate concerning headless bodies being found in the Arizona desert:
"Jan Brewer has lost her head.
"The Arizona governor, seemingly determined to repel every last tourist dollar from her pariah state, has sounded a new alarm about border violence. 'Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded,' she announced on local television.
"Ay, caramba! Those dark-skinned foreigners are now severing the heads of fair-haired Americans? Maybe they're also scalping them or shrinking them or putting them on a spike," Milbank writes, giggling no doubt with each keystroke.
Then comes the lines you knew you would encounter before you finished reading Milbank's lead:
"But those in fear of losing parts north of the neckline can relax. There's not a follicle of evidence to support Brewer's claim."
And to toss the last shovelful of dirt on the grave in which Milbank hopes to have buried Brewer's credibility, he adds that "the Arizona Guardian Web site checked with medical examiners in Arizona's border counties and the coroners said they had never seen an immigration-related beheading. I called and e-mailed Brewer's press office requesting documentation of decapitation; no reply."
You can read the balance of Milbank's routine here.
Now, perhaps Milbank and others similarly situated in the immigration debate ought to think twice before continuing their belly laughs.
A friend on the Hill read Milbank's piece and pronounced it "utter BS," then produced a copy of a July 8, 2010, letter to Brewer from Arizona rancher J. David Lowell describing a recent incident involving one of his ranch hands:
"In January 2010, Congressman Rob Bishop visited our ranch here in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. During that visit, I related to him an incident that occurred on June 27, 2008, in one of our pastures west of the ranch house.
"On that day, one of our ranch hands was working horseback and discovered a human head near a trail believed to be used by drug and alien smugglers.
"Although the head was missing the lower jaw, it was immediately apparent that much of the mass and flesh of the head was still present. The cowboy searched the area in hopes of finding the remainder of the body to no avail.
"The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office was notified and they took possession of the head on that same date. We suspect that the head may have been placed along side the trail as a warning to other drug and alien traffickers using the trail."
A spokesman for Rep. Bishop told me they had confirmed the details of the incident described by Lowell.
Curious, I contacted Lowell and asked him if he was willing to talk to Milbank. Here's what Lowell said:
"I would be happy to talk to Dana Milbank and, in fact, I would like to invite him to a picnic. We could walk a mile or so up Peck Canyon from the Atascosa Ranch headquarters past where the body was found, which is being autopsied to the place where five (or more) innocent Mexicans (who claim they had broken only a few Federal laws) were fired on about two weeks ago by gentlemen in black camo shooting AK 47’s, he said.
Lowell added that "there’s been one other shooting incident seven days ago in about the same place. We will supply the weenies and potato salad but Dana will have to walk about 200 yards ahead."
So, Mr. Milbank, I hope you will take him up on that picnic and the stroll. But if I were you, I'd wear a flak jacket because the druggies with the AKs couldn't care less that you're such a smart guy.
UPDATE: Maybe if the critics read Spanish
Fausta Wertz reads Mexican newspapers regularly and says stories about decapitations are commonplace in the border towns south of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. She also has a few other choice words for folks like Dana Milbank, which you can read here.