This past Tuesday morning two US Border agents were shot five miles from the US-Mexico border in Arizona. One agent, 30-year-old Nicholas Ivie, was killed while the other agent was wounded. As with any border incident, the quick conclusions suggested that the agents were shot from Mexican drug traffickers. Apparently, just three days after the incident occurred, a new story is emerging.
According to the Associated Press, there is not a possibility that the shootings were a result of friendly fire. The AP story reports the head of the Border Agents' union aid that friendly fire could be the cause of this:
George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing about 17,000 border agents, said Friday that he has learned new details that make him believe friendly fire could have played a part in the shooting.
"The only thing I can say is that the possibility of friendly fire is a higher likely scenario," McCubbin said, declining to elaborate on the new details.
The story also included two law enforcement sources who confirmed that the FBI is currently investigating a friendly fire scenario.
Now, the AP could have stopped the story right there, but at the end of the article, reporter Pete Yost had to make sure that the following was reported:
Ivie's death marked the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly 2010 firefight with Mexican bandits that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 and spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation.
We know that the Fast and Furious program is and was a mess and Terry's death was tragic. We also know that loss of life anywhere (whether it is the 26 Border Agents who have been killed since 2002, according to the AP, or the 50,000+ dead from the current "war on drugs" in Mexico) is still a growing problem. The militarization of the border speaks to a larger problem that is being seriously discussed. And you know why? Because instead of trying to explore the complexities of this problem, reporters like Yost chose to sensationalize and use the power of the AP to amplify. The use of "Mexican bandits" in this copy is troubling. Bandits? What is this, the 19th century? Bandits?