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National Park Service Ranger Kris Eggle: In memoriam, 10 years later

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 9, 2012 10:01 AM

Longtime readers know I’ve dedicated much of my work over the last two decades to our broken borders and reckless bipartisan sabotage of immigration enforcement. Decades before Fast and Furious, there were dozens of law enforcement and federal officers who sacrificed their lives in defense of our sovereignty. Just like Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, these brave men and women received scant attention in the mainstream press. But their heroism and their dedication have not, and will not, ever be forgotten.

They must not be forgotten.

Ten years ago today, National Park Service Ranger Kris Eggle gave his life for his country. As his family noted on the Kris Eggle memorial website: “In the wake of 9/11, Kris protected his country by intercepting thousands of pounds of illegal drugs, many weapons, and hundreds of illegal lawbreakers from foreign countries, and by guarding a 31-mile stretch of our nation’s southern boundary. Kris Eggle was shot and killed in the line of duty at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on August 9, 2002, while pursuing members of a drug cartel hit squad who fled into the United States after committing a string of murders in Mexico. He was 28 years old. As a fellow Organ Pipe ranger commented, ‘Kris died serving his country and his death has great value and meaning. But the life of Kris Eggle, even more than his death, continues to set the standard.’”

Eggle’s hometown newspaper, the Cadillac (Mich.) News has a 10-year anniversary piece on Eggle. Read the whole interview with Kris’s mom, dad, and sister here. An excerpt:

CN: After Kris’s death, you became outspoken border control advocates to make sure your son’s death was not in vain. Do you think it made a difference?

Bob: We have political friends that are trying to create border security, but we were not able to be successful. It has stagnated to where nothing has been changed or done. So it’s become political without any meaningful progress.

Bonnie: I think there has been progress made in the awareness of the problem. We touched a few lives along the way in this battle for the safety and well-being of our country. People say you can’t make a difference. Some people say it’s not really that bad, like Janet Napolitano, who said it’s better than it has ever been. But they are fudging numbers and not counting all the arrests. Kris’s death has affected us and our community so deeply. We have an army of people fighting with us on these battles, speaking to Congress and before subcommittees.

Bob: Polls show that a strong majority of Americans want the borders controlled, so we feel we are part of that awareness factor that has grown and been built after Kris.

In memory and tribute to NPS Ranger Kris Eggle, I am reprinting my August 2002 column about his amazing life and outrageous murder.

To every dedicated border security agent, NPS ranger, and immigration enforcement activist out there committed to upholding Article IV, Section IV of the Constitution, please know that you have our eternal gratitude and you are making a difference.

***

August 16, 2002
Bloodshed at the border: Not “Headline News”
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2012

On Aug. 12, CNN aired a “breaking” news conference to update viewers on a matter it considered of global importance: the medical condition of Jason Priestly-a washed-up, 32-year-old former TV idol who sustained moderate injuries during a Kentucky auto race over the weekend.

On Aug. 12, more than 700 mourners from across the country gathered to mark the tragic murder of Kris Eggle-a 28-year-old National Park Service ranger who was gunned down near the U.S.-Mexico border last week. Not a single national network or cable news station mentioned the memorial service or the outrageous circumstances of Eggle’s death.

Several Border Patrol veterans and immigration officers e-mailed me with the same frustrated plea: Where’s the media? Why does a Hollywood has-been’s car crash deserve endless headline news reports, while a young man’s sacrifice in defense of our borders earns zero national TV coverage?

It is because even after September 11, even after all the newfound appreciation for cops and firefighters and other law enforcement officers, we remain a culture crippled by celebrity worship. Old habits die hard. While Priestly’s father and doctors get prime-time air to praise the actor’s “courage,” none of Eggle’s family members or colleagues has been invited on Larry King or Peter Jennings’ newscasts to tell of the slain ranger’s undaunted heroism.

The park where Eggle had been stationed for two years, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona, is considered the most dangerous national park system in the nation, according to a national survey conducted by the Fraternal Order of Police. It is a magnet for illegal aliens and Mexican smugglers; some 200,000 illegal border-crossers and 700,000 pounds of drugs were intercepted at the park last year.

Nonetheless, Eggle embraced his job. He was always cheerful, his co-workers said. A “model citizen.”

A “quintessential American boy-turned-ranger.” He baked chocolate chip cookies for fellow rangers and entertained them with songs while on duty. Eggle’s father, Robert, said: “Kris was where he wanted to be, and he did what he wanted to do.” A native of Cadillac, Mich., where he grew up on his family’s 130-year-old farm, Eggle was an Eagle Scout, a high school valedictorian, a devout Baptist, and a champion cross-country runner for the University of Michigan. Former co-workers called the fleet-footed Eggle the “Coyote” in honor of his running prowess.

On Aug. 9, Eggle’s speed and dedication may have cost him his life. He and three U.S. Border Patrol officers responded after Mexican police reported that two armed fugitives had fled across the border into the U.S. A border patrol helicopter gave chase and directed Eggle and the other officers to where three suspects had ditched their vehicle. The American officers pursued the fugitives on foot as they ran into nearby bushes. One of the Mexican nationals was caught; in the attempt to apprehend the other two, Eggle was ambushed and shot by one of the suspects with an AK-47.

The gunfire hit Eggle below his bullet-proof vest. He died at the scene before an emergency helicopter arrived. At the memorial service in tiny Ajo, Ariz., this week, Eggle’s casket was draped with an American flag– and topped with the Stetson hat he wore on the job. He will be buried in his hometown in Cadillac, Mich., following funeral services this Saturday.

Eggle’s murder is not an isolated incident. Several wild shootouts in the southwest have occurred since April. Our borders remain out of control-open channels not only for illegal aliens and drug smugglers, but terrorists, too. Invaders are so brazen, say Border Patrol agents, that they’ve cleared their own roads through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Calls for increased border patrol resources, park ranger staffing, and military help have been ignored in Washington. The Bush administration remains far more concerned with appeasing Mexican President Vicente Fox than with protecting American men and women at the border.

But I digress from the real news. Back to you, CNN and everybody else, for the latest on Jason Priestly’s broken toes.

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