In “Guns Across the Border,” Mike Detty gives the inside story of having been a firearms dealer working at the request of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in what was supposed to be an undercover sting against Mexican drug cartels.  The resultant “gunwalking” scandal became a horrendous failure that undercover police officers will be warned against forevermore.  The program, like the guns themselves, “went south.” Some of those weapons were used to commit murder, including the death of a Border Patrolman named Brian Terry.  The government, all the way to Washington, didn’t handle the aftermath as ethically as I would like to have seen, either.  In four decades of working within the criminal justice system, I never saw cops publicly proclaiming against their chief law enforcement officer, the Attorney General of the United States, until this case.  But today I see cops who post on the internet over a “sig line” that says “Eric Holder lied, Brian Terry died.”  I know Mike Detty, and I trust him.  His insider account is “must reading” on this topic, whether you are a law enforcement officer or a concerned citizen.

Cornered Cat,” the classic blog  turned book, is now available as an audiobook in time for a Christmas download, on Audible.

While Cornered Cat is a great resource for defensively-oriented gun people of all genders and experience levels, its greatest strength is that it’s written by a woman, for women, and particularly valuable to entry level shooters.  Author Kathy Jackson is a friend and fellow instructor…she knows her stuff, and is a tremendous role model.

Independence Institute is, until New Year’s Eve, running a fabulous offer on Steve Halbrook’s bookssecuring civil rights web. Steve is one of the all-time great legal scholars of the Second Amendment, and was a major player in recent SCOTUS decisions in that regard. When he and I taught at a recent Texas Bar Association symposium, I managed to pick up an autographed copy of his “Securing Civil Rights: Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms.”  Very much on point to recent dialogues we’ve had here.  The Independence Institute package represents a great value on Christmas gift books for those in your life who are interested in all manner of civil rights issues.


  1. A necessary companion book to the one by Mike Detty is the one by John Dodson. He is the ATF agent that blew the whistle on this operation. Interviews I’ve heard with him as he does his book tour have honestly astounded me. His detailing of the collusion, incompetence and demonic role of the FBI, DEA, ATF and the White House in the murder of hundreds of Mexicans along with Brian Terry is ignored by the MSM. This is a very sad time for this nation.

  2. Long Island Mike:

    Well I work for Uncle Sam for 26 years, in Federal Law Enforcement, and as far as BATF goes, their M.O., since the 1970s (Collinsville Raids), has been to find, and find some poor guy, who they have some P.C. against as to Gun violations, then arrest him, and threaten to arrest his wife, and charge her too, and tell him that if he doesn’t cooperate, they will put his kids into Human Services custody, and seize his home, vehicles, bank accounts, and completely ruin his life, as he knows it, as well as his future too.

    This usually gets the guys attention, and he is forced to become a snitch for BATF, and to turn in anyone he knows, or that BATF tells him to, whether there is any P.C. against them, or whether they have actually committed any violations, just to try to get out from under all the bad things BATF has threatened the poor guy with.

    If the information the guy gives BATF results in the arrest of the next poor Citizen too, then the chain of twisting, and using the next person continues, and so on, and so forth, as long as BATF can keeps the chain of arrests, and twisting each one lasts.

    So the only way this will stop, is should the Government totally disband BATF, but I wouldn’t want to hold my breath untill that happens!

  3. I’d like to recommend “in the gravest extreme” by an author whose name escapes me right now. 😉 There’s excellent practical advice every gun owner needs, (some parts are obviously outdated, but easily researched) and although I live in Italy I found almost all of the advice in the book is applicable here too (apart from concealed carry, which is extremely hard to obtain).

    Merry Christmas Mas, and thank you for your advice!

  4. Paul Edwards,

    I too have worked around some BATF agents, and while most seem to be ok guy’s, some did come across as arrogant. I too, disagreed with the tactics they sometimes used to build a case. One thing that was alien to the police work I was used to was the fact that neither were arrests made nor were major investigations initiated until the attorneys in the Justice Dept. ok’ed the investigation and its results, and secured a warrant in D.C. for return to the local office.

    That is why the whole ” we were unaware of Fast and Furious” response that came from the Justice Dept. was so laughable to those who knew how their system operated. They have more people, both political appointees and career attorneys looking over their shoulders than any other law enforcement agency I know. It is also the most political law enforcement agency I know.

    The most likely scenario for “Fast and Furious” was Janet Napolitano’s desire to come up with a greater number of traceable weapons coming from the U.S. going to Mexico illegally, to bolster the lie already being told as to the source of the bulk of the drug cartel’s weapons.

    The press releases coming from her office at the time was “the majority of -traceable- guns confiscated from drug cartels came from straw buys in the U.S.”

    The media dutifully reported “the majority of guns (leaving out the traceable part) confiscated———–”

    The truth was, as she was well aware, that less than 10% of the guns confiscated in Mexico are traceable to anywhere. That leaves the majority of all confiscated guns coming from a non-American source. But what’s a little deception when your objective is dis-arming law abiding citizens in the U.S.

    “Fast and Furious” was all about ammunition to be used against the second amendment, and I give the field agents a pass on this one. It was initiated, implemented, and controlled by the Justice Dept. and Homeland Security political appointees.

    No way was this a “rogue operation” by local agents.

  5. Dennis

    Yeah, but along the way, they have done things like getting a warrant for one residence, but kicking in the door of the wrong house, and when the terrified innoct home owner tried to defend himself against what he thought was a mid-night home invansion, they shot and parlelized him, then charged him (I don’t for what), and terrorized his family, to sweep their mistake under the rug.

    The only firearm the home owner had, was a .36 cal cap and ball pistol (See Collinsvile Raids)

  6. Paul Edwards,

    Your going to have to refresh my memory. A quick internet search uncovered two “Collinsville Raids”. One in 1973 in Collinsville, Il., which was carried out as a series of drug raids, and one in Collinsville,Al. in 2007, which I suspect may be the one you are talking about. This raid was carried out by the BATF on suspected “Militia” members.

    Nothing I gleaned researching either incident spoke of anyone being shot.

    The first raid seemed to be the most controversial, at least in media attention, but didn’t mention the ATF being involved.

    ( interesting side note, Mas, this incident started out as a media frenzy condemning law enforcement officer conduct, resulting in several officers being indicted, and ended with the complete exoneration of the officers at trial, and a rebuke by the jury for the prosecution’s lack of a case against the officers, once their side of the story was told)

    Not a fan of the BATF, and agree we would be better off if they were disbanded, but I need more info and references to comment on the raid your talking about.

  7. It was the first one, wherein the BATF “Deputized” the local law enforcement, pumped them full of the great powers, and latitute of their ability to exercise that power, and then sent them out to conduct the Raids which went sour from the get go.

    The BATIF them dumped all the blame on the locals, for exceeding their authority, and limits of action, “Uder Color if Law”, of cource, and ducked and ran like help out of there as soon as posible.

    It’s been along time ago, but I believe the guy that was shot, and paralized, was named Ballew?

  8. Paul Edwards,

    Your right , it was a long time ago (1973, less than 9 months after the BATF was formed), but the news reports of the “Collinsville Raids” in Illinois mention only DEA agents. No BATF or local officers are mentioned.

    The raids were made to execute arrest warrants on suspects from whom drugs had been purchased by under-cover DEA agents.

    There was controversy arriving out of these raids, fueled by one-sided media reports, resulting in Federal Civil Rights charges being filed against the agents.

    These charges resulted in a trial in which the Jury found all agents not guilty after very short deliberations, and blasting the prosecution for the lack of evidence against the agents.

    I’m afraid your account may be the result of reading blogs where posters sometimes “flower-up” their post to reinforce their beliefs. If you have specific credible accounts that bolster your account, I will be glad to consider them.

  9. Dennis

    I looked and looked, but I couldn’t find the exact example that I cited for the Collinsville Raids, in 1972.

    So either I mis-remember, or the cite was from way back, and is no longer carried, or was found to be not valid?

    I did find this in the prologue of Agency of Fear:

    On the night of April 23, 1973, Herbert Joseph Giglotto, a hardworking boilermaker, and his wife, Louise, were sleeping soundly in their suburban house in Collinsville, Illinois. Suddenly, and without warning, armed men broke into their house and rushed up the stairs to the Giglottos’ bedroom. Giglotto later recalled, “I got out of bed; I took about three steps, looked down the hall and I [saw] men running up the hall dressed like hippies with pistols, yelling and screeching. I turned to my wife. ‘God, honey, we’re dead.’ ” The night intruders threw Giglotto down on his bed and tied his hands behind his back. Holding a loaded gun at his head, one of the men pointed to his wife and asked, “Who is that bitch lying there?” Giglotto begged the raiders, “Before you shoot her, before you do anything, check my identification, because I know you’re in the wrong place.” The men refused to allow the terrified couple to move from the bed or put on any clothes while they proceeded to search the residence. As books were swept from shelves and clothes were ripped from hangers, one man said, “You’re going to die unless you tell us where the stuff is.” Then the intrusion ended as suddenly as it began when the leader of the raiders concluded, “We made a mistake.”

    The night raiders who terrorized the Giglottos that April night were members of a new federal organization called the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE) On the same evening in Collinsville, another group of raiders from ODALE kicked in the door of the home of Donald and Virginia Askew, on the north side of town. Virginia Askew, who was then crippled from a back injury, fainted as the men rushed into the frame house. While she lay on the floor, agents kept her husband, Donald, an operator of a local gas station, from going to her aid. Another agent kept their sixteen-year-old son, Michael, from telephoning for help by pointing a rifle at him. After the house was searched, the agents admitted they had made another mistake and disappeared. (Virginia Askew the next day was rushed to a mental hospital for emergency psychiatric therapy.)

    In another demonstration, that Easter week, of their extraordinary powers, a dozen agents of the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement broke into a farmhouse on Cemetery Road in Edwardsville, Illinois, and imprisoned one of the occupants of the house, John Meiners, a salesman for the General Electric Company, for seventy-seven hours. “I was asleep about three A.M.,” Meiners said, “when the agents rushed in and pushed me against the wall.” A pistol was held to his head, and, in Meiners’ words, “they began to ransack the house.” Walls were smashed and windows were broken, and stereo equipment, a shotgun, golf clubs, and a camera were confiscated by the agents. Meiners was then forcibly taken to police headquarters and questioned for more than three days without being told of the crime he was alleged to have committed or being allowed to telephone a lawyer or anyone else. Finally, the General Electric salesman was released without a charge ever being filed against him.

    None of the ODALE agents who broke into these homes carried the required search warrants, nor did they legally have any authority to enter forceably any of these homes to effect an arrest. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States guarantees “The fight of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and that “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” The warrantless raid, by the ODALE agents were subsequently characterized as “extra-legal” by Myles J. Ambrose, director of that office, and the agents were suspended. In an interview in U.S. News & World Report in 1972, prior to the Collinsville raids, Ambrose explained that extraordinary procedures, to the limit of the law, were necessary because the nation was engaged in an all-out war against drugs and that the very survival of the American people was at stake. One purpose of the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement was to facilitate the arrests of pushers on the street, Ambrose said further. In effect, this meant that local Justice Department lawyers assigned to ODALE could obtain warrants to authorize agents to break into homes in order to effect an arrest. The office further had the power to go before special “grand juries” to seek indictments of the arrested individuals.

    These particular incidents were reported in the press because they involved “mistaken identities” (agents had broken into the wrong homes). These agents were immediately Suspended and a full-scale investigation was launched, although they were finally acquitted after being tried on criminal charges. However, at the time, little attention was paid to the unique powers of the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement. Indeed, most commentators on these particular cases, though outraged that innocent people had been terrorized, did not question the legitimacy of ODALE itself, or question the need for deploying strike forces with extraordinary powers against narcotics dealers, who were presumed to be an equally extraordinary enemy.

    Despite the matter-of-fact acceptance of the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement by the press and the public, there was little precedent in the annals of American law enforcement (or government) for such an investigative agency. It had been established on January 27, 1972, by an executive order of President Nixon, without approval or consideration by Congress. The office operated out of the Department of Justice, but, interestingly, its director, Myles Ambrose, also had an office in the Executive Office of the president. ODALE was empowered by presidential order to requisition agents from other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Bureau of Customs, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and to redeploy these agents into strike forces. These forces could use court-authorized wiretaps and no-knock warrants, as well as “search incidental to arrest” procedures. This unique office could also feed the names of suspects to a target-selection committee in the Internal Revenue Service, which would then initiate its own audits and investigations. The office received most of its funds not from congressional appropriations but from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), an appendage of the Justice Department created by Congress in 1968 for the purpose of financially assisting state and local law-enforcement units (not presidential units). Most of its operations were financed by funneling grants from the LEAA to local police departments that participated with ODALE in its raids against narcotics suspects. This method was necessary because LEAA was never authorized by Congress to disburse its funds to federal agencies.

    As long as President Nixon could focus the attention of Congress and the press on the “menace” of heroin addiction destroying America, the hope was that this new office could execute his orders free of any normal restraints from the “bureaucracy,” from congressional subcommittees, and from the press, which normally reported only the stories presenting the government’s statistics in the war against drugs. The power of this new instrument thus depended directly on the continued organization of fear by the White House.

  10. Dennis

    I just googled “Ballew shot and Paralyzed”, and got the followin link:

    and it took me to what is most likely what I based my previous post on, but thinking it was the Collinsville Raids?

    Following the tale of Ken Ballew, there is a brief history of the leadership of the ATF, which includes mention of “Iron Mile Agcree”, who was Customs Commissioner, in the 1970s, when I went back to D.C. to teach at the Customs Service Academy, and who signed my credentials, as Supervisory Customs Patrol Officer” too.

    Not sure how I got the two crossed up, but think that must be what I did?

  11. Dennis and Paul Edwards, let me thank you both for the way you handled that colloquy, with mutual respect and humility. I’ll consider it a Christmas present; thanks to you both. 🙂

  12. Paul Edwards,

    Good discussion. I think we were chasing the same rabbit, but ended up barking at different brier patches. No one can argue that the BATF had a questionable birth and a history of individual and corporate abuses. It was born a political entity and has grown up to be a political tool, not unlike it’s mother, the IRS, a weapon to attack those who voice disagreement with the political elite.Have a safe, happy, and merry Christmas!

    Mas, thank you for the kind remarks, and have Merry Christmas!

  13. Denis: Mas:

    I agree, the IRS, and the BATF, are the equivilant of the Ministry of Truth, and Justice, in the novle Big Brother 1984, only they have come to life, and are threatening all American’s ,in today’s Obama version of the novel, in 2013 instead.

    Thanks Mas, Dennis, and I, were just trying to square away our discrepancies between our rememerances of “The Collinsville Raids”, nothing personal involved.

  14. As of January 15th N.Y.S. SAFE Act Ammunition Purchase Law by Gov. Como commences, No more on line buying of any Ammo,Only Face to Face by an FFL Dealer will be allowed to buy any Ammunition.And each time you buy any where from One round to a box of Ammo,? There will be a Fee for a background Check on each & every Purchase of any Ammunition,? Which can range any where from a $10.00 to $20.00 Fee Charge.