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We should all cheer the Conch Republic’s conquest of the pilings under the old 7-mile bridge. It should settle the apparent jurisdictional confusion surrounding those chunks of concrete. Incorporating the base of the bridge into the Conch Republic will give refugees from Castro’s island prison at least one more dim hope of freedom.

To the Department of Homeland security the geographical location of the pilings seems to be in some doubt. The bridge that sits on top of the pilings isn’t connected to the Homeland by a road, so they ruled those pilings the equivalent of the open sea. Bad luck for the fifteen weary refugees, including two children, the Coast Guard found clinging to them. DHS sent all fifteen back to a life of socialist ease in Cuba. 

The issue of jurisdiction would not have been in doubt if a bomb toting Arab had been found on one of the pilings. The question of whether those pilings were on U.S. soil would never have come up if one of the refugees had taken a shot at a Coasty. I’ll bet there’s more than one of the repatriated Cubans who wishes he’d had something to shoot. At least then he’d be in an American prison instead of a Cuban one. 

It is ironic that people fleeing a land where the government runs everything should be undone by yet another government bureaucracy. They fled a life as state-owned serfs. Little did they suspect they were fleeing to a country whose citizens are making steady progress toward that same serfdom. Our advanced progress is evidenced by the fact that we even have a Department of Homeland Security.

In Cuba everything is controlled by government bureaucrats. For an idea of what that would be like, imagine all the essentials of life doled out by outfits with the efficiency of FEMA, the ruthlessness of the BATF, the compassion of the IRS and the integrity of Key West Code Enforcement. It’s a wonder more people aren’t throwing themselves into the sea in a desperate bid for escape.

Supposedly the grand goal of the Department of Homeland Security is to safeguard our freedom. For the drones at DHS defending freedom means that for us, the sponsors and beneficiaries of their efforts, there is no indignity too embarrassing, no violation of privacy too bold, no pen knife or nail file too harmless to be overlooked. 

You would think people who had risked their lives and the lives of their children to escape socialist tyranny would get some respect from such a freedom loving team.
But that isn’t how the fight for freedom works in the modern Empire of IOU’s. The Empire is slowly erecting a cage of freedom that is just like the one those luckless Cubans were trying to escape.

In freedom’s cage every citizen is numbered, disarmed, monitored, protected and provided for from cradle to grave. Government permission is required for everything from getting a job to renting a house. In freedom’s cage the government provides everything for everyone. Education, medical care, housing, food, clothing, bread and circuses are all there for the asking for the free citizens of the Empire.

Many Americans were appalled when the DHS returned this last batch of Cubans to Castro’s island jail. Even the editor of our local Pravda, Solares Hill, a man who never saw a government program, hand-out or tax he didn’t like, expressed outrage a the shame of it.

I suspect the outrage may be subconsciously misdirected. Those who are incensed claim it is the unfairness and cruelty that is so shameful, but I suspect it is the unexpressed truth of it we fear most. Returning those who long for freedom to their masters reveals the nature of the public service performed by Homeland Security more than any mission statement ever will.

Homeland Security agents, despite the avowed noble mission of defending American freedom, are, after all, prison guards. In their day-to-day jobs they do what prison guards do. They check papers. They search people. They watch people. They listen in on phone calls. They read other people’s mail. They disarm people. They carry guns. So far, they guard us in a friendly way, like we were poodles on the lawn or grazing sheep.

But the policy of returning refugees to Cuba demonstrates an embarrassing truth about their job. Homeland Security agents don’t much care whose prison they guard. And they will obey obviously unjust orders. It makes us uncomfortable to watch them do their real job. It should.