Commentary: Money must go to where border problems exist

This editorial appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Any first-grader who's experienced the Junior Achievement program that develops the next generation of capitalists knows the difference between a want and a need.

Using pictures of things like skateboards, electronic games, food, houses and clothing, the youngsters learn to differentiate between things that they want (Wiis and iPods) and things they need to survive (food, shelter and clothes).

A recent Associated Press report into the allocation and spending priorities of Texas border counties that received state and federal crime-fighting grants indicates that the want-vs.-need lesson is one some sheriffs could use.

The sheriffs say they need the money to match the equipment and budgets of larger departments even though a county-by-county breakdown of border crime and related spending since 2005 would indicate otherwise.

Presidio County – whose sheriff, Danny Dominguez, and four deputies cover 3,856 square miles of West Texas and protect about 1,000 people – received $336,875 to fight the one violent crime, an aggravated assault, reported in the county in 2006.

Dominguez wants the money, and he told the AP that his county's almost nonexistent crime stats don't reflect the need for prevention.

That's another one of those interesting life lessons, boys and girls. You can't prove a negative.

If the spending priorities in Gov. Rick Perry's State of the State address on Tuesday pan out in the Legislature, Dominguez and his brothers and sisters of the badge will have additional opportunities to purchase night-vision goggles and body armor and tricked-out squad cars.

Perry has called for $135 million to combat the "brazen transnational gangs" that continue to threaten Texas.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.