Skip to comments.Semper Fi, Unless It's Not Convenient
Posted on 12/29/2012 5:23:51 AM PST by Kaslin
Jon Hammar saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, but his most brutal foreign experience was in Mexico. Last August, the 27-year-old former Marine corporal was incarcerated by Mexican authorities in Matamoros for trying to register an antique shotgun with customs agents. Foolishly, Cpl. Hammar followed instructions given to him by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Brownsville, Texas. He registered the gun with them and brought the paperwork to the Mexicans to get their stamp of approval in order to carry the gun through the country. Hammar and a friend were driving a Winnebago, hoping to have a nice surfing vacation with some hunting on the side.
Even though the Mexican authorities clearly saw that Hammar was trying to follow the rules, they seized the Winnebago and locked the corporal up in the notoriously corrupt CEDES prison anyway. There he was threatened by other inmates and told by guards that he could buy his way out of the hellhole by paying money to the "right people."
Hammar's parents, who live in South Florida, immediately contacted the State Department and were told to be patient. And so they were. Three months later, Hammar was still incarcerated and had not even seen a judge, and things were becoming increasingly desperate.
That's when his parents gave up on the State Department and contacted the media.
When the story crossed my desk, I found it hard to believe. Cpl. Hammar had served his country honorably, returned to the USA with post-traumatic stress disorder, been treated for nine months in California and simply wanted a vacation after his ordeal. It was obvious that he was being held on bogus charges, and the State Department seemed impotent. When we asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a comment, she refused to say anything about the case. A few of her deputies visited Hammar in prison, but the official line was that State could do nothing more.
Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen raised some hell about the situation, but things continued to deteriorate. Mexican authorities actually chained Hammar to his bed. Another inmate sent a picture of that out to the press.
In mid-December, the Fox News White House correspondent asked press secretary Jay Carney about the case. President Barack Obama's spokesman looked perplexed and said he did not know anything about it. As unbelievable as that sounds, I believe that Carney was telling the truth. And by telling one truth, Carney indicated another truth: Neither Obama nor Secretary of State Clinton had come to the aid of an American combat veteran who was being abused by Mexican authorities.
Disgusted by our apathetic government, I took the case directly to the government of Mexico. On national television, I bluntly told the new Mexican presidente, Enrique Pena Nieto, that if he did not release Hammar by Christmas, I would lead a boycott of Mexican tourism and products. The next day, Hammar was released after a Mexican judge ruled there had been no intent to commit a crime.
The ordeal cost the Hammar family tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and untold emotional damage. Thankfully, the corporal did arrive home to South Florida in time to have a nice Christmas with his family. But this story is a cautionary tale for any American traveling outside the USA. If you get into trouble, you will be essentially on your own, even if you are a combat veteran. Our leaders in Washington are basically bureaucrats with short attention spans. If they couldn't work up the energy to help Jon Hammar, they are not going to help you.
True leadership means helping those who are powerless and sincerely need help. That takes time and energy. President Abraham Lincoln set aside one day a week to answer calls for help from the folks. The current administration would not answer a desperate call for months.
As for Mexico, it remains a corrupt country hostile to the rule of law. Let the buyer beware.
We swear oaths and lay our lives on the line. The higher-ups in the military and the government then do whatever they like, when they like. One phone call could've solved this. Instead, it was "be patient."
There is no amount of laziness that can cause this, only pure apathy. These folks had best remember what it is they've trained us to do.
He was foolish for attempting to take a gun into Mexico.
Thanks Bill O’Reilly, for helping this vet out.
“He was foolish for attempting to take a gun into Mexico.”
He was foolish for entering Mexico; it is notoriously corrupt (which is why most car insurance companies, while providing coverage for Americans in Canada, won’t do the same in Mexico). During the few times I’ve been to other countries (English-speaking neighbors), I’m on my best behavior - I’m outside of the protection of our legal system.
Mexico advertises hunting trips in all of the major hunting magazines. They want Americanos to come down there to spend money.
Corruption is the reason for their season. They wanted bribe money to allow him to pass.
It is so common. I know friends who have traveled there on vacation who hand over twenty dollar bills with their pasaportes just to keep things moving.
For once I can honestly say, Thank You Bill O’Reilly.
Another reason for Clinton to pretend concussion.
No, he was foolish to believe that the US Government had the slightest idea about what it is doing vis-a-vis the US-Mexican border and regulations concerning the citizens of two countries in the others territory.
Here is a fairly comprehensive recap of the story: " Gun that landed Marine Jon Hammar in Mexican prison was legal, says veteran guide"
The "Official" word is here: "Guns are Illegal in Mexico"
My guess is that the US Consulate webpage was added AFTER L/Cpl Hammar's case went big in the press.
Some think otherwise. "http://www.mexonline.com/huntmex.htm"
"A Maximum of 2 Rifles or Shotguns per hunter is allowed, guns may be accompanied by no more than 2 boxes of American Shells per gun (50 shells per gun). With the proper hunting permit, additional shells may be purchased in Mexico through various Licensed Sporting Goods Dealers. Only .22 caliber bullets and 12, 20 and .410-guage shotgun cartridges are available. Cost is somewhat expensive, but when measured with the risk of going to prison for smuggling shotgun shells into Mexico to save a few lousy dollars, the cost is cheap.
Do's & Don'ts
Do use Common Sense; remember you are in a foreign country, with their own set of laws. It's not important, if you think you are in the right or not.
Remember, you're guilty till proven innocent in Mexico.
Do follow Mexican Laws.
Do carry your passport, hunting license and gun permit at all times.
Do be patient and respect the Mexican people, they intern, will respect you.
Do double-check your car or truck for extra ammo or unlicensed weapons, prior to your entry into Mexico. Most people get into trouble for this single reason.
Do watch where you walk. Rattlesnakes in Mexico are large enough to kill a person.
Do remember to check references.
Don't be stupid. If you have trouble differentiating what "stupid is" in the United States, that should raise a "red flag" to not attempt to hunt Mexico.
Don't even try to smuggle unlicensed guns or ammo into Mexico. It's not worth the penalty. The Mexican prison system is full of stupid American's, wishing they had been smarter.
Don't walk in high grass without snake leggings on and watching where you step. For some reason, in 20 years of Hunting Mexico, I have never seen a small rattlesnake. "
He registered the gun on the border and was told it would be okay to take it with him through Mexico.
These folks had best remember what it is they've trained us to do.
Those folks do remember, that's why Napolitano put us on a list for terrorist.
The parents are foolish for waiting so long. Obama is an evil thug who hates white people, hates our military, hates guns, and hates America. The parents should have recognized who was in our White House and immediately tried another route. A real president would have gotten our Marine out immediately; the drug-addled communist we are stuck with needed to be forced.
How was he and his friends get to Costa Rico with their Camper other then through Mexico? I have never seen a Winnebago with wings.
You might want to check the map out
Very well said. You are exactly right
1. Gun control laws used as a pretext for corruption. Who’d a thunk it? Obama and the Democrats were too busy taking notes to squander political capital saving a US Marine.
2. Beyond the shakedown aspect, I suspect making examples of Americans on gun charges is a form of payback for Fast & Furious (not for giving guns to murderous narco thugs — for not cutting Mexican officials in on it).
Patting yourself on the back diminishes and cheapens a good deed.
They're the best form of representative govt. that money can buy.