(not) BREAKING: (not) Terrorist manual found (not) on Texas border!


This afternoon The Blaze breathlessly reported on Twitter that an Urdu-to-English dictionary was found on the Texas border, leaving among its anti-immigration readers thoughts of Pakistani terrorists sneaking into the US among the wave of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in their home countries in Central America. It’s certainly possible that this is happening or has happened, but this discarded tome is not evidence of it.

It’s brand new.

The dictionary allegedly found under a fence in the Texas desert looks like it’s fresh off the shelf at Barnes & Noble (where you can actually find it, by the way). If it had been ferried from Pakistan across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean and trekked through the Mexican desert to cross the US border, you would think it might have a little dust around the edges.

It also looks like it’s never been read. If a terrorist were attempting to learn English in order to infiltrate the US and carry out an attack, you would think he would have started doing so before he got to Texas, and thus the book would look like it’s at least been thumbed through.

It’s sold on Amazon.

Here. And Barnes & Noble, as already noted. Anyone could have bought this book. Literally, anyone. It didn’t have to come from Pakistan or Afghanistan. Although I suppose this also means a particularly meta-aware terrorist could have ordered it on Amazon and had it shipped to him somewhere Mexico so he could take it across the border. But now we’re getting into James Bond/24 style narrative convolution.

It’s in English.

I mean, come on. If a terrorist from Pakistan were attempting to learn English in order to infiltrate the US, why would he buy a book that says on the back cover that it’s “romanized for English speakers.” This is a book to learn Urdu, not English. In fact, it’s just the kind of book an enterprising nativist might order on Amazon and plant on his ranch in order to produce a narrative. Not that anyone would ever do such a thing.

It was found over a year ago.

“Vickers found the dictionary in May 2013 and reported it to the authorities,” the Blaze grudgingly reports in its 8th paragraph. Oh.

It wasn’t found anywhere near the border.

Mike Vickers found the book under the fence at his ranch in Texas. That ranch is about 4 miles north of the Falfurrias Border Patrol station. Wow! That must mean someone dropped it just after crossing the Rio Grande, right? Not even close. The Falfurrias Border Patrol station is almost 80 miles from the border via I-69C, the closest route. In a state as big as Texas, and as desolate as its southern wastes, that might not seem like a lot. It is. In fact, Vickers’ ranch and the BPS station are closer to the upper coastal community of Corpus Christi than they are to the border.

txA lot of good that wall is going to do, though, right?

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