The forgotten Marine

American wrongly imprisoned in Mexico snubbed by his own government

Between guns and drugs and illicit human smugglers and more, there are plenty of illegal and dangerous people and things crossing the U.S.-Mexican border each day.

Jon Hammar is clearly not one of them.

And yet the U.S. Marine has languished in a notorious Mexican prison since August, at times shackled to a bed, because he brought an antique shotgun on a trip south – reportedly with the full knowledge and advice of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents he approached about it. They allegedly said the item would be fine if he merely filled out the proper forms, which he did.

Mexican authorities thought otherwise. Even though he voluntarily told them about the gun, they arrested him and have imprisoned him ever since, threatening him with 15 years’ incarceration.

You have to wonder if it was just an attempt at extortion: Hammar’s parents have since been called from Mexico and asked for what amounts to ransom.

It’s maddening, and an outrage. He didn’t try to hide the item; he offered it up to agents to inspect.

Nor is it as if it would be the first gun inside Mexico. Good grief, the hills are blood red there with gun violence. This novelty gun was absolutely nothing in comparison to what’s going on in Mexico every day.

An international hunting expert has been quoted as saying the gun, a family relic, is legal in Mexico.

A traveling companion of Hammar’s, a fellow Marine, has said Hammar would have left it at the border if U.S. agents had advised him to.

The two combat veterans were embarking on a surfing trip with small-game hunting in the plans.

It’s hard to believe that after weeks of national media coverage – of what amounts to a foreign government kidnapping of an American Marine – that a single phone call from a high-placed U.S. official to a counterpart in Mexico wouldn’t solve this travesty in a minute.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney shamefully admitted not knowing what the administration is even doing in the case.

Hammar’s parents say it isn’t very much at all.

Do you suppose Mr. Hammar was as lackadaisical in answering his country’s call?

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