Saturday, January 24, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Semper Fi, unless it’s not convenient

o'reilly column sig

By
From page A8 | December 31, 2012 |

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 hell hole 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 cane 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 U.S. 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.

Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News Show, “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama.”

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensDecember 29, 2012 - 7:41 am

    Unjust treatment and legal abuse of veterans and military retirees happens right here in Solano communist county in your lousy stinking sinking state!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • N. CruikshanksDecember 31, 2012 - 9:14 pm

    Way to go Bill O'Relly. I know he is a blowhard but if this story is true as told it goes to show how truly powerful the media is, for good or otherwise. I'm sure if 60 minutes would have gotten this they would have done the same thing.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Rotary Club awards seek to honor Solano teens

    By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

     
    Atlas details Solano birds

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Solano County Farm Bureau celebrates 100 years

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Spare the Air alert called for Saturday

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

    Fairfield forecast calls for more fog

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
     
    Arrest of Fairfield man follows chase

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 7 Comments

    Shedding the extra holiday weight

    By Murray Bass | From Page: B8, 7 Comments

     
    Fairfield police stop suspected armed robber

    By Bill Hicks | From Page: A9

    .

    US / World

    $300,000 in fine wine stolen from famed restaurant recovered

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Ambulance company adds bike racks to rigs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Judge approves delay of ex-Sen. Calderon’s trial

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Safety barrier on Golden Gate Bridge not stopping speeding

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Cattle truck driver killed in Central California after crash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
     
    Army: Fort Hood lacked system to ID threat of 2014 rampage

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Yemen’s Shiite rebels try to avoid overstepping amid protest

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Challenges on multiple fronts likely to test new Saudi king

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    New generation enters line to Saudi throne as king mourned

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Pro-Russian rebels reject peace deal, launch new offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    NASA spacecraft almost to Pluto: Smile for the camera!

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Justices will review use of midazolam as execution drug

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Opinion

    Bad luck or bad decision?

    By Deon Price | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

     
    Reality of child care costs simply absurd

    By Petula Dvorak | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

    Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 24, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Response to Mr. Batson

    By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 52 Comments

    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Jan. 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: Jan. 24, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Nephew won’t take responsibility for loan from my 90-year-old mother

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

     
    Horoscope Jan. 24, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

    A robot designed to fill role in dementia care

    By The Washington Post | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Entertainment

    George Lucas hopes ‘Strange Magic’ will appeal to all ages

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

     
    ‘7th Heaven’ actor Stephen Collins’ divorce finalized

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

    .

    Sports

    Serena, Venus Williams into 4th round at Australian Open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Local Report: Fairfield girls slip by AmCan

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

    Armijo girls hammer Wood 59-27

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

     
    Thompson’s record 3rd quarter leads Warriors past Kings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Looking back: Federer’s Aussie Open over after loss to Seppi

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    AP source: Marlins, Suzuki agree to $2 million deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Raiders hire 4 assistants for Del Rio’s coaching staff

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Athletics, Eric Sogard agree on $1,075,000 contract

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Kobe to be re-examined before deciding injury fate

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    NFL says no conclusion yet on Pats’ deflated footballs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks dies at 83

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Kuchar leads PGA tourney, Palmer misses chance for 59

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    This date in sports history for Jan. 24, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    .

    Business

    California jobless rate falls to 7 percent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Expedia acquires Travelocity for $280M

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    McDonald’s earnings take a big smack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    In-flight shopper SkyMall files for bankruptcy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

    .

    Obituaries

    Arthur Harvey

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Carol Marjorie Tackett

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

    .

    Comics

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Home Seller 1/24/2015

    Average rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.63 percent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

    Right at Home: Feathers soar as a decor trend

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3 | Gallery

    Real estate transactions for Jan. 24, 2015

    By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3