Originally published Saturday, December 29, 2018 at 08:49p.m.

In the past 24 hours my view about a border wall has shifted a bit. I watched a video online about ranchers who make their living on our southern border.

Theirs is a difficult business.

In the 1980s, they’d “see 300 illegals crossing” their land each month, going from Mexico into the United States; every one of them “wanted a drink of water and directions,” a ranch owner says.

In the ’90s, it was 300 a day — “they just stole stuff, and broke stuff … stole trucks, saddles, … horses; what’s happened since the mid-2000s is the cartels took over the human trade, as well as the drug trade.

“That’s what the whole border is about now, is just money. It isn’t about immigration, it’s about smuggling,” an old cowhand said.

Now that, of course, brings to mind the current partial government shutdown and stalemate in Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump wants somewhere between $2.5 billion and $5 billion for a wall. Democrats are saying “no.”

Still, “I haven’t had any positive effect from having a fence,” the ranch owner says to my surprise.

Now, for a second, let’s look at some of the effects. Recall the present scourge on Yavapai County — fentanyl, a drug that too easily kills its user and originates in “counterfeit” pills that most often come across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Side note — Puzzling to me is the user or dealer who gets arrested with two dozen of these pills, but is rewarded with probation. Those pills are bullets in a loaded gun, in my book.

That brings me to a story in today’s Courier about a man from Phoenix who wants to place on the 2020 ballot a proposal to make Arizona the first state in the nation to effectively repeal all drug laws.

Yes, you read that correctly, and that even includes the laws that make it a crime to sell heroin to children, Capitol Media Services reported.

To that I have a few things to convey.

First is a quote from Aristotle: “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”

Secondly, that Arizona ranch owner has a solution: In addition to fences on the border, “We’ve got permanent cameras, we’ve got radar units, we’ve got portable cameras, and none of that has worked because there isn’t enough Border Patrol to respond to the traffic that’s coming through it. You know, this isn’t a humanitarian deal anymore, this is securing the border.”

Fentanyl? It’s got to stop. Call Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232 to report drug activity or dealers. You don’t have to give your name. #StopFentanylNow

Reverse the drug laws? No, a society without laws is mayhem.

And the border wall thing? That rancher said it best: “You have to act like it’s a military exercise.”

We’ve got a lot of work to do in 2019, folks. Too many politicians cannot see the border wall for the surrounding cacti.

Build a better wall, and staff it with Border Patrol agents.

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or twieds@prescottaz.com.