As reported by BrevardTimes.com in a previous article, Cocoa Beach saw a surprising high influx of spring break vacationers for 2011.
In Port Canaveral, cruise bookings have been up substantially. Nearby Disney World and Universal Orlando theme parks saw their highest park attendance numbers since the 2008 financial crisis which translated into huge corporate earnings reported by their parent companies earlier this year.
So how is it that Central Florida experienced a tourism explosion when unemployment numbers and fuel prices across the country continue to remain high? The answer may lie in an Obama administration conspiracy known as "Project Gunwalker."
The Project Gunwalker story first appeared on CleanUpATF.org where it was alleged that the Obama administration, through the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, actually facilitated large scale weapons purchases in the United States in 2009-10 for the express purpose of sending those weapons to Mexican drug cartels in order to be able to later trace the weapons back to U.S. gun dealers and manufacturers.
The 2009-2010 A.T.F. "walked" guns coincided with a staggering increase in the death toll of drug related gun violence in Mexico in 2010 and 2011. One of the A.T.F. walked guns was allegedly used to kill U.S. Border Patrol Officer Brian A. Terry in a shootout with drug smugglers in December 2010.
While there is not any extensive survey data addressing the full impact of the Mexican drug violence on the rise in U.S. domestic tourism, it is only logical that the majority of spring breakers (or their parents flipping the bill) chose safer non-Mexican spring break destinations such as Central Florida beaches, attractions, and cruises. According to an AOL Travel Survey, a whopping 42% of all Northeastern travelers planned to vacation in Florida for Spring Break 2011.
In January 2011, journalists David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh picked up the Gunwalker story from CleanUpATF.org. They began to investigate and report their findings as well as precipitate a Senate Judiciary Committee inquiry into the matter led by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). Codrea and Vanderboegh have zealously attempted to publicize the issue ever since. Their hard work finally paid off - Fox News briefly began to report the story while CBS began a full length investigation which aired last month. Just yesterday, CBS reported that the National Rifle Association used its annual convention to highlight the Gunwalker scandal.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., the A.T.F. and Justice Department were accused of stonewalling the Senate investigation into the matter. As a result, congressional staffers have flown down to Arizona to begin an investigation of their own.
While the purported U.S. Justice Department strategy was to trace the arms shipped across the border and then break up the cartels, gun rights advocates see a more sinister strategy where the Obama administration intentionally sent guns from the U.S. to Mexico so that Obama could then turn around and say that stiffer U.S. gun control laws are necessary to reduce the gun violence in Mexico. There is strong support for that theory.
In March 2009, the New York Times quoted Hillary Clinton during her visit to Mexico where she stated:
"Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade...Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.”
Secretary of State Clinton's remarks were later followed by President Obama's claim that 90% of guns recovered from Mexico originated from the U.S. Obama's 90% statistic drew criticism from media outlets such as Fox News and PolitiFact in April 2009 that his claims were not true and unsubstantiated.
So did the Obama administration hatch a plan to create evidence by using the A.T.F. to enable U.S. gun shipments to Mexico beginning in November 2009 in order to back up his 90% claim made just seven months earlier? It is quite possible that we will find out that answer as the Senate investigation proceeds.
Oddly, U.S. Representatives Sandy Adams (R-FL) and Bill Posey (R-FL) have been notably silent on the Gunwalker story despite their heavily conservative constituency in their respective districts. Equally strange is that U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have also ducked the issue even though Florida is one of the most pro-gun states in the Union.