There's been a lot of talk about Arizona's threatening to retaliate against Los Angeles' "boycott" of their state by cutting off their power. LA gets about 25% of its electricity from AZ, and if that were to be suddenly terminated, the City Of Angels would be in a world of trouble.
Only thing is, no such threat was made.
In Arizona, one single public official on the state's utility board sent a very politely worded letter of inquiry to the city government inquiring if their boycott would include Arizonan electricity, and kindly offering to assist them should they decide it does. No threats, no attempts at coercion, no imprecations, just an innocuous inquiry.
That, friends, is how a "threat" is best delivered.
The real threats came first from Los Angeles -- "change your laws or we won't buy your goods and services." That, however, wasn't described as a "threat," but a form of protest and social action designed to correct a perceived wrong.
The Arizonan response was classic. The best term to describe it as "calling their bluff."
What's going on in the Southwest is something we've all seen before, being played out on a macro scale.
"If you didn't have that badge on, I'd kick your ass."
"Fine, here goes the badge."
"If you didn't have your friends here to protect you, I'd kick your ass."
"Friends, would you mind standing back and staying out of things?"
"If you didn't have that gun, I'd kick your ass."
"Bob, would you hold this for me for a few minutes?"
This first started playing out when Seattle planned its own boycott of Arizonan goods and services. Some clever person noticed that American Traffic Solutions, the supplier of the city's red light cameras (which put quite a bit of silver in the city's coffers each year), is based in Arizona. The final version of the measure exempted existing contracts -- and it will be interesting to see what happens when that contract is up for renewal.
Further, the city of San Diego decided to impose its own boycott on Arizona. That got some Arizonans irritated -- especially those who like ot take their summer vacations in San Diego. It's estimated that about 2 million Arizonans do that, and several of them informed the city that they would be taking their money and themselves elsewhere this summer, thank you very much.
But back to the Los Angeles case. The city's mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, responded to the Arizonan's gentle inquiry with tremendous indignation, saying that he would not respond to threats. Apparently "change your laws or we'll do no more business with you" is perfectly acceptable, but "could you please clarify precisely what your threat does and does not cover, and may we help you carry it out?" is hate speech and terrorism and makes kittens cry.
Arizona's message seems pretty clear: we're tired of getting screwed over by illegal aliens, and we're fed up with the federal government not only refusing to do its duty, but forbidding anyone else from doing a damned thing. They're going to give this a try, and they will not be bullied or threatened by anyone or anything.
They're not looking for a fight, but they're not going to run from one, either.