Day 1,122: 10,000-year-old tool known as ‘ladder’ defeating Trump’s wall

2 min readFeb 16, 2020

Donald Trump has described his southern border barrier in ever-changing ways. (And that’s without even getting into the lies surrounding funding for it.)

It would be concrete, no it would be steel. It would be 10 feet high, no it would be 30 feet high, no it would be 50 feet high. It would span coast-to-coast, no it would only be needed in certain areas. It would be opaque, no it would be transparent. It would be a wall, no it would be a barrier made of slats.

But the two constants were that the wall would be “beautiful” and “impenetrable”.

On the one that actually matters, impenetrability, Trump has already faced humiliating setbacks during his vanity project that’s costing billions of dollars. The metal slats can be sliced open with a $100 saw that can be purchased at a hardware store.

And while there was a belief that the wall was being scaled using ladders, that’s now definitively proven, using a tool that costs just a few bucks.

Smugglers in Juárez have engineered camouflage hook-and-ladders made of rebar that blend in so well with the border wall that it can be hard to detect, according to U.S. Border Patrol. The ladders are the same rust brown color as the mesh panels or steel beams of the fence.

El Paso’s urban stretch of border is littered with the rusted rebar ladders at the base on both sides — ladders lying in wait on the Mexican side, ladders pulled down by border agents or abandoned by smugglers on the U.S. side. One of the rebar ladders was poking out of a dumpster in a lot near the Chihuahuita neighborhood on Thursday.

Trump has had an odd obsession with historic things like wheels and walls working better than other alternatives. So there’s a certain irony that Trump’s walls are being bested by a ladder, a tool that’s at least 10,000 years old.

During his campaign, Trump actually said of his dreamt-up border wall, “People aren’t going to Home Depot and buying a ladder and walking right off — not this wall.”

1,122 days in, 340 to go

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