We were not aware of any conditional language or cooling off periods that were built into the original contract but apparently some people have other ideas.
The signs were posted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) along a 60-mile stretch of Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend, a major east-west corridor linking Tucson and Phoenix with San Diego.
They warn travelers that they are entering an "active drug and human smuggling area" and they may encounter "armed criminals and smuggling vehicles traveling at high rates of speed." Beginning less than 50 miles south of Phoenix, the signs encourage travelers to "use public lands north of Interstate 8" and to call 911 if they "see suspicious activity."
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, whose county lies at the center of major drug and alien smuggling routes to Phoenix and cities east and west, attests to the violence. He said his deputies are outmanned and outgunned by drug traffickers in the rough-hewn desert stretches of his own county.
"Mexican drug cartels literally do control parts of Arizona," he said. "They literally have scouts on the high points in the mountains and in the hills and they literally control movement. They have radios, they have optics, they have night-vision goggles as good as anything law enforcement has.
"This is going on here in Arizona," he said. "This is 70 to 80 miles from the border - 30 miles from the fifth-largest city in the United States."
Let's let one of the Chip Dillers of the bureaucratic ruling class explain this to all you simpletons.
BLM spokesman Dennis Godfrey in Arizona said agency officials were surprised by the reaction the signs generated when they were put up this summer.
"We were perhaps naive in setting the signs up," he said. "The intention of the signs was to make the public aware that there is potential illegal activity here. But it was interpreted in a different light, and that was not the intent at all."
He said there should be "no sense that we have ceded the land," adding that no BLM lands in Arizona are closed to the public.
"I kind of liken it to if I were visiting a city I were not familiar with and asked a policeman if it were safe to go in a particular area," Mr. Godfrey said.
Translation: "Crap... they figured it out. They've interpreted those signs precisely as they were intended"
So, just consider southern Arizona as that part of the city you wouldn't want to venture into were you visiting from out of town. It's not "ceded" per se, rather a portion of our country where you run the risk of getting shot up by Mexican drug cartels. Big difference.
Or perhaps do consider this a Robert Rodriguez-style slo-motion ceding of a portion of our Union.
As the curator of those signs suggest: It's all a matter of interpretation, so take your pick.