February 23, 2005

Taking The Law Into Their Own Hands

I've always hated that phrase as it's usually applied. If the government really is "by the people, of the people, for the people" then taking the law into our own hands is part of our duty. If we're to leave the law taking to another class then it's not really a government composed of the people is it?

I haven't written about the situation on our borders for a while. Now I have a decent excuse. There's an article on the unorganized militia getting organized & patrolling the Arizona-Mexico border. It's not a favorable treatment so let us fisk.

"Minutemen' to Patrol Arizona Border"

The scare quotes around "Minutemen" are telling. It gives the impression that the people wrongly view themselves as modern day patriots. The fact is the description is much more apt than it would be to call most people who write stories for the MSM reporters or journalists.

"WASHINGTON - Intent on securing the vulnerable Arizona border from illegal immigrant crossings, U.S. officials are bracing for what they call a potential new threat this spring: the Minutemen."

It's no secret that the government views people capable of & willing to provide for their own defense as a threat. That gets multiplied if the defense isn't just of self & home but of country.

"Nearly 500 volunteers have already joined the Minuteman Project, anointing themselves civilian border patrol agents determined to stop the immigration flow that routinely, and easily, seeps past federal authorities. They plan to patrol a 40-mile stretch of the southeast Arizona border throughout April when the tide of immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border peaks."

I'm surprised it's only 500. Ranch Rescue should step in & help them with a volunteer drive. I believe Ranch Rescue has between 600 & 1,000 members & they're just concerned with patrolling private property.

"I felt the only way to get something done was to do it yourself,' said Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant and decorated Vietnam War veteran who is helping recruit Minutemen across the country."

How dare he not rely on the government! Why, if his radical thoughts caught on that could undermine the need for increasing the budget!

"We've been repeatedly accused of being people who are taking the law into our own hands,' said Gilchrist, 56, of Aliso Viejo, Calif. 'That is an outright bogus statement. We are going down there to assist law enforcement."

Again, as a citizen it is our duty to take the law into our own hands. That does not mean becoming judge, jury & executioner, but in protecting the safety of ourselves, our families, our communities & our states.

"Officials concede the 370-mile Arizona border is the most porous stretch on the U.S.-Mexico line. Moreover, recent intelligence show that al-Qaida terrorists are likely to enter the country through the Mexico border, James Loy, the deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, said last week.
'Several al-Qaida leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico, and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons,' Loy said in written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee."

Now that's a shock; some illegal immigrants may be enemies of the u.S.

"Of the 1.1 million illegal immigrants caught by the U.S. Border Patrol last year, 51 percent crossed into the country at the Arizona border. The agency increased the number of agents in the Tucson sector, which has its largest staff, from 1,700 to 2,100 over the last 18 months.
But that number is going to grow to try to plug the remaining holes, said Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner. About 10,000 federal agents now patrol the 2,000-mile southern border, he said."

& it's not enough manpower. If we have 51% of 1.1 million illegal immigrants caught on the Arizona border that demonstrates insufficient manpower on the Arizona border. & keep in mind that's just the number of illegals caught. I'm pretty sure we're not batting .900 on catching all who attempt to sneak in.

"Officials fear the Minuteman patrols could cause more trouble than they prevent. At least some of the volunteers plan to arm themselves during the 24-hour desert patrols. Many are untrained and have little or no experience in confronting illegal border crossings."

Uh-huh. Citizens taking responsibility for the security of their state could cause more trouble than the millions of illegal aliens who sneak across the border every year. Bullshit. What they could do is piss off Vicente Fox; but considering he's a foreign national I could give a damn about his feelings on what happens in the u.S.

But being armed is a necessity. It's not like you're a phone call & three minutes away from police back up (like you're ever in that situation outside of being in a police station). You're on your own & must provide for yourself. Going on a border patrol unarmed would be foolish.

As for "...many are untrained & have little or no experience in confronting illegal border crossings" I wonder what the source for that little gem is? Was there a survey of the applicants to determine who has received training in the use of arms or dealing with illegals crossing the border?

Larry Pratt wrote a piece called Liberals Outraged By Self-defense On The Border. In it he quotes Chris Simcox of the Tombstone Tumbleweed during an interview with Alan Colmes:

"Simcox adds that his group is made up of 'two-thirds retired military personnel and police personnel.' Thus, they believe they have the training they need to do the job in a reasonable way."

I'd say that should quell most objections about insufficient training. Should.

But I'd wager that most gun nuts are better trained & practiced than most military & police. There are simply far too many "professionals" who only pick up a gun in order to qualify once or twice a year. We shoot because we like to.

The solution though, if true, is for the government to set up training for the volunteers. It'd be a much more efficient use of manpower than what they've been doing. One guy teaching 30 people a week how to do his job v. one guy doing his job?

"Any time there are firearms and you're out in the middle of no-man's land in difficult terrain, it's a dangerous setting,' said Bonner, whose agency is keeping a close eye on the Minutemen plans."

What an asshole! Anytime you're in the middle of no-man's land I'd say you've hit the "dangerous setting" mark. If you did it unarmed you'd increase the danger. Rather than keep a "close [hoplophobic] eye" on what they're doing, why not allocate some resources to help train them if you're that concerned about their well being?

"The Border Patrol does this every day, and they are qualified and very well-trained to handle the situation,' he said. 'Ordinary Americans are not. So there's a danger that not just illegal migrants might get hurt, but that American citizens might get hurt in this situation."

Ah, not just a hoplophobe, but an elitist hoplophobe. We peasants aren't qualified to patrol our own borders & we might get hurt doing so. Again, if that's even remotely true then offer training, not discouragement.

"Civilian patrols are nothing new along the southern border, where crossing the international line is sometimes as easy as stepping over a few rusty strands of barbed wire. But they usually are limited to small, informal groups, leaving organizers to believe the Minuteman Project is the largest of its kind on the southern border."

That's simply not true. Ranch Rescue has been doing their thing for years as have some other groups. They usually organize patrols in small numbers - like three to five people - & stick to private land, but they have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand members per organization.

"It may also prove to be a magnet for what Glenn Spencer, president of the private American Border Patrol, described as camouflage-wearing, weapons-toting hard-liners who might get a little carried away with their assignments.
'How are they going to keep the nutcases out of there? They can't control that,' said Spencer, whose 40-volunteer group, based in Hereford, Ariz., has used unmanned aerial vehicles and other high-tech equipment to track and report the number of border crossings for more than two years."

No; it's impossible to keep the nutcases out of any organization. Just look here every day for proof of that. It'll be under a section called "The Authorities" or "Our Armed Protectors" or "Only the Police Should Have Guns". Nope, can't keep those "nutcases" out can ya?

But what he's trying to do is revive the myth of the cammie wearing Rambo wannabe militia member. You might remember this portrayal of the militia from the 80's & 90's. Most gun owners of any type have probably been accused of being such at some point. It's nice to see the media's work wasn't for naught; there are still people who think the militia is a bad thing, as are most militia members.

What's interesting is that Spencer's group has been accused of being what he's implying this group is: armed, radical, right wing vigilantes. I wonder why he's using the same implications to cloud what this group is doing when his group has had to defend itself from similar implications.

"There's a storm gathering here on the border, and there are conditions ripe for some difficulty,' [Spencer] said.
The border agents agree."

I agree there are potential problems. But I don't think the problems with citizens patrolling the border are as dire as the problems that result in illegal immigration.

"The Minutemen 'clearly have every reason to be upset with the federal government for abandoning them,' said National Border Patrol Council president T.J. Bonner, no relation to the commissioner.
But 'if anything goes wrong, God forbid, someone does injure an agent, this government is going to be turning both barrels on them and come after them with a vengeance,' he said."

& what would happen if an insurgent entered the country through the under-patrolled border & caused damage to a major city? Or a border patrol agent was injured or killed by an illegal? In fact Larry Pratt makes a good case for armed patrols of the borders without considering a terrorist threat.

The fact is that illegal immigration creates a serious problem. I read something just a few weeks back on a drug gang just south of the border that was out of control. More or less they owned a few towns in Mexico & they were believed responsible for many murders & several kidnappings. I can't recall the article's location or even the name of the group but they were described as being a well armed & organized group of ex-military who were gaining power. Now all I heard was their activities on the Mexican side of the border but I do recall a sheriff claiming to have seen armed troops on our side of the border not too long ago.

Armed escorts of smuggled contraband are not new. Neither is violence initiated by the smugglers. You'd be surprised to find out just how many shots are fired across the border every year. & this includes shots fired at law enforcement as well as shots fired at non-cops.

So I think the risk of a confrontation between a border patrol agent & a militia member patrolling the border is a little less worrisome than leaving our borders under-patrolled.

"Gilchrist said the Minutemen are under strict orders to merely identify and follow illegal border crossers and alert federal agents. They should not interact with the immigrants except to offer food, water or medical care. If there's a couple of 'bad apples' who turn up in the group, Gilchrist said, they will face prosecution if they step outside the law."

That's the mission that's causing such a stir? They're basically just shadowing the illegals until they feds can arrive. & that's the problem?

"Something dramatic needed to be done to curb the years of crime, property damage and trash dumping caused by the border crossings, Gilchrist said.
'Things are out of control' he said. 'And they've been out of control for decades."

Well what do you expect when you turn border security to the same type of organization that gave us the DMV? Yes; something needs to be done & I think Gilchrist, Simcox & others have the right idea. Call out the militia.

Clayton Cramer agrees as he posts about this USA Today article discussing the problems of border security.

"Until we make the investments necessary to protect the border, the country is seriously at risk," says former congressman Jim Turner of Texas, who was the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee last year.

"The holes that remain in our border security systems are not small,' House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, says. 'They are gaping, and they are glaring to our terrorist enemies. They are coming for us."

It would be very easy for Bush to call out the militia. It would be almost as easy for congress to get of its ass & assume their obligation to regulate the militia (set up training standards, etc...). But don't hold your breath. That would mean that the people wouldn't need the government to protect them & that is something that scares a career politician more than all of this nation's enemies combined.

Posted by Publicola at February 23, 2005 02:32 PM

Great blog!

I agree with you regarding citizens taking "the law into their own hands". I have always found this to be a bit of a contradiction. If, in our Republic, government derives its just powers from the CONSENT of the governed, wouldn't taking the law into our own hands be redundant? I absolutely believe in the rule of law and due process, however, relegating citizens to the status of child-like "sheeple" is counter-productive to responsible citizenship.

I am racking my brain trying to remember the thinker that said, and I'll paraphrase liberally, that it is not only the right, but the duty, of citizens to be proactive in the defense of self. The anti-2A forces, along with the "violence is never the answer" crowd have no retort to the consequences of NOT confronting the violent amongst us. By not defending one's self, the violent mutants will continue to prey upon other citizens. In short, I believe it was a precursor to much of John Lott's empirical analysis.

This theory is equally applicable to crime and terrorism, vis a vis, illegal immigration.

I will end my post because I am echoing much of your original comments. A final thought, however, is that the pro-2A (read true libertarians/constitutionalists) are underestimating the power of the border/crime/terrorism issue as it pertains to gun control. The utter failure of the "government" to secure our borders, the inability to protect the population in times of crisis (LA riots), and the legal precedent that the police are not obligated to protect individuals but preserve the civil peace/order, should be a compelling argument for our side.

Hell, we haven't even mentioned the threat from space aliens!

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Chris W at February 24, 2005 10:21 AM

Actually, if 51% of the illegal immigrants caught by the Border Patrol were crossing in Arizona, that could be a sign of insufficient manpower _elsewhere_.

I don't mean that Arizona has enough, but if less than 51% of the total attempted crossings are done there, they could be catching a higher percentage than the others.

Posted by: Jesse at February 24, 2005 02:04 PM

" 'Simcox adds that his group is made up of "two-thirds retired military personnel and police personnel." Thus, they believe they have the training they need to do the job in a reasonable way.'

"I'd say that should quell most objections about insufficient training. Should."

It's not often I catch you missing a trick, Brother Pub, but I think you did here. While I agree in principle with your subsequent argument with respect to the comparative firearms-handling skill and training of many retired law-enforcement and military personnel (and hasten to add that this should not be inferred as condemning all members of said groups), another particularly hypocritical aspect of the hoplophobe line of reasoning refuting this statement is that these individuals are precisely the citizens the GFWs single out routinely as the only members of society they deem trustworthy of carrying concealed firearms in public. Recent statements of Kansas' current Governor, among others, stand as testimonial.

Okay, so what do the public statements on such matters by a Kansas' Governor have to do with all this? Only that a good many of those illegals pouring through the border wind up in Kansas (and southern Colorado) meat-packing and hog-slaughtering plants; walk into an IBP plant on, say, a Thursday afternoon hollering, "Imigre!", and the floor would clear faster than cockroaches at a Raid convention. Of course, the packing plant would be repopulated again in time for first shift on Monday morning, with mostly the same folks at the same stations.

Furthermore, as Kansas' fight for a concealed-carry provision died on the Governor's desk last legislative session, Mrs. Sebelius used as one of her excuses for the veto the argument that "such a measure would make Kansas law enforcement officers' already dangerous jobs that much more dangerous," one of the standard anti-gunners' canards. Which naturally leads one to ask the question:

"So which is it, folks? Retired LEOs and military personnel are qualified to be armed in public, or they aren't qualified to be armed at all, and those still-employed professional LEOs are furthermore too stupid (at least in certain states) to adequately assess and react to situations involving legally armed law-abiding citizens? The ones statistically proven to be the least of society's worries with respect to firearms misuse?" And by extension (one assumes, considering the topic of this post), they're not even capable of dealing with situations involving (theoretically, at any rate) unarmed illegal immigrants?

I don't suppose we need further expound here on the antis' dexterity in replacing one set of tenets with another as required, depending on the circumstances? Sort of "situational substitution", as it were . . .


Posted by: 'Berg at March 2, 2005 01:26 PM

I know. I miss stuff occassionally. Be nice if I had a co-blogger to help me out. :)

But the anti's always switch things around. They'll usually claim a cop or soldier is responsible enough to carry (& no one else is) until you start talking about letting them do that after they're off the government's clock. Then it's a bit different.

But the truth is that on the whole non-cops have more practical experience in carrying &/or using arms. Not that it's true of all non-cops compared to all cops, but there's a helluva lot of non-cops who shoot for fun while there's a helluva lot of cops who shoot just enough to qualify. Hell I know some people who go through more ammo in a given cartridge each year than some police departments do.

But the thing to remember is that the anti's don't want anyone carrying except the government agents. Anything they say will reflect this is they're pressed on it. & that'd be active government agents, not some guy who's retired.

Posted by: Publicola at March 14, 2005 03:07 PM

"Be nice if I had a co-blogger to help me out. :)"

Mea culpa, Compadre! (if I may be allowed an inelegant mixture of foreignisms).

It's being worked on, I assure you!


Posted by: 'Berg at March 16, 2005 12:15 PM

'Minutmen' Being SETUP by Bush as DIVERSION From Iran / Syria Attack!!

Does ANYbody REALLY BELIEVE the Homeland GESTAPO has ANY good interests in this country???

I believe the purpose of this latest 'maneuver' is to get GOOD Americans KILLED!

Whether you KNOW it or NOT!! It's a TRICK and just the thing TRAITOR Bush WOULD DO!!!


Don't let them rush BLINDLY into Bush's TRAP!

WHY do you think he went to Mexico to chat with Fox???

March 26, 2005

Axis Power Forces Ready to Unleash War against Iran and Syria as Mexican
Military Forces Receive US Permission to Quell Arizona Region Militia Uprising

Posted by: Larry Lawson at March 27, 2005 06:55 AM

Grassfire.org is selling Secure our Borders car magnets! Go to
scroll down and look to your left! We need to spread the word and this is a good way and a harmless way to do that!

Posted by: Chris at October 2, 2005 09:07 PM
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