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Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Michael Turner

I loved the part where Simcox says that the point of making it such a gun-crazy event was to highlight the *media's* "persecution complex".

We may read that as: "I'm not paranoid -- y'all really ARE out to git me, you paranoids!"

And I liked even better the opinion of the border patrollers: that the Minutemen are an unwelcome and even dangerous distraction from their jobs. All the more so, I'd say, for arming themselves. Indeed, what IF border patrol comes upon a Minuteman group, surprising them? And what IF there's some Remember-the-Branch-Davidians nutjob in that group? In the dark, all helicopters are black. And some of these people really are in the dark, even in harsh noon daylight into which only mad dogs and Englishmen might stray.

John Moore (Useful Fools)

Considering the area, anyone who goes out there unarmed is foolish. I've been there (armament in my car, of course). I am considering helping the minutemen out with communications if they don't prove too whacko (although this one "leader" seems to be a rabble rouser rather than a responsible protester), or doing my own "reporting" on my blog about them. I did the same for Hands Across America, another whacko group (run by former Democratic presidential campaign staff) that was trying to do good but, at least in Arizona, was too incompetent to avoid getting people killed. So we helped them with planning and communications also.

As for the arms, the organization *prohibits* long arms, so folks are not going to be sniping or for that matter intentiionally engaging anyone. Furthermore, they discourage weapons in general (read their web page) but do not prohibit hand guns, In the Arizona desert and mountains, handguns are quite commonly carried openly. I always carried one (not openly, so as not to make people nervous) when I took my daughter out fishing.

The Border Patrol choppers have good night sensors (FLIR) and they aren't going to assault these folks. In no way would their OP's look like a bunch of illegals. I would suspect that the BP and the coyotes are steering clear of the San Pedro river valley right now. We have a very long border, and the minutemen are only observing along a 20 mile stretch in Cochise country.

I do remember a time when two black helicopters full of US Customs - yes, they're black because that's a good color for a covert mission at night - assaulted a military special operations team that was on an exercise. Oops. But that wasn't anywhere near the border - amd the SOF operation had the signature of an aircraft based drug smuggling operation.

There is another civilian paramilitary group that helps patrol the border: Civil Air Patrol. It is all unarmed volunteers, and many would meet the criteria for ridicule common on these pages. The difference is that it is controlled by the USAF, operates using USAF equipment to some extent and USAF radio frequencies, and is trained for these operations. They only undertake these missions when assigned by the controlling agencies.


Chris Simcox, the "ground-level commander" of the Minutemen, was on FOX News this morning--but, of course, all of you saw that. I can just look at that guy and know that he's scary. The first clue is that weird van dyke beard. (Wait a minute! I just noticed Marc's picture on this page. Forget that part.) Really, that guy both looks and sounds scary. John Moore, correct me if you have a different impression.

Simcox seems to relish in the publicity that he receives, and the more outrageous he is, the more he gets. I've really seen his type from some of the neo-confederate groups, and someone like him can get plain nuts over their lost causes. You really need to watch out for someone like that. It's too bad that the founder of the Minutemen let this guy become the face of the project. I don't think we've seen the last of him on this or future causes.

In case Simcox reads this and wants to get me, my real name is steve.

The Lonewacko Blog

I'm sure Bush and the big corporations that employ cheap labor really enjoy how much cover liberalism gives them.

The weapons charge is discussed here:

If Simcox were a liberal, I'm sure there would be complaints about him being busted for the relatively minor offense of carrying a weapon onto National Monument property. And, there's more on Borane here:

Woody says: "I've really seen his type from some of the neo-confederate groups"

I wonder why Cooper didn't mention anything about Simcox' son or what he used to do specifically in the article? When I spoke with Simcox in 2003 he kept stressing that bit, and I'm sure he said the same things to Cooper. Why wasn't that in the article?

Jim Rockford

Marc -- I think you missed the point. Which was the media coverage this thing got. By that account it was successful. It's also telling, that in bad economic times, illegal aliens are not popular and efforts to curtail them generally are.

Simcox may appear a lunatic, but the issues raised by this are not going to go away, and the media's ability to control what gets discussed doesn't exist anymore. Both parties are afraid of a Californa Prop 187 backlash among Latino voters, but the bottom line is that large numbers of illegal aliens depress US citizen's wages on the low end and help destroy unions. A populist politician with the skills Simcox lacks can make a lot of progress with this issue, both locally and nationally.

John Moore (Useful Fools)

Two things concern me: Simcox, and the appearance of Confederate Battle Flags.

These days the latter is not usually a sign of racists, but rather of states' rightsists (what a word!). But allowing them to be displayed is a bad mistake (or worse intent) by the leaders of this group.

Jim R is right. This issue isn't going away, and it affects both right and left. As long as the vast economic disparities exist, and draconian measures are not taken(measures I probably wouldn't approve of), this is not going away.

It's too bad we're not the imperialists people accuse us of, or we'd fix the countries sending their laborers by fixing their economies. The British were relatively good at this. But, of course, we aren't, and social engineering is terribly unpredictable anyway.

Mark A. York

That painted an accurate picture for me. Great job.

Jim Rockford

I'll note that the Mayor of Mexico City is being denied through political maneuvering the opportunity to run for President, through a corrupt deal between the PRI and Fox's PAN.

This is very, very bad. While the Mayor may be a Lula-style populist, Lula himself has been on net very good for Brazil, by tackling inflation and corruption, which hurts everyone including domestic and foreign investors. Denying the people a chance to vote for the candidate they want could start a collapse of the already fragile Mexican system. A widespread Mexican political collapse and the advent of several million illegal immigrants all at once on our soil fleeing total chaos in Mexico serves no one, and is likely to bring disaster.

Better solve the problem now than delay it time after time.


Marc.... I just belatedly read your piece. What a delightful piece of writing. Informative, evocative and...really funny.

My personal favorite moments:


...after all those reporters had persuaded their editors to let them make the trek to grab the sexy story of yahoos running loose on the border with guns....almost no one wanted to tell the real story once they got out here...


"If the message about border enforcement was so important, I asked him [Simcox], then why didn’t he discourage his followers from bringing guns with them?

“Doesn’t this distract from your core message?” I asked.

“We’ve done this on purpose to show your bias and your vile distortions,” he answered.

“So exposing this media bias is more important than exposing the failure of border policy,” I said.


No guns were in evidence. The heaviest armaments, once again, were aluminum-framed lawn chairs that bloomed like wildflowers after a desert rain...

Over at his frontierlike Dragoon Saloon, the ruddy-faced, cowboy-hatted 45-year-old mayor of Tombstone, Andree Dejournett, was downing a tub’s worth of suds, clearly hoping that this whole episode would quickly pass...

[and from the beleaguered Border Patrol] "....The keyword here is that we are going to *try* to go on with our work in spite of these people. Now we don’t only have illegal aliens to look out for, now we have to look out for these other untrained civilians running along the same roads. The worst-case scenario is at night we come upon one of their groups and we surprise them and they’re armed.”


WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT.....This today, from Salon, on the Minutemen:

"...According to the Associated Press, a 26-year-old Mexican citizen says members of the citizen militia detained him against his will and forced him to pose for pictures with a T-shirt that read: "Bryan Barton caught an illegal alien and all I got was this T-shirt." (A spokesman for Minuteman denied the incident, saying, "All they did was provide water and wait for the Border Patrol. What's the big deal?")



The Lonewacko Blog

As Drudge would say, rosedog is so last cycle.

Barton has been exonerated and even the Mexican consul agrees that no crime was committed:




I got behind the news cycle again???? The horror.

I stand humbly corrected, Mr. Whacko. Bryan Barton is indeed an innocent man, a fine and compassionate American, and a wily promoter since the t-shirt in question features, along with its other message, the web address for Barton's Republican campaign for Congress. And, in case you haven't seen it, the video DOES show a glum immigrant guy holding the thing while Barton leans into the shot, grinning like a hyena.

(Note to Ms. Malkin: Yes, Michelle, it WAS a publicity stunt. Cheap? Well, that's for you to decide, dear.)



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