You might recognize the grody, unshaven, hadn't-slept-for-a-week guy in the hat in the opening frames. Oh, yeah, and Bob Wright has the best line in the whole documentary. Bar none. (As usual.)
Here is what I wrote after I got back in October, 2005:
New Mexico After Action Report: The Magnificent Minutemen
I just returned from a week on the Mexican border with the New Mexico Minuteman Project. Based in Hachita, the New Mexico Minutemen, aided by volunteers from all over the country-- Washington state to Georgia, Alabama to Pennsylvania and Florida to California-- spend their time broiling by day and freezing by night trying to assist a Border Patrol whose leaders do not want their help. I led a three man recon team from Alabama but this is not about our story, it is about theirs.
Hachita was chosen by the Minutemen because it lies at the junction of Routes 9 and 81 and is the freeway interchange for most of the human and drug smuggling in New Mexico. The Border Patrol maintains a daylight crossing point at Antelope Wells further to the south on 81. Once across the border, this road leads to Mexican Route 2 and Chihuahua State. Route 2 more or less parallels the border as it swings through Little Nogales and Janos before ending at Ciudad Juarez, opposite El Paso. As far as New Mexico is concerned it is the lower nexus of the Ho Chi Minh trail, with all the traffic headed north this time.
The country here is one of savage beauty and frankly alien to this Alabama boy's eyes. Volcanic mountains jut starkly up from a plain that is already a mile above sea level. The Big Hatchet mountains tower some 8440 feet. It is a harsh land where contact with every bush can draw blood from the unwary and where some of the vegetation seems to have leapt from the drawing pad of Dr. Seuss. It is a land of rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, scorpions and tarantulas. The first day we were there, the ambient temperature on our Blazer's dash readout was 90 degrees. That night it got down to 45.
As far as volunteers go, the Minutemen weren't much to look at. Just average folks of the kind you might see at a ball game anywhere. The oldest fellow I met was a Navy radio operator in WWII, flying PBM patrol planes. Now this Georgian was back for one more war because his country needed him.
And it is a war, make no mistake. Most people who admit there is a "War on Drugs" shrink from applying the same terms to illegal immigration, but the two are indissolubly linked. The old Miami Vice model of huge shipments of dope hardly obtains anymore. The risks to the cartels of seizure are too great. Nowadays, they count on thousands upon thousands of lowly mules who filter across our border. Once they make their drops, they are free to continue on into the land of plenty. No, there is nothing benign about illegal immigration.
The locals, those who do not make a living profiting from this trade, live in a state of suspended fear. If they keep their heads down and their mouths shut, the contrabandistas will allow them to live. If they do not, their cattle turn up dead, their stock ponds poisoned, their houses and barns burned. Still there are the quietly courageous who support the Minutemen openly and dare the contrabandistas to do anything about it.
As for the volunteers, there is little to recommend Hachita as a vacation spot. On vigil by night, freezing despite thermal underwear, they fall exhausted into Korean War vintage tents for a couple hours sleep before the baking sun awakens them and they are forced to flee their cots. For those of us who slept on the concrete floor of the somewhat cooler Hachita Community Center, we had to share it with tarantulas and deadly scorpions, forcing us to check our bedrolls and boots morning and night.
Numbering only a few dozen, in the first five days we were only credited by the Border Patrol with 8 capture assists, a mere fraction of the traffic we knew from local knowledge was passing through here. For all of the misery the Minutemen suffered in accomplishing it, it seemed like a pitiful payback. A few grew discouraged and left. But as time went on we noticed something: none of our captures were occuring at night during our line operations, all had been chance encounters during the day. And we noticed something else: wherever we would set up, the Border Patrol would set up in front of us, and the Mexican Federales would set up in front of them on their side of the border. It was as if both governments were telling the contrabandistas "Minutemen here, do not cross." This impression was solidified in my mind on the last night line operation the Alabama team participated in. Just after dark, a Border Patrol vehicle came down the fence line with its brights on and highlighted our camouflaged position. Shortly thereafter, my assistant team leader with excellent Generation 3 night vision spotted an infrared strobe marking our position several hundred yards in advance of our line. All night long, on both sides of the border, the forces of the US and Mexican governments displayed flashing lights so that anyone would know not to come through there,
Frustrating? Yes. But then it began to dawn on some of us: we few dozen volunteers were forcing the governments of two nations (as well as the minions of the largest economic enterprise on the planet) to dance to OUR tune. With this knowledge, we began to tailor our operations to take advantage of that fact. And while I am back in Alabama, the Minutemen volunteers are still interdicting that part of the border, mindful of their new power to call the tune.
History, for good or ill, is made by determined minorities. Never was that truer than among that small band of New Mexico Minutemen. They were dirty, unshaven and exhausted on their best day. They didn't look like much more than a small convention of the homeless. But by their presence and their gritty determination they were calling the shots on the border. They were pitiful, they were magnificent. I am proud to have known them and to have served with them. And if we can find more of their kind, we just might be able to save the country.
Alabama Minuteman Support Team
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126
Blockading trade in agricultural goods and labor, just like the Union did to the Confederacy after the South wouldn't pay the North's protection money. Infringing voluntary free trade in anything is always and everywhere wrong. If goods don't cross borders, armies will. The Minutemen want bigger government. The Mexican drug cartels want smaller government, and are succeeding at getting it.
Not sure what is happening and if it is intended or not but the audio seems somewhat messed up. There is an echo with around a second or so's delay in the audio track and it makes listening to the dialog impossible for me.
I have no idea what Anon at 08:30 on 9/29 was intending but it reads awfully similar to gibberish to me. The minutemen do NOT want bigger government, they just want government to do its job and protect the borders. Goods crossing borders at other than lawful points is smuggling and is a crime. People crossing borders at other than lawful entry points is illegal immigration and also is a crime. What part of smuggling and illegal immigration could logically be considered part of "free trade"?
Bad Cyborg X
To Anon 8:30
What the Minutemen would like as most Patriots would is for the Federal Government to do the job/s that is Constitutionally assigned to it. Not More Not Less.
"Infringing voluntary free trade in anything is always and everywhere wrong. If goods don't cross borders, armies will."
Bull shit. Free trade my ass!
In what? Drugs? Illegal aliens? Tuberculosis? Human sex slaves? Al-Queda infiltrators? "Free trade" in legal goods is hardly to be found in the border crossings. Legal goods have little trouble getting over on trucks and barges and is not infringed. What you want is free trade HOWEVER THE OTHER GUY DICTATES. We have the right and responsibility to protect our borders as we see fit, since this is US SOIL, not Mexican.
"The Minutemen want bigger government. The Mexican drug cartels want smaller government, and are succeeding at getting it."
Uhmmm, NO, we DON'T. Most of my MM brothers are Tea Party people as well. Bigger government is most definitely NOT for us. What we want is a freaking government that will enforce the (Constitutional) laws already on the books, and shut down the influx of those that will deny US our Constitutional rights, first in mind being the right to vote, which very often is nullified by the illegal aliens. We want government to stop the crap they are engaged in and get going on what's right.
What the pro-illegal-imigration people want is open borders, easy citizenship, welfare for "poor farm workers" and every penny I can't see at any given moment. They can go screw themselves. I'm the son of an immigrant that did it the right way, and paid for it. It's possible, doable and RIGHT. Screw all of them that disrespect our borders and laws, and want sympathy.
While we're on it, I might as well address "comprehensive immigration reform". Do piss on my leg and call it a gift. This stuff is nothing less that AMNESTY, which will overnight, nullify 20,000,000 American votes. It's a huge VOTER REGISTRATION drive. It's bull shit, and I will never agree with it.
one thing that could really be very effective in reducing some of the lawlessness on the border, but seems to be taboo for all establishment politicians to speak on is to reform america's federal drug laws. decriminalization of marijauna would in my opinion reduce the market here in the states for the contraband that comes from the south. as far as the other drugs(coke, heroin, etc), the amount of users is statistically pretty minute. Im not saying that cannibis legalization would SOLVE our southern border problem, but I think that it might very well alleivate it
I'll never forget Chris "Big Boots" Burgard in Hatchita,NM. With his big red boots and his "Tim McCoy" big white hat. I thought to myself - "This clown HAS to be from California..." And yes, he really was from California.
Enough with the fun... As it turns out he makes really good documentaries. Thanks Chris. Job well done.
Here, let me make some historically-relevant edits for you:
COTTON (Confederacy) and GUNS (WWII) crossing borders at other than lawful points is smuggling and is a crime. NEGROS (Confederacy) and JEWS (WWII) crossing borders at other than lawful entry points is illegal immigration and also is a crime. What part of smuggling and illegal immigration could logically be considered part of "free trade"?
I'm not claiming that lower class Mexicans seeking work and welfare and a land of opportunity is morally the same as middle class Jews fleeing Nazi genocide. But aren't the two moral situations at least cousins? Closer than cousins? There were 25 genocides in the 20th century. Historically, the economic refugee situation often grows smoothly into the genocide refugee situation. The first wave of refugees leaving Iraq when the US first bombed the cities were the upper middle class professionals. Some Brits wrote a book about it.
The Minutemen DO want bigger government, they want government to do more active control and management of the economy than it is doing today. The Constitution set up bigger and more intrusive government than the Articles of Confederation, too. If we can't agree on the plain facts about what is and is not bigger government, how can we even think about more subtle problems?
I am a libertarian, not a liberal. I do want open borders. I do not want the existing taxes or more taxes. I do not want the existing welfare or more welfare. I do not want the existing rule-by-majority-vote or rule by some voting majority that is modified by the addition of 20 million illegal immigrants. The advertising brochure for Communism reads that the public can vote to take and spend anyone's money. As long as you're doing Communism, which means voting, there will not be a solution to the problems of Communism.
Another response to anon---
"I do not want the existing rule-by-majority-vote or rule by some voting majority that is modified by the addition of 20 million illegal immigrants."
I'm assuming that at times you do wake up from your dream world... don't you? Your quote above IS REALITY whether you like it or not. THEY will VOTE you into an ever deeper life of servitude and control. I understand all of the tenets of libertarianism. But for me libertarianism stops at three places -- Entry to my person, my property and my country.
Being principled is admirable, but not if it gets you and the others around you enslaved. If you Libertarians could get off the ideologue train for just a few minutes then maybe together we could stop the onslaught of the collectivist hordes. But no... we have to sit here and listen to this BS about how we want big government and how we hate brown people.
Miguel De La Flores
Show me, Constitutionalists, where Congress has the authority to ban narcotics, in Article 1 Section 8?
I have an idea, to frustrate the U.S. Border Patrol helping the Smugglers.
Find what type of strobe was used by the Border Patrol. Buy the same kind and place them all along the border where ever it is easy to cross.
The Smugglers will not know where the Minutemen are, or where the Boarder Patrol has set up.
"Your quote above IS REALITY whether you like it or not. THEY will VOTE you into an ever deeper life of servitude and control."
Miguel, of course it is reality. But here is another piece of reality: a principled vote against a Communist is about a useful as a restraining order against a wife-beating man. It seems impossible in all real world political systems to vote yourself to liberty. Voting only ratchets one way, in the direction of collectivist evil.
"Being principled is admirable, but not if it gets you and the others around you enslaved."
I see no contradiction between libertarian principles and fighting slavery. I'm not the one telling you that voting can lead to liberty.
"If you Libertarians could get off the ideologue train for just a few minutes then maybe together we could stop the onslaught of the collectivist hordes. But no... we have to sit here and listen to this BS about how we want big government and how we hate brown people."
If what you wanted was to stop the onslaught of the collectivist hordes, you and a few million friends could do that in a week, peacefully, by just stopping paying taxes. Entrepreneurs could be breaking ground on ten new oil refineries by Christmas. You don't even have to wait until the "November elections", you can organize it this weekend.
Why don't you do that?
No, really, why won't you do that?
Since you don't seem to want to beat collectivism the easy, cheap, peaceful, principled way by rejecting it, I have to wonder if your true goals are something other than liberty.
Libertarians talk too much, I hear you. But these essays get the subtleties correct: http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/anarchist.html and http://www.wendymcelroy.com/hitler.htm.
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