“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Minuteman Project: A neighborhood watch on the Southern Border.

The Minuteman Project became active in early 2005, under the leadership of Jim Gilchrist.  The object was to draw attention to the poor state of immigration control on the border. It was also hoped that the activities sponsored by the group would provide some positive press coverage that conservative politicians could use as cover for enacting more stringent controls along that borer.

Immediately, The Minuteman Project became a primary target of Morris Dee and his so called "Southern Poverty Law Center."  Every effort was made to portray the members of the group in negative connotations, and to intimidate members so they would withdraw from active participation.

When Gilchrist attempted to speak at different venues to which he had been invited, crowds of "students" armed with soda cans full of marbles attacked the vehicles of his party.  This occurred on a number of occasions and the  turmoil resulted in fewer invitations to speak.  Individuals in opposition to the movement would mob Gilchrist's vehicle,  fall down in front of it when the police attempted to clear a path, have themselves taken to the hospital and then try to press charges for "assault."

Despite all this, and one particularly unpleasant incident at Columbia University at which the protesters prevented Gilchrist and a black speaker from taking the podium, chanting racial epithets and mobbing the stage,  actual deployment of the observation teams progressed.

Gilchrist received vocal support from Arnold Schwarzenegger, then Governor of California, and from other conservative groups and politicians.  His primary source of support, however, remained common citizens from all walks of life and every strata of society.

The size of the observation teams varied, depending on time and location.  Initially, the people going out received a number of training sessions to insure that everyone understood the rationale and methodology of the group.  After completion of the training sessions,  a designated section of the border was then "spotted' by the volunteers.  American flags were displayed prominently, as there was no desire for an inadvertent "meeting engagement" between the observation teams and human traffickers or drug runners.  Although most observers were unarmed,  many of the law enforcement personnel who participated on their own time, and many of the veterans who supported the movement, were armed on an open carry basis.

While radio communications with local Border Patrol units were maintained, and observers did report incidents of illegal border crossing, there was never any real belief that the deployment of volunteer teams would have a practical impact on illegal border crossings.  Rather, the primary impetus for the movement remained drawing public attention to the flood of illegals coming across the porous Southern border of the United States.

However, the Minuteman activities in 2006 were instrumental in bringing to a halt a joint program between the Mexican government and a U.S. based organization called "Humane Borders." Operating in conjunction with one another, the Mexican government provided maps to would be illegal immigrants, which showed routes into the country, water stations, rescue towers and other useful sites. For their part, the members of "Humane Borders" manned these installations in order to aid and abet illegal immigration into the U.S.  After the Minutemen observation groups drew attention to these activities, the Mexican government withdrew from their association with "Humane Borders."

The Minuteman project began to suffer growing pains.  An independent group using the Minuteman name produced fake videos purporting to show Minuteman members shooting down illegal immigrants. At first the main stream media gave much air time to these videos, until it was shown that they were faked. A splinter group called "The Mountain Minutemen" produced the videos because they were "bored" and because they felt widespread dissemination of the apparent killings might deter would be illegals.

By 2010 the Minuteman Project had splintered, Gilchrist had been overthrown as leader of the movement by a board of directors, and was busily suing the board to force his return. The movement was no longer hot news, donations and volunteers became scarce, and interest faded.  They may still exist but I haven't had any contact with the organization for more than two years.

That's the thumb nail sketch, and it's provided as background to the story that follows.

My brother, T

I almost never involve myself in organizations today.  But during the late 1980's,  up through the mid 1990's, I felt differently .  I did affiliate with a number of what would now be called patriot organizations, usually in some kind of logistics aspect.  I edited and produced newsletters in some cases,  helped with other aspects of administration in others. I met some very interesting people, all across the conservative political spectrum.

My brother T, on the other hand,  was a foot soldier in conservative organizations.  He was a former Marine officer , serving as a police office in California at the time the Minutemen kicked off.  T was never one for paper pushing. He loaded up and did stints with observation teams down on the border.

He had several friends who were police officers in Arizona, Nevada and California.  Ordinarily he would fly into an airfield near the section of the border he was going to be working on, be picked up by one of these individuals, and then a group of them would go down to the area where they were expected.

 The obligatory training session took place before the teams went out on the border. Although many of the participants were going out on multiple trips, there were also people who were doing their first stint, so all had to attend. You can see, looking at this picture, that you have people from different ethnic groups, genders and backgrounds. This gives the lie to allegations that the Minuteman were "white supremacists", as they were frequently labeled by the press and left wing special interest groups. My brother is the first man on the right in this picture.

American flags prominently displayed along the portions of the border the teams patrolled served two purposes. They emphasized the patriotic  basis of the movement, and they were also intended to prevent accidental run in's with drug traffickers or the "coyotes" moving humans across the border that might lead to violence.

Like the original Minutemen,  all equipment was provided by the individuals who participated. The costs of food, lodging, transportation and any other expenses were born by the participants themselves, from their own pockets.

There was not supposed to be any interaction between participants and illegals.  The most proactive aspect of the observation teams was reporting illegals to the Border Patrol. However, the Border Patrol was vehemently opposed to the presence of Minutemen observation teams on their "turf" in most instances, and there was almost no positive contact between the Minuteman project team members and members of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Once I was reading a post on a blog, and the writer said something about "keyboard commandos". From the context, I took this to be derogatory, like "Mall Ninja."  One thing I can say about my brother, he's no keyboard commando.  When he takes up a cause, he does it all the way.  Like me, he's a lot older now, 2 years my junior, and none of us are active participants in the political scene anymore.

He's lived an active life. When he finally checks out, he'll have quite a list of adventures  behind him.


  1. It is one thing to talk about a problem. It is quite another to get out there and try to do something about it. I salute both you and your brother for having the courage of your convictions.

    1. My brother is the real deal. I did what I could to help a number of good organizations, but never took any physical risks intentionally. These days I stay completely off the sky line.

  2. It's a sad state of affairs that these volunteers were ever even needed or that things were so bad that private citizens felt they had to act on their own. Another example of the Liberal Death Cult is all it is. I can understand ignorance but I cannot understand a group actively promoting their and their children's eventual downfall.

    The Minute Man guys (and gals) deserve praise.

    1. There were some , like Arnold, who had the morale courage to be supportive. There were a lot more who privately encouraged the efforts of the volunteers but kept quiet in public. I think they did a lot of good, over all. It's a shame they fell out with each other at the top.

  3. I always wondered about the M.M. Thanks for sharing. I have long said we should put our returning military folks coming back from the sand box on the boarder to help the B.P.

    1. Rob, the feds are jealous of their little patches. They also like to flatter themselves that they are "the professionals" and everybody else will just muddy the water. To do any real good, you'd have to get rid of the current border patrol, with it's cushy niches and career bureaucrats, and build it over from scratch. I think your idea is a good one but I don't think it will happen. Besides, there are a lot of people , both Republicans and Democrats, who don't want the flow of illegals stopped. More voters for the Democrats, more cheap labor for big business, which pleases many Republicans.

  4. A buddy of mine was involved with the original (ok, not the original original) MinuteMen back in the 1960's. They were an armed right-wing organization that was formed to counter the armed left-wing organizations of the day (SLA, Weather underground, etc.) He said that back in those days it wasnt far-fetched to imagine a shooting war between the left and the right...nothing was off the table back in those days. In my time here in Montana I've met quite a few of the 'big names' in the 'Patriot' movement and a lot of quieter, unknown organizations. No matter what the times are, good or bad, there's always someone forming a group for some reason or another.

    1. I expect different groups have used the Minuteman "logo" since at least 1776.

      The actual name of this outfit was the Minuteman Project but of course everybody just shortened it to the "Minutemen".

      There are still a lot of different outfits around, of all different types and persuasions. You just don't hear abou them as much because the FBI has islamic terrorism to justify budget line items so they don't have to the the Ruby Ridge or Waco scenario on people like they did back then.

  5. Harry,


    Yeah' living down here near the border, I got some stories to tell. There is one Minuteman like organization down in the South Texas Valley region that seems to have a pretty good setup.
    I think the government not enforcing border and immigration laws makes it a 'lost cause'
    Nothing will ever happen. Business leaders like Bill Gates want the cheap, sweatshop slave labor and the Democrats want voters. There is a whole business sub-culture that panders to the illegal alien, like check cashing businesses, payday loans with high interest rates, etc. etc.
    The illegals are being mainstreamed into society and lowering the standard of living for every American citizen.

    The only real hope on the horizon is a "massive economic collapse" (I am being Sarcastic or course with that statement) that will be so bad that Americans will be almost starving in the streets. The feds will be forced to deport illegal aliens. The American voters will demand mass deportations in order to provide jobs for American citizens.

    I really don't want to see an 'economic collapse' but I think its inevitable. Then the knee jerk reaction will be to go after the non-producer's, illegal aliens, etc.

    Here in Texas we can expect even more border crime and more 'old school, wild west styled 'justice and the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) will go bat shit crazy on Texas, but things will be so 'jacked up' in D.C. (and Broke) they wont be able to do anything about it.
    Visualize Russia in the early and mid-1990's and how broke the Russians were and career Russian military officers were being paid every three months (if they were lucky) and all the anarchy that was going on in Russia at the time. That's what will happen to our country. I expect huge numbers of Border Patrol and Homeland Security to be laid off and most border enforcement will be thrown back at the states. At that point, civilians with AR-15's will be actively shooting illegal aliens and drug runners, and in many cases volunteer posse's will be formed and border incursions into Mexico by American civilians going after Mexican Bandits will be the plan of the day.

    I hate saying this, but capture several "Coyotes, Cartel Drug Runners and Gang Members" and ride into any Mexican village and hang them from tree's by the neck and leave them there to rot and the Mexican villagers will get the idea real fast not to jump the border and commit crimes.

    It will be the 19th century all over again.

    I really don't want to see this come to play but history has a really bad habit of repeating itself and only a short sighted fool (or politician) can't see things for what they really are (or how they things can come to pass)

    1. I remember the Minuteman project from years back. The government used the recent sequester to allow illegal aliens captured before to be released on their own 'recognizance', the claim was lack of funds did not allow them to be humanely fed and kept.


      Now, they just release them. I don't get it - if they aren't going to be deported, THEN WHY ARE WE PRETENDING TO CAPTURE THEM IN THE 1ST PLACE ? Just wasting money and effort - it does not make any sense.

    2. I'm not at all sure what the future holds. I tend to think that things will just continue to deteriorate until we are living in a third world country, and we'll go out with a whimper, not a bang. Either way, there's no really bright light on the horizon that I can see.

    3. Unless there is some negative aspect to being in this country illegally, they'll just keep flooding across the border. Buying them a plane ticket back to Costa Rica hasn't' kept anyone from coming right back that I'm aware of.

    4. Anon here again - more of the same, yesterday's news here on border. Now they cross and PURPOSELY get captured by border patrol, a fast track to citizenship.


  6. I'm not a real patriot person. Maybe I'm that way because of the world we live in today. Google wants to gather your every move. The government wants to listen in on your phone calls if/when needed. Nothing seems private, or free any longer. It's been that way for a long time.

    1. That's all the more reason to stand up and be counted whenever, and wherever you can. I'm proud to consider myself a patriot, a constitutionalist, a prepare, whatever the label may be.

      I always think that I can be the one person to make a difference, sway someone, make a change. Sure, it doesn't work often (or ever) but being the silent minority has never worked out well it seems.

    2. Alisa, I can remember when people who said the government was monitoring our communications and spying on citizens illegally were rediculed as tin hat crazies. Now we know it was all true, and more. I can see why , with a family and especially with small children, you need to stay clear of any political involvement. I don't know that I've ever done any good with anything I tried to do in that regards, but I did try for a long time.

  7. Great story, thanks for sharing. It's a reminder to stand up for what you believe in, what you think is right.
    Even if nobody else thinks so.

    I for sure know what that is like.

    1. "the nail that sticks up gets hammered the hardest."

      I agree with you Max, it's just a matter of how much blood, sweat and treasure you want to pour into something. You do so in the full knowledge you'll never recoup any of it and probably won't stop the rot, either.

  8. Wow. I guess some people really take action when they find a problem. Thanks for the story and all the history behind it.

    1. That's the old school philosophy, Lady L. I don't know that many people feel that way today.