Arizona Borderlines Face Vigilantism

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Imagine ordinary citizens who have no policing experience, paramilitary enthusiasts, apprehend people at gunpoint for jaywalking or staying out past curfew.

A scenario of people as unqualified as ordinary civilians committing such outrageous acts is unbelievable, but that is somehow taking place in Arizona’s Cochise County in the Tuscon Sector of the U.S/Mexican borderline.

Average citizens are volunteering in Tombstone, Ariz., armed with handguns and rifles to stop what their leader Jim Gilchrist, a veteran of the Vietnam War, considers an invasion.

But the invaders Gilchrist is looking to stop are not aliens from outer space or soldiers from a foreign country; hell, they aren’t even armed. These so- called invaders are actually illegal immigrants attempting to cross into the U.S. from Mexico.

Illegal immigration is not the issue. Crossing a borderline or moving into a country by breaking the rules must remain impermissible for myriad reasons. The controversy in this case is not the prevention of illegal immigration, but the tactics citizens are using to enforce the rules.

The Tuscon Sector happens to be known as the border-crossing capital of the world, with
71,282 illegal immigrants
caught between 2004 and
2005 alone, according to

With such numbers, there is no second guessing why a group of volunteers calling themselves the Minute Men have decided to base themselves in Tombstone.

The organization is fighting an invading force? That sounds like a job for the military and not for gun-toting civilians.

The Minute Men are spreading vigilantism. They have been denounced as vigilantes by Bush and have even lost Schwarzenegger’s favor. According to, Schwarzenegger, who has called himself a hero of immigrants, last week spoke of his adoration for them a day after praising the Minute Men.

Something is definitely wrong when two very influential, Republican leaders go against a group of conservatives.

To add to this ticking time bomb of disaster is the Minute Men’s lack of training. The organization has no history of training in the detainment or prevention of illegal immigration. The Minute Men don’t even have a direct connection with the border patrol.

The American Civil Liberties Union is monitoring the Minute Men for misconduct in the field, but will that be enough?

A few hundred vigilantes cannot be monitored thoroughly if they do not work for anyone but themselves. They have no internal affairs office and have no one to follow or take orders from.

Oh well, it seems that any group of people not trying to look amateur can attempt to resemble a paramilitary organization with rifles, patches and tags that read “don’t tread on me” and “give me liberty or give me death.”

All people south of the border were probably chanting the same slogan before the U.S purposely bullied Mexico into a war (1846-1848), invading all of its northern territories, one of which included Arizona.

How can a volunteer know how to properly detain an illegal immigrant, especially one who is ready to cross the border at all costs or is found half-dead from countless days of traveling, without any training?
Neo-Nazis have even been spreading literature on how to volunteer across the Internet, most of which have encouraged their fellow Aryan soldiers to join the cause.

Imagine the duties a skinhead would perform for his/her country when joining the good fight against immigrants. What these vigilantes call a duty to their country is an open invitation for racism and unpredictable mishaps.

These people are unqualified for the job and will only make a bigger mess for law enforcement.

A better question to ask is, why the Mexican/American border? Why don’t they span to all border fronts? Mexicans aren’t the only immigrants who come into this country illegally. Or why don’t they join the border patrol legally if they are so passionate?

Most of the Minute Men have gone on record claiming that a benefit to volunteering is the reduction of jobs stolen from crossing immigrants. But it is the employers that hire illegal immigrants who bear responsibility. They should be held accountable and not the immigrants who are given the jobs.

The Minute Men are armed with an array of firearms claiming that they carry their guns to protect themselves. What an insult added to injury. What next, an M1A2 Abrams tank to solve a civil dispute?

Imagine if all citizens began to carry firearms to solve political issues. The streets of L.A would then rival those of Somalia.

These volunteers are spreading vigilantism by patrolling the Tuscon Sector, or any border for that matter.

Their lack of training in policing combined with egoes creates a volatile recipe for disaster.