Skip to content

“The orneriest white guys in the West…”

9 March 2007

… are anti-immigrant “border watchers” Chris Simcox and Glen Spencer.  Ornery, yeah… and scary, too. 

Simcox, “a baby-faced 42-year-old who previously taught kindergarten in Los Angeles at a “very high-end, wealthy private school ” moved to Tombstone Arizona after being accused of child molesting in California.  He ended up running the “Tombstone Tumbleweed,” in the tourist town, founding the Minuteman Civil Defence Corps” in 2003.

Glen Spencer, who the Wall Street Journal once called “anti-American”, because of his extremist views and ties to white supremacist groups, also moved from Los Angeles to southern Arizona in 2002.  His America Border Patrol — which sells the notion of “reconquista” (which takes as a military or political goal, the notion that Mexicans plan to “reconquer” the territories ceded to the United States in 1848.  The term “Reconquista” has been used by a small California Mexican-American neo-fascist group in this senese, but it is usually used to describe survival — and growth — of a Mexican-American culture in these regions), and claims his group is “saving” the United States from invasion. 

Spencer’s “American Border Patrol” includes a “tactical operations” unit which is not much spoken of publically.  There are persistent rumors (and some evidence) that the Tac-Ops has tortured, and possibly killed, immigrants. 

Scarier still,  former Nicaraguan Contra fighter, Jack Foote, showed up in the same area in October 2003. Caroline Ovington of Australia’s “The Age” wrote about him n 2003: 

Jack Foote says he isn’t hunting humans, but it looks like he’s hunting something. He wears combat fatigues and his private army has weapons out of a Terminator movie: AK-47s and A5-15s with 520 rounds of ammunition, 40-centimetre knives and side-arms powerful enough to blow a person’s brains out.

Foote’s private army — “Ranch Rescue” — according to SPLC included “Tim Meyer, a former U.S. Customs inspector and current “private investigator”; Rusty Rossey, an ex-Marine who ran with the contras in Nicaragua and counter-insurgents in Guatemala and now runs a sniper range in Alabama; a former U.S. Special Forces soldier; and two Canadian light infantry soldiers.” 

That list of known associates made he sit up and pay attention.  XP’s ¡Para justicia y liberdad! pointed me to the 2003 SPLC report where I got the information above (and the lazy-researcher’s friend, Wikipedia) …

SPLC has documented anti-immigration vigilante acts — from beatings to shootings to threatened castrations — going back to the 1970s.  And there have been several disappearances in the area, usually chalked up to “mysteries of the desert.”  But, given Spenser’s “TacOps” unit and the very scary “Ranch Rescue” guys background, I see no reason NOT to believe there are death squads running around. 

While the better known Minutemen and American Border Patrol have come in for criticism as racist and xenophobic, it’s Ranch Rescue that goes in for the claims that the Mexican farmers and workers coming across are some part of a “Marxist” plot.  Given the background of the Ranch Rescue members who’ve been identified (a former mercenary from the Croatian Army also seems to be invovled with at least planning opertations) it wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect this group to include some spanish-speaking and “Hispanic looking” members.  There are plenty of left over Contras and Guatemalan rightists already in the United States.  And Cuban-American terrorists have a history in the United States going back to the early 1960s. 

The 2003 article mentioned an attack on unarmed immigrants, by “men in uniforms” that local authorities were loathe to blame on either of the two paramilitary groups, but which look to have been their handiwork.  At the time, the attackers were officially presumed to be “coyotes” or in the pay of Mexican gangsters.

Just like now.  And it deeply worries me.  Not from some altruistic interest in immigrant welfare (though there is that), but for purely selfish reasons as well… like surival and a peaceful, quiet life. 

The border here is relatively peaceful, for the simple reason that we’re so isolated… on both sides of the river/border and it’s extremely rugged country.  There’s huge chunks of wilderness and mountains along the Rio Grande/del Bravo and there are bears (and mountain lions, and even a few ocelots) in them thar hills. 

The migrants coming across to send home remittances (which aren’t necessarily bad for an economy) are going to keep coming even if Mexico and the U.S. restructure — the changes aren’t going to happen overnight.  But, for political reasons, we’ve pushed the migrant crossing away from populated areas… and the desert is easier to cross than the desert, mountains and wilderness here. 

We’ve had the Minutemen come down our way, but they didn’t stay. There is a business coming to stay that is in the arms business, supposedly making custom target rifles, but with a more practical military application (ok, sniper rifles and mag fed 20 mm rifles… which you could use for hunting, I suppose, but would turn an elk into fajitas at a half mile).  We’re a little too close to the border to NOT ask “why here?”, but it could very well just be because we’re the knd of folks who leave each other alone (and there aren’t a heck of a lot of us to complain).  Military weapons on a border are usually a recipe for shooting across the border… especially by less-controlled forces like smugglers and self-syled “Ranch Rescuers”… or death squads.    

With our tiny tax base (unless the recruit likes big game hunting or is an amateur geologist, our local sheriff is always going to have problems finding deputies), we can’t afford to investigate murders as it is.  Or much in the way of accidents.  A few extra dead bodies a year are gonna cost us. 

And a lot of us live here because we are kinda weird eccentrics.  While quite a few of us are are armed to the teeth, we really don’t have a huge number of crazies.  Gun collectors and hunters and even the kind of people who like shooting off cannons are as much part of the “live and let live (and stay the hell out of my way)” culture here as the river rafters, the hippies, the artists, the retired spies and the cowboys. 

And that’s the Anglo minority.  We have survivalists, but I haven’t run across any white supremacists here.  The idea seems laughable.  But then, it did in Tucson and Tombstone until recently, too. 

No comments yet

Leave a reply, but please stick to the topic

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: