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See Illegal Immigration and Pictures of Camp Vigilance.
Last Sunday afternoon (October 22, 2006), I drove down to the Minuteman encampment near Boulevard, CA, on the Mexican border for a two-day stint helping the Border Patrol by being an observer reporting back to their headquarters. I had been contributing to the MM for a year or more, but last week read something which prompted me to say to myself, "I got to get down there...!" Put my body where my writing is.
There are two sides (at least) to every story, and we need to take more into account than defending America. But defense of America is not a small matter. The needed defense is only partly military. The deeper sense is spiritual and cultural.
I have never been in anything more military than the boy scouts many years ago. So this was a new world for me. The MM is not militaristic, but there is a self-discipline expected, following the guidelines for behavior and working with the leadership. And potentially facing people who could be violent was a new, and invigorating, experience.
Camp Vigilance, as it was called, was on some property rented from a local RV campground. We had nothing but bare ground, no hookups, though there was an old building which had been a stagecoach stopping place, which the MM used for storage. We all brought our own food, water, and camping gear.
In order to join, they put us through a background check, and issued clear guidelines for behavior. We were not to engage any of the aliens in any way whatsoever, just observe and report. Camp Vigilance had a very good rapport with the Border Patrol, who (apart from one BP fellow, apparently) very much welcomed us there. We used our time to cover for the BP as they were changing shifts every eight hours, or when they could not cover an area. So generally we were out observing from about 9 am to 1 pm, and then from about 6 pm to 1 am.
The teamwork had been so successful that reportedly the border crossings in that area had dropped by over 80%. I did not see a single alien in my two days there. Felt like going fishing and getting skunked.
The border there had a metal fence about ten feet high, mostly in very poor repair, and not much of a block to anybody or anything. The MM had repaired some of it and put up barbed wire fencing along some of the gaps. So, apart from the presence of BP and MM, it would have been a very porous border.
I spent most of my time at a spot nicknamed "Kansas", an area around a small mountain called Border Peak. We were in high desert, which in that area meant mixed flat desert filled with sage brush and scrub bushes, dotted with mountains rising out of the flat surface. Such was Border Peak, rising in a cone I would guess 3-4 hundred feet off the floor. There was a car trail about 1/3 of the way, and then walking trail about 2/3 of the way up, from which four of us could observe a large area. I hiked up the switchback trail as far as I could go, and would have liked to get to the top, where, I was told, there were some folding chairs waiting for anyone who made it to the peak. It would have been a superb look out. But 2/3 of the way up was also excellent.
And, to be honest, my knees are not really up to that kind of climbing. Coming down is the hard part. But the one fellow who did climb all the way said he came back down to the road skidding on the seat of his pants. That could be a bit rough for 100-200 feet, but he seemed fine.
I could see for miles around over smaller hills, over the border and to the east and west. I might have hiked to the top except that I was toting a small telescope (20-60x zoom). The slope was quite steep, and lots of loose gravel and sand, so you needed both hands going up, never mind knees versus the seat of your pants coming down.
I had only a small 1-foot high table tripod which was not much help since it was not high enough to see over the bushes all around. (The picture to the left is from an email report on the few days before I came up. The scope is probably the same one I used. In my situation, the bushes were more of a problem.)
But even at its lowest power of 20x magnification, it was excellent. Above that power, the vision was too shaky and blurry without a real tripod. See pictures.
Others on the team were below me with their binoculars. We kept in touch with FRS radios (small hand-helds, like cell phones) and walkie-talkies. At night we had generation-3 night vision scopes, the best equipment there is. Amazing. Very little you could not see in the dead of night.
Another part of our crew was across a valley from Border Peak on another ridge where there were caves used by the aliens to store water and provisions. We could see BP trucks going up and down the wide path cleared on the US side of the border fence.
The previous night (Monday) two women and I had been on a lower level of the same road with the night vision scope from about 6 pm to 12 midnight. We could see the BP car lights and flashlights at a distance. A BP fellow dropped by when we radioed that we had seen lights. They told us that if we saw lights, it would be them. The aliens would not use lights at all. They said that the coyotes (guides for the aliens) knew their way around even in the dark (most of the time...).
The group was mostly men, but a surprising number of women also. Most of the participants were over fifty, I would guess. Most of the men were armed with pistols, which were to be kept holstered at all times unless you were attacked. I do not own a gun, though I was a crack shot on my high school rifle team many years ago. At least half of the women had pistols as well. One granny type (grey hair, high 70's, I would guess) had the biggest pistol I saw on a big leather belt around her waist. But there was no sense of irresponsibility on the issue. Guns were not much discussed, they were just there, like a hammer or a saw, ready if needed.
The danger was not from the illegal aliens, who wanted to avoid contact as much as possible. It was from the drug runners. M-13, a notorious drug gang, used that area as part of their passage way. But we saw no sign of them. Drug runners have been known to be violent if discovered.
The MM project is clearly a runaway success, not so much in stopping lots of aliens -- because the MM are so few. But they are proving it can be done, and putting the government to shame which refuses to do so, being held captive by the consortium of "globalist" corporations which have bought out America and its politicians for their own greed. They call it "free trade", but that, of course, is treason, in fact if not in law. The trade is free for them, not for most American small businesses which are hampered and strangled by the corporate law imposed by the big corps.
Yet the MM are having their effect even on the politicians, who this afternoon on TV seemed to be stumbling all over each other to be in favor of closing the borders. The one thing immoral politicians fear the most is an aroused citizenry.
But that "good will" will not last any longer than is politically expedient, i.e., probably not much past the coming elections. So anyone who appreciates the freedom wherewith God has set us free here in America will dig deeper into his conscience and take a stand. "Jesus is Lord" is a political claim. He means to be Lord over our politicians as well as our churches. He means to be Lord over our borders. That is not a claim for America, it is a claim (as Augustine in The City of God told the Roman Empire) for any nation which wants to survive. And it is a necessary conclusion from God being Creator and therefore Sovereign over all creation.
Thank God for the 2nd Amendment. Citizens are the chief officers of the state, and the first line of defense against tyranny. We are not the wards of the state. When the citizens no longer value their Godly freedom (not the self-destructive secular kind), tyrants, the control-minded, will soon take it away. That is why citizens need to be armed. If they are not, they will not keep control of their government. And they must keep faith with God, for only then can they hope to prevent the need for taking up arms, and, if they must, to execute their arms in a Godly way.
I am getting my own binoculars and hand radios, and
possibly a small foldout tent trailer for my VW Golf to pull. It was a
powerful experience for me, opening new doors onto my normally academic life.
I plan to be on future MM assignments as I am able -- and hope that many of you
out there will do likewise.
There is the other side to the story, of course. How are we to relate to those who are trying merely to better their lives, who are honest, hard-working people, who are a part of the long tradition of immigrants who have made America what it is?
The answer is, in one sense, simple. We are to love our neighbors just like we want to be loved, just like we love ourselves. No exceptions. We are to treat each and every person with respect and dignity, no matter how bad their behavior has been.
But love has a tough side also. Loving is not pampering. Love does not condone law-breaking, and love does not condone destructive or subversive behavior, even when done in ignorance. We must maintain our tradition of immigration, but it must be done in an ordered way.
Uncontrolled immigration leading to a large population of persons who have not assimilated to our culture will end up destroying the very thing for which the legitimate immigrants come in the first place. We will soon be no longer a nation or a culture which is of any serious benefit to immigrants.
Much of America's problem has been the systematic destruction of our Biblically based culture by secular globalists, run largely by multinational corporations, and politicians. But the deeper problem has been the Christians who have lost their own worldview and thus have no deep culture to pass on or protect. Most Americans today, including Christians, have little understanding or appreciation for the depth of the culture which we have lost and trashed. We do not know what to protect, or that anything needs protecting. Only a Judeo-Christian renewal can bring it back. Nothing else on the face of the earth can do the job.
That means a renewed understanding of the Way of the Cross as applied to both politics and science -- the two very items which Christians have badly alienated.
See Minutemen #2 & #3 & Pictures
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