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The Passion of Minuteman Chris Simcox

Dave Eberhart, NewsMax.com  

[COMMENT:  I am not sure of the religion (if any) of Chris Simcox.  But this is a wonderful story of Godly rugged individualism.  I feel much better about America knowing that people like him are at work here. 

Christians ought to be the most rugged of all individuals.  To be an adult in the world, you must be a child in God.  Not soloists, not self-centered, but men who can stand up anywhere, anytime, with anyone, and be real persons, with truth and grace.  That is part of the power of the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost. 

Pray that our spiritual leaders will find some of that power of the Holy Spirit, that there will be men who will say (out loud), "Jesus is Lord" with as much courage and grace as Chris Simcox works to defend our borders.

The day is coming when Christians in America will rediscover their backbones, and will learn again what "No you won't, not with my people!" means.    E. Fox]

The Southern Poverty Law Center once described controversial Minuteman Civil Defense Corps founder, Chris Simcox, 45, as "a relentless self aggrandizer who comes across with a smug egotism and fiery conviction of a former nobody."

But after a couple of up-close-and-personal sessions with the man whose "Minuteman Movement" has spawned 34 chapters in 30 states, a political action committee, and what Simcox sees as the basis and impetus for a national third party, NewsMax found that the only two words in that line of vitriol that truly apply to the soft-spoken man are "relentless" and "conviction." 

That relentless conviction has deep and abiding roots that Simcox stated came to crystallization when he was privileged to know U.S. Park Ranger Kris Eggle, who served at southern Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

A hero to all who believe that securing the borders is critical to national security, Eggle was shot and killed in the line of duty on Aug. 9, 2002 while pursuing - in tandem with the U.S. Border Patrol - members of a drug cartel hit squad that fled into the United States after committing a string of murders in Mexico.

It was Eggle who most inspired Simcox when he was still struggling to define the best way he could serve his country in the post-9/11 war on terrorism.

"I guess the moment that really struck me was talking to a park ranger in Oregon Pike park, an astute dedicated young man who I questioned about all of these illegals and drug dealers coming through the park," recounted Simcox.

That prescient park ranger was Kris Eggle.

Simcox said he was dumfounded as he listened to the young ranger lament that the drug runners "just laugh at us; they run circles around us."

Eight months later, Eggle was dead, gunned down in a hail of AK-47 fire when the outlaw Mexican nationals' vehicles got stuck in the sand and they bailed out with automatic weapons blazing.

"We have terrorism in this country that comes across that border every day," Simcox warned.

That's the message Simcox said he must hammer home to the American people - the hard, fast, gritty truth that the danger is clear and present.

"Listen," he confided, "the park rangers in Big Ben and the park rangers in Coronado National Monument in Arizona - they wear full body armor and carry AR-15s. That is how dangerous it is. That is what it has become. Our border is an absolute war zone."

Simcox's words are certainly not weak, but laughing, he explained how he apparently regularly disappointed the media.

"I can't tell you how many interviews I have done that have never seen the light of day because they didn't get what they wanted. You know, they interview you, hoping that you are going to be a wild-eyed anti-government militia leader.

"And then they find you to be very conscientious and logical and pragmatic about things, and that is not what they want to portray. They want the sensational story and information that they can malign the movement with.

"Recently I did an hour-long interview for ?Good Morning America' and it never saw the light of day because they didn't get what they wanted. There was another one with Geraldo [Rivera] recently that they canned."

The fact of the matter is that Simcox just doesn't have the background that breeds a fanatic.

His father is a no-nonsense Goldwater-Republican Navy veteran who still raises and lowers a flag over his home as if he were the ensign at the stern of the supply ship he once served aboard as a boiler man.

Simcox said his father, Paul, was in boot camp when the Korean War came to an end. He went on to become a small arms machinist at the Rock Island Arsenal. "He built small arms for the government after that for most of his career."

"He's one of the truest patriots you can imagine in this country, and that is where I got a lot of my values and ideals from," he proudly told NewsMax.

Simcox earned a bachelor's degree in human development and education from L.A.'s Pacific Oaks College.

He taught public school for one year and decided it "was a waste of time." He blames the initial raw experience on serving at a "very bad" high school in South Central L.A.

Later, Simcox taught at a more safe and sane private school - kindergarten through third grade - for over a decade.

His interest in education lingers. "I am passionate about fixing our broken education system in this country - as much as I am about broken border security," he said.

He perhaps names his own poison as he talked politics with NewsMax: "I'm disgusted with both parties. This country is sorely in need of an independent third party and I see that movement growing around the country."

He feels anger toward anyone who is for the immigration bill.

"And they are all guilty -- any one of those 50 [senators] that voted ?yes' for that horrible piece of legislation [the immigration bill]. They should all be put on notice that they better start making retirement plans because I think that the American people are going to respond with vengeance at the ballot box."

Simcox was serious when he confessed that he thinks the Minuteman Movement could end up morphing or developing into that independent third party - which, in his opinion, a frustrated electorate is looking for in this country.

But the man who describes his present occupation as "political activist" is a reluctant rebel: "I would rather see the Republican Party reform itself and get back to the business that it used to be known for: small government, individual rights, states' rights . . ."

So just how did this mild-mannered school teacher make the journey to where he is now?

In the immediate wake of 9/11, he felt compelled to serve his country in some context. He approached the Army, but at 40 years-old, they discouraged him from joining: "It was the first real hit to my self esteem as a male that I am told that I was too old to do something when I can still run circles around most guys half my age ..."

About a week after Sept. 11, he went on a retreat to contemplate what had happened and to re-figure what he was going to do with his life.

"It was right there," he recounted. "It was when I was camping in the Oregon Pipe park. I was hiking one afternoon and I encountered a group of about 75 people trudging through the park, through the back country."

It was his first contact with illegals.

Within a three-day period he recalls encountering over 300 notorious trespassers - including, incredibly, vehicles loaded with drugs escorted by paramilitary-type soldiers carrying automatic weapons.  

". . . if drug dealers can openly enter - cross our borders carrying automatic weapons to bring drugs and other contraband - it doesn't give you a whole lot of confidence that our government is going to be able to stop a resourceful terrorist," Simcox said.

It was in this same period that Simcox had his profound conversations with the doomed Kris Eggle.

Between Eggle and what he had seen with his own eyes, he made the fateful decision that he wanted to investigate this issue of illegals. That would be his calling. So he returned to Los Angeles, packed up his belongings and returned to the border - where he lived and observed for the next three months.

"I toured that border from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean," Simcox describes. "I met with ranchers. I talked with local land owners. I talked with law enforcement. That is when I discovered that the border with Mexico was out of control. That it was absolutely a war zone and it was controlled by criminal cartels. I put two-and-two together and said this is the greatest threat to national security and we need to do something about it."

The next step was serendipitous, albeit fateful.

Simcox ended up at Tombstone, Ariz. "absolutely by chance." While sitting in a local café reading the local newspaper, he spied a help-wanted ad for an assistant editor for the local newspaper, The Tombstone Tumbleweed: "That is when I decided to go to work as a journalist so that I could begin at least writing about this. It would be way to get the message out . . ."

Just three months later, he used his life's savings to purchase the newspaper and he settled into Tombstone life.

It was then 2002, and for the first months of his newspaper enterprise, Simcox didn't write a word about illegal immigration: "I gave the town the best hometown newspaper that it has had since that paper started. That was my goal, first to give the town a good newspaper and to learn the trade and learn the profession. I didn't write my first article about illegal immigration until July."

It was then that he created a section of the paper that he called "Borderline Politics."

In that modest four-page pull-out section of the newspaper, he featured a series of editorials and began covering the local and national issues concerning the broken border.

By October of 2002, six months into the newspaper adventure, Simcox developed the idea of a civilian border watch group. He worked with local law enforcement, contacted the FBI, consulted with military veterans and crafted the first model for his watchers.

He used his newspaper to announce the formation of "Civil Homeland Defense," and he quickly recruited and trained about 400 volunteers to work exclusively in Arizona and in Cochise County.

Civil Homeland Defense began assisting the U.S. Border Patrol: "I created the standard operating procedures, you know, the rules of engagement and the whole thing, and we worked quite successfully until October of 2004 . . ."

Enter Jim Gilchrist.

Gilchrist, a retired military man and accountant, approached Simcox with an idea about holding a 30-day protest on the border. Gilchrist wanted Simcox to supervise it, using the infrastructure that he had already built.

After months of negotiation and planning, the new team named the protest the "Minuteman Project." Both men took to the field to recruit volunteers for this month-long political protest on the border. As planned, the Civil Homeland Defense served in support.

It was a great success and at the end of April, Simcox and Gilchrist decided to join forces. "Minuteman" was added to the name and it became the "Minuteman Civil Defense Corps."

The original idea was that Gilchrist would concentrate on going after the offending employers who were making the homeland attractive to the illegals in the first place.

Gilchrist planned on using retired Immigration and Naturalization Service personnel and attorneys to unleash the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act on the employers. Simcox was to continue and expand the border watch operations. But in May of last year, the plans fell apart and the team broke up.

"Jim disappeared," Simcox explained. "We didn't hear from him. He just went into hiding. He was tired; he was burned out; he wanted to go home and decide what to do next." But Gilchrist soon got a second wind and ended up running for Congress.

The Constitution Party supported Gilchrist in 2005 when he ran as an independent to take over the seat of Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif., who resigned to become chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Committee.

Simcox came and helped out Gilchrist's campaign for a month. In the end, however, Gilchrist received 25.5 percent of the vote in the general election, losing to Republican John Campbell.

Afterward, they agreed to incorporate their groups and share the name Minuteman, borrowed from the storied rapid response elements of the pre-U.S. Revolutionary War colonial militias.

Gilchrist now heads the Minuteman Project, his own 501(c) (4) not-for-profit, tax exempt organization, which he says is "not a call to arms, but a call to voices seeking a peaceful and respectable resolve to the chaotic neglect by members of our local, state and federal governments charged with applying U.S. immigration law."

In the latest development, Gilchrist announced that he is considering a run for president in 2008, again representing the Constitution Party - if Rep. Tom Tancredo does not run.

Last month he met with the party's national committee.

Enforcement against the employers never got off the ground, but the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) rapidly grew into what Simcox styled as "a huge national organization - beyond my wildest expectations."

MCDC is officially a project of the Declaration Alliance - a public policy and issues advocacy organization that "aggressively addresses the intensifying assaults that the American Republic continues to endure - at home, and abroad." Declaration Alliance is also a not-for-profit, tax exempt organization.

It is now 7,400 volunteers strong and growing.

Simcox describes that over time MCDA has turned into much more than a citizens' border watch.

"We have developed a PAC, a political action committee," he says. "We have really become a political movement, and we are continuing to develop."

Simcox leaves no doubt where he stands on the recently passed Senate immigration bill: "The vote to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens by the United States Senate, should it pass into law, would ensure that the status quo is maintained - the borders would remain wide open and the attractive nuisance of endless welfare and social programs at the expense of the American taxpayer would remain."

In a nutshell, the Senate bill provides for enhanced border and workplace enforcement, a temporary worker program, and a pathway to citizenship for most illegal immigrants who have been in the United States at least two years. Those who came into the country after January 2004 would be ineligible for legal status - as would felons or those convicted of three or more misdemeanors.

The House bill passed in December features no path to legal residency or citizenship for illegal immigrants. Furthermore, it contains no provision for any new temporary guest-worker program.

"The U.S. Senate just left America vulnerable to a tsunami of migrants at the border . . ." Simcox said.

Simcox said he and his organization will now focus their attention on the House of Representatives where he does not expect amnesty to pass.

Meanwhile, Simcox savors each small victory.

Last summer, he and team members met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry's staff: "It was a very productive sit-down meeting that led to easing the tensions and their concerns about us. We have much support from the governor's office in Texas now."

Simcox was also pleased with the $10 million earmarked for hiring more State Police and basically developing a task force to assist the border patrol. But in the final game plan, Simcox wants tens-of-thousands of troops committed to the borders, "backed with a firm edict from the leader of the free world saying, ?No mas,'" he said.

Simcox also appreciates the support he has rallied: Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., recently endorsed MCDC, saying: "I think citizen groups such as the Minutemen are critical until the federal government assumes full responsibility for controlling our borders and eliminating illegal entry & residence in the USA."


America's US Border Patrol is the thin green line of men and women who protect America's borders. They struggle to do their job with fewer resources than any similar service in the world. They guard the 6,000 miles of our border with one tenth as many people as are in the New York City police department.

They stand alone. More than 1,000 have been killed or wounded protecting America.

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