A group calling itself “Patriots for America Militia” helped bulk out a crowded Kinney County Courthouse Monday afternoon, as County Commissioners met to consider public safety plans with the Sheriff and conduct other business, as the US - Mexico border crisis continues.
Up-to-date readers here at the Cavalry - Dispatch are already aware, roughly 1500 National Guardsmen are being deployed to Del Rio and Eagle Pass. It seems quite likely that in the event of trouble in Kinney County, they will be able to collapse inward and deal with it.
But, the distances involved are surely preying on the minds of many landowners and taxpayers in the County.
A man named Samuel Hall spoke for the Militia before the crowd and the Commissioners in a manner that had tones of a political stump speech— declaring he and his fellows are ready to protect Kinney County.
"We all know the National Guard wasn't sent here because there aren't enough votes in this county," said Hall, declaring that he and the others with him have been actively working elsewhere along the border to combat the sex trafficking of women and minors. "We've left our jobs, and our income," said Hall, pointing out how strongly he and his fellows believe in what they're doing. "There's no reason for Texans to be sacrificed on a political altar," he said, returning to a steady theme in his comments, indicating the belief that Governor Abbott's efforts are mostly empty gestures.
Readers may wonder, why we’re using a photo of Hall speaking to a crowd in Austin, in the picture above. Well, frankly, we were too busy scribbling notes to take pictures. And, the photo helps demonstrate that he hasn’t just sprung up out of the ground, out of nowhere. The man has something of a history and a background that can be researched online.
The Governor's Office hasn’t responded to much of this sort of criticism. But, online, he and his staffers point to the very visible surge of DPS troopers, Operation Lone Star funding, and in Kinney County, the deployment of the DPS Special Operations group, working the Spofford rail facility as demonstrations of his commitment to addressing the border crisis.
A local woman named Natanya Watkinson, also addressed the court. The mother of 9 year old twins seemed very concerned about the general safety of the county and the City of Brackettville, and how politicised the issue of border security has become. "I don't know what to believe sometimes," she said, surely speaking for many who might turn on the evening news and see coverage on some national networks suggesting the border crisis is overblown— a cheap trick by a Republican Governor to bolster sagging polls. Somehow, seeing how upset many in Kinney County are with his leadership, one doubts the Governor views the crisis as anything beneficial.
At the start of the meeting, County Attorney Brent Smith, had an update for Commissioners. So far there have been about 1200 "Operation Lone Star" arrests in Kinney County. Lone Star arrests are those under the auspices of the Governor's border enforcement initiative, charging illegal aliens with trespassing when appropriate. Mr. Smith says his office has processed about 800 cases, with the help of the Texas Border Prosecution Task Force and Mason County District Attorney Tonya Ahlscwede. Those are huge numbers for Kinney County, but they represent a very small amount of what's being seen border-wide. Commissioners voted to approve official statements of gratitude for Ms. Ahlscwede, as well as Sheriffs and Constables from Galveston County and Goliad County, who have been stalwart in sending support to the area.
Meanwhile, separately from the Militia group, Sheriff Brad Coe is proceeding with plans to deputize at least 10 reserve deputies, in accordance with the law in Texas. Following his advice, commissioners approved a process that will see them reviewing the numbers of reserve deputies and the needs of the Sheriff's office every 30 days. Right now, the Sheriff says he expects his reserve deputies will serve roughly 3-month tours of duty, though of course, much will be subject to change as the border crisis ebbs and flows.
Reserve deputies will have to pay a bond, and be subject to local government codes and background checks. The Sheriff and County Attorney both say there absolutely must be a paper trail demonstrating due diligence in the selection of reserve deputies.
The Sheriff so far isn't publicly embracing the militia folks, but also isn't keeping them any further back than arm's length, saying it will be on them to operate within the law and get permission from local ranchers to work on their property as duly appointed representatives of the land owners.
County leaders seemed much the same, “We really appreciate your offer,” said County Judge Tully Shahan, “You’re preaching to the choir,” he added, before stressing the need for all efforts to be law-abiding and conducted with special care.
Reached after the meeting, we asked what Mr. Hall might have to say in response to questions about the safety of any illegal aliens they might encounter: "We're not here to hurt anybody, we're here to help. Nobody's here to beat their chest, we're here to make a difference for these citizens and the State of Texas," said Hall.
In general terms, it is not illegal for private citizens to temporarily detain trespassers on private property, while waiting for the arrival of law-enforcement. Indeed, state laws in some cases allow the use of deadly force in the face of "mischief" after dark. But it remains a tricky area of law, and a very gray area in terms of danger and risk to anyone attempting to act.
In Arizona, militia groups that are sometimes derided as vigilantes, will typically rely on surprise and bright lights in the dark to isolate and subdue traveling groups of illegal aliens. In the past, members who have seemed too "gung ho" have been pushed out. The Arizona experience is instructive-- in at least one case, a potentially dangerous ex-member of a militia was identified by an FBI informant within the group. Ironically, the threat of undercover federal investigation seems to cause them to be fairly self-policing when someone seems too willing or eager to engage in especially dangerous or illegal situations.
There were several other reporters from area organizations present, including the Epoch Times, as well as Del Rio’s 830 Times. Youtuber and citizen journalist Anthony Aguero was also present. He livestreamed much of the meeting, though one recommends viewers fast forward a fair amount, to find a section where he was able to move his camera and get better audio. The early portions of his livestream were difficult to hear, despite the county’s investment in microphones and speakers.
See some of our earlier reporting on Aguero’s work in the Del Rio area, where he and another man heckled Al Sharpton out of town.
It is perhaps unfair to Aguero to focus on his work as a heckler, however effective it was. Find here some of his work about children going missing along the border: Aguero's Missing Children. We should also link, however, to an opinion piece by a writer named Jean Guerrero in the LA Times, suggesting Aguero is misleading those who follow him.
We also spoke with a man named Aaron Sorrells, a declared candidate for Lieutenant Governor who was in attendance.
Sorrells is a Republican businessman from Fort Worth— he echoed the Militia leader, saying situations like those here in Kinney County are a big part of why he’s running. “Dan Patrick not funding it [increased border enforcement] explains why I’m running for Lt. Governor. It’s why you’re having to fight it [the border crisis] at the county level,” he said, before continuing, “A small county like this, nobody [in Austin] gives a crap. You don’t have enough voting power and they don’t care about you.”
Others who have declared for Lieutenant Governor as Democrats, include former George W. Bush strategist and ABC News figure Matthew Dowd, and Dan Collier, who lost to Dan Patrick in 2018.
Biden Administration Conducting Midnight Flights for Unaccompanied Minors
This comes to us from the New York Post, via a tweet by the always heads-up Todd Bensman.
The Post reports that planeloads of children are being flown secretly into the Westchester area for eventual resettlement.
The charter flights originate in Texas, and have been going on since at least August, according to the Post’s reporting.
The Post estimates that so far about 2,000 illegal aliens have been flown into the area. They’ve observed two flights of mostly unaccompanied children, with a few older people in their 20s.
If you’re not already following Bensman on twitter— don’t. Don’t follow him. Leave all of his good stuff to us here at the Cavalry - Dispatch. Seriously. Don’t follow him.
There may very well be an innocent explanation for what the Post’s reporters are witnessing. Perhaps there are special facilities for unaccompanied minors in New York State. It may even be entirely possible that placing them so far to the North is meant to keep them from Cartel clutches and influence.
And finally, some thoughts: There are those in Kinney County that must surely be left uneasy about the presence and possibility of armed militia men moving about. It is only reasonable. One should be uneasy about it. This is the United States of America, for God’s sake. How on Earth has it come to this? And yet, here we are.
For citizens who have been busy raising families, showing up to work every day, and trying to find time to grill in the backyard and keep up with their friends and extended family members, all of this must seem like some kind of sudden development.
That is quite understandable. Take heart, however. One doesn’t want to impugn the Militia men who are acting out of a sense of patriotism— but given the Federal Government’s aggressive behavior in monitoring any organization willing to call itself a militia, one may feel a measure of confidence. Kinney County may not have any National Guardsmen present, but it may be safe to assume Federal Agents, or informants, are here with the Militia and monitoring the situation closely.
We're crosseyed over here, folks. No doubt, there are plenty of typos and other errors. Give us a shout if you see any. And for those who consume our work here and in the Kinney County Post, both, please-- pick up a copy of the Post. We've gone to some effort to try and differentiate our efforts in both locations.