TOMBSTONE — “We don’t want to hurt anybody. An illegal border crosser is guilty only of a misdemeanor; it’s not a serious crime. They’re usually so tired and hungry, they just want to go back.”
“You can’t pull a gun on them or hold them. All we have to do is call the Border Patrol,” he added.
Around 25 men and one woman gathered at the Tombstone RV Park and Resort for introductions, instructions and the night’s assignments, one in the Chiricahua Mountains and one in the Huachucas along suspected routes of illegal immigrant travel. It would be the first of many pre-operations meetings that will be held as more people come to Cochise County over the next two weeks.
Some of those gathered were from the county — Palominas, Hereford, Willcox and Sierra Vista. Others had come from as far away as Michigan and Kansas. The group, most of whom wanted to protect their identities due to sensitive jobs or retaliatory concerns, were there to help prevent the flow of illegal immigrants, not just from Mexico and the Latin American countries, but from people who could do America harm.
Davis pointed out that there are illegal immigrants from Asia who could be crossing with weapons of mass destruction, such as as dirty bombs. Their drop sites will normally be kept very clean with fresh clothes and shoes neatly piled.
Such sites from the illegal border crossers to the south may be “knee-deep in backpacks, empty water bottles, sardine and tuna cans, tacos and dirty clothing,” Davis explained. Empty cans of an energy drink (Red Bull) and even hypodermic needles holding epinephrine (another energy boost) can also be seen at some sites. Those actually add to dehydration, so many illegal border crossers can be literally dying of thirst.
“Our men have given water and food to the illegals if they need it,” he emphasized.
He did warn them of the possibility of coming upon armed drug smugglers who carry burlap bags filled with marijuana or backpacks loaded with cocaine.
Davis also gave the group log sheets so that their sightings could be recorded for later analysis and tallies of illegal immigrants that are spotted during the two-week period.
Most of the men in the group Sunday had some background in law enforcement or the military, but he gave them a copy of some Arizona statutes that would apply while in the state.
“A person is justified in using both physical and deadly force against another if and to the extent the person reasonably believes that physical force or deadly physical force is immediately necessary to prevent another’s commission of an arson of an occupied structure, burglary in the first or second degree, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, sex with a child, sexual assault, armed robbery or aggravated assault,” states statute 13-411.
Rules for firearms of the National Park Service also were supplied. A new regulation does permit a person to carry a loaded, concealed weapon as long as one has a concealed carry permit and it is done in compliance with state law. The brandishing or discharging of a firearm is permitted only in the case of self defense.
Arizona statutes for trespassing were included in the packet Davis provided, along with several translated phrases from English to Espanol.
“In eight years, the Cochise County Militia has never been painted as a hate group.” Davis said. “We don’t tolerate racism. We have a good record, and we want to keep it that way. No one with the militia has ever gotten into trouble. “
Jim Lee, in marketing and sales from Kansas City, Kansas, decided to come do his part to protect the American border with Mexico and do what he could to slow the tide of illegal immigration.
“Bill has taken me to a few drop sites, and I was surprised to see the stuff that was left behind,” said Lee, who says he is “to the right of Rush.” The hunter and outdoorsman got the message of non-violence saying, “We have no desire to cause trouble. We’re not cowboys.”
Lee did lament action by the Kansas legislature that allows scholarships for illegal immigrants.
“I can’t understand that way of thinking,” Lee added. “The government got out of the business of figuring a way to stop illegal immigration. We really need more people on the border.”
Sandy Thomas from Willcox said it was her first venture with the Cochise County Militia, but she was familiar with the problem and has seen illegal immigrants groups on roads there, but not frequently.
When asked what she thought could be done to stop illegal immigration, she replied, “That’s a tough one. We don’t need new laws. We just need to enforce the laws we have. That would be a good step.”
Just as the meeting was breaking up, a Department of Public Safety Officer who did not want to publish his name since he is an investigator, voiced his concerns of a protest rally that had been planned.
“If you see something like that, just remember they’re peaceful. They’ve got their opinion and you’ve got yours,” the officer said.
A protest had been announced by a Bisbee group and fliers were distributed, but there was no sign of them at the location.
For information about the two-week event and the militia, visit www.cochisecountymilitia.org.
Rules of engagement and standard operating procedures of Cochise County Militia:
• Militia troops are courteous to everyone with whom they come into contact, and never discriminate against anyone for any reason.
• Militia troops do not respond to any taunts or harassment from outside agitators, and must never be present for duty or serve in any capacity if intoxicated.
• Militia troops observe, report, record and direct Border Patrol or other appropriate emergency or law enforcement agencies to suspected illegal aliens or illegal activities.
• Militia troops do not verbally contact, physically gesture to or have any form of communications with suspected illegal aliens.
• Militia troops follow the standard operating procedures to the letter and spirit.
• Militia troops follow all federal, state and local laws, understanding that we are being held to a higher standard by all.
• Militia troops understand that, while our actions cannot stop illegal activities along the border, we can change world perception and national thought concerning homeland and border security.
• Militia troops monitor their behavior, the behavior of the people around them and the group as a whole to ensure compliance with the SOP and any instruction given by Militia Corps leadership.
• Militia troops leave no garbage behind and follow strict pack-in/pack-out procedures.
• Militia troops respect the property rights of everyone, start only approved fires, never drive off-road and follow the directions of all law enforcement personnel.
• If you choose to arm yourself, you will do so for the purpose of self defense only; you will never have to take action to defend yourself for you will abide by the rules of no contact and no engagement.