[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Those armed neo-Nazis out running vigilante border patrols apparently now want to obtain official status for their group:
J.T. Ready, a neo-Nazi who recently began conducting heavily armed desert patrols in search of “narco-terrorists” and illegal immigrants in Pinal County, told The Kansas City Star that he was working on a proposal seeking state approval for his group, the U.S. Border Guard.They're also reaching the level of being a private army:
“I’m putting together a package and presenting it to the Arizona Legislature and saying, ‘Why don’t we go ahead and make the border rangers official, or completely reactivate the Arizona Rangers and we’ll work together,’ ” he said.
The Arizona Rangers were created in 1901 to protect the territory from outlaws and rustlers. The group was re-established in 1957.
But watchdog groups say Ready’s patrol illustrates why states should not sanction defense forces.
“We know that the neo-Nazis carry guns, but here’s an example of neo-Nazis with guns trying to position themselves to become an instrument of state policy,” said Leonard Zeskind, the president of the Kansas City-based Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.
Ready, a neo-Nazi, says his border guard includes heavily armed militias that search for “narco-terrorists” and illegal immigrants in Pinal County.In most states, you'd assume that Ready's campaign to obtain official status would naturally die a-borning. But in Arizona -- which has a predilection for inverting reality when it comes to border violence, not to mention an ongoing white supremacist problem -- there's always a chance.
“We have fully automatic weapons — legally registered — grenade launchers, night vision, body armor,” he said. “We’re definitely going out there fully armed and equipped. When you’re going up against people with AK-47s and grenade launchers, you don’t want to go out there with a slingshot.”
Especially when you consider that Ready has friends in high places -- including State Sen. Russell Pearce, author of SB1070, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Indeed, Ready has been working tirelessly at making himself a familiar presence on the Arizona landscape.
Of course, it's always amusing when conservatives write op-eds for the Washington Post complaining that liberals outside of Arizona perceive a lot of racism in the state's anti-immigration hysteria -- as though somehow that perception is mistaken.
You'll also note that none other than the Instapundit approves of these groups:
But Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee and an expert on militias, said he saw no problem with such groups being involved with state defense forces.Back to the future indeed.
“It’s not some crazy idea that someone has come up with out of the blue,” Reynolds said. “Historically, that’s how militias were organized. It’s sort of back to the future.”
Reynolds, the author of the widely read political blog Instapundit, said the state defense force has operated in Tennessee for many years.