Monday, August 13, 2007

Gunning for Mexicans

-- by Dave

You hear a lot of talk among border-watch types about shooting Mexicans. They talk about it around campfires, tell filmmakers that the way to stop the flow over the border is that "we ought to be able to shoot the Mexicans on sight", and even make crude video games about it. Recently we read about the Gaede twins' grandfather claiming he had himself shot six Mexican border crossers.

So far, it's all sounded like so much bellicose fantasy, the kind right-wing yahoos specialize in. But as is inevitable with this kind of talk, it's becoming evident that some of them are taking shots in reality as well. Enough talk, they wanna shoot somethin'.

Casey Sanchez at the SPLC's Hatewatch blog has a report on a video showing some anonymous vigilante on night patrol somewhere on the border, taking potshots at Lord knows what (he only fires off one round from his shotgun, and it sounds like it hit nothing), but it's chilling in the sheer inhuman ugliness on display:
“This video shows how to keep a ‘Home Depot’ parking lot empty,” Crooks (right) wrote in his sneering July 26 E-mail, titled “Homeland Defence.” Gilchrist, whose organization had earlier provided Crooks’ group with supplies, responded by banning Crooks from contact with his own group.

Filmed through a night-vision scope, the four-minute video shows two or three men standing on a hill that appears to be on the Mexican side of the border, beyond a barbed-wire fence. “All right, come on across, motherfuckers,” a man says off camera in a quiet voice. “Yeah, go that way. I dare you to go that way. That’s my fucking trail, bitch!”

Then, after muttering about the distant figures being “cockroaches,” the man shouts out loud, “Hey putos [“faggots”], one, two, three!” Next comes the distinct sound of a shotgun shell being chambered, followed by a sudden flash of light and the sound of a shotgun blast. The direction of the gunfire is unclear.

Note that the creators of the video are Minuteman spinoffs. This is how far-right "Patriot" groups organize: one or two organizations introduce and mainstream the concept by playing the straight man, while dozens of independent offspring go about wreaking havoc on their own agendas. We've seen this with groups like Laine Lawless' Minuteman spinoff, which strategized with neo-Nazis on the kinds of brownshirt tactics they could apply against Latinos; and with Minuteman support groups like California's Save Our State, which coddled neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates at their rallies and within their ranks. More to the point, the Minutemen themselves have been infiltrated since their inception by white supremacists, though they have announced their efforts to drive out such elements with much fanfare (without, exactly, being very convincing on the matter).

More recently, another report by Sanchez in the most recent Intelligence Report details some of the thuggish tactics of intimidation being employed by another Minutemen spinoff, the San Diego Minutemen:
Halloween or not, the San Diego Minutemen take year-round pleasure in scaring immigrants. On Saturday mornings, when they travel to the sleepy suburban gas stations where immigrant day laborers go to find work, they create scenes that would play well in a show called "Nativists Gone Wild." They call immigrants "wetbacks" and "Julios." They pull out Mace and threaten passing motorists who disagree with them. Calling those who hire day laborers "slavemasters," they've been known to slap flashing amber police lights on their SUVs and chase the would-be employers down. When they're not busy physically intimidating migrants, they take to the airwaves and the Internet to accuse them, without a shred of evidence, of running child prostitution rings and practicing "voodoo Santeria rituals."

Wonder if Lou Dobbs and Michelle Malkin still want to claim that the Minutemen are just a big neighborhood watch. And I wonder if anyone will remember them when someone gets hurt.

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