Over the decades, many communities have formed neighborhood associations. Some have been formed with good intentions like reducing crime. Others have been formed with less noble intentions, like preventing certain types of people from buying property in the area.
Whatever the purpose of neighborhood associations, their formation are as American as apple pie and HUAC hearings.
Wikipedia defines a "neighborhood watch" as:
. . . an organized group of citizens devoted to crime and vandalism prevention within a neighborhood. In the United States it builds on the concept of a town watch from Colonial America.
A neighborhood watch may be organized as its own group or may simply be a function of a neighborhood association or other community association.
Neighborhood watches are not vigilante organizations. When suspecting criminal activities, members are encouraged to contact authorities and not to intervene.
Wikipedia describes "minutemen" as:
. . . members of teams of select men from the American colonial militia during the American Revolutionary War. They provided a highly mobile, rapidly deployed force that allowed the colonies to respond immediately to war threats, hence the name.
The latter is expected to participate in battle, to raise arms and shoot at enemies. The former is expected to be a presence that shines a light on what is happening in the community.
They are not synonymous.
So when Bill O'Reilly, says:
Talking Points applauds the Minutemen. They are in the great tradition of neighborhood watch groups. If the Bush administration doesn't like it, then put a larger federal presence on the border so the Minutemen can go home. It's that simple. There comes a time when all fair minded Americans have to understand that an open border is dangerous. I just hope that time isn't after another attack on civilians in this country. So three cheers for the Minutemen. Like their ancestors in Concord and Lexington, they're making a statement. And we all should respect that.he is actually contradicting himself. Today's Minutemen are either minutemen or they are a neighborhood watch, they cannot be both.
Clock is ticking for Minutemen
As time has passed, the modern day Minutemen have proven to be more vigilante than neighborhood watch.
In the violent right-wing rhetoric of the past two years, the threat of shooting, the public display of guns in inappropriate public settings, and the actual use of guns by those pretending to defend the Constitution has increased. Murder is the tactic of choice, whether it is, for example:
(1) a dead Pennsylvania school mom who packed heat at her kids' soccer matches;
(2) a so-called "libertarian" who attends a Presidential event with an assault rifle in full view;
(3) a so-called "nihilistic loner" who takes out a political gathering in an attempt to assassinate an elected official; or
(4) a cold-blooded white-supremacist murderer stalking our border with Mexico.
Although Roger Ailes and Fox News want to call the minutemen a neighborhood watch, it is not a neighborhood watch, it is vigilantism; and vigilantism has no place in the United States of America.
One group that was invited into the national debate about immigration, and has had the support of Jim Gilchrist, leader of the Minuteman Project, is the Minutemen American Defense ("MAD"), based in Washington state.
MAD was committed to stopping the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico. From information released by law enforcement agencies in the past two years, MAD had embarked on a fundraising campaign of robbing drug smugglers, and taking their money and/or drugs to finance their mission.
In 2009, Shawna Forde, a leader of MAD, and two accomplices are alleged to have entered the trailer of Raul Flores, in Arivaca, Arizona. Flores, his daughter, Brisenia, and the girl's mother, Gina Gonzalez, were home; another daughter was staying with friends. Flores was known to have been involved in the drug trade, and Forde had information that there would be a lot of money in the home.
What is known is that someone shot and killed Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, and wounded the girl's mother. The surviving victim was able to call 911 and provide police with a description.
It did not take police long to find the shooter, Jason Bush, because the mother had managed to shoot him when he came back to finish her off, and someone who knew him decided to inform police of his bleeding whereabouts. It didn't take long after that for police to find Forde and Albert Gaxiola, the third suspect, and take them into custody.
MAD no longer exists as an organization, and other minutemen have worked diligently to distance themselves by condemning the killings and removing references to MAD from their respective websites. Removing the web posts does not erase history, however; and all minutemen have been affiliated with MAD to some degree.
This is an ongoing problem with the right-wing: they want to promote a hard-ass line with threats of gun violence and uprisings if their demands are not met; but when one of their own rises up and follows-through with the gun violence, the leaders feign shock and surprise, issue press releases demanding that someone get to the bottom of things, and decry those who would use violence. As if this is somehow disconnected from their agenda.
Sure, it is possible that the right-wing does not want to promote violence; but that is not true. The right-wing camp is filthy with those who promote and incite hate, armed insurrection, violence, and murder; and their political campaigns regularly include hysterical screaming about gun rights and violence. There is a connection between right-wing politicans calling for armed revolt and right-wingers killing with guns. It's called a straight line between two points.
It's possible that MAD members are innocent of the Flores murders, and this is all just a media conspiracy to discredit the minutemen. The evidence, however, is compelling.
The people who call themselves "minutemen" are dangerous. They are not patriots; they are treasonous, self-serving criminals with an agenda of hate and violence. Most of the illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border are probably more patriotic and committed to the Constitution.
Enough with the vigiliantism, and enough with glamorizing the minutemen by calling them patriots on a neighborhood watch!
Edited at 8:02 A.M. to fix broken link.