The self-styled Minutemen rose to media fame in the spring and summer of 2006 promoted by pundits like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh. But they soon were embraced by mainstream media for bringing national attention to a porous border stretching from San Diego to Brownsville. The Minutemen organized their own citizen patrols of certain border areas and even managed to arrest a few undocumented workers. But one undocumented result of their presence along the border was that the Border Patrol was forced to redeploy agents to maintain the order of law; in so doing, other parts of the border were left more open than necessary because of Minutemen activities.
The national media embraced the photogenic Minutemen in their desert garb and guns. But more important than their style and braggadocio, the hard fact about the border was that it was truly porous. As it has been for many, many years. Congress subsequently passed legislation in the fall of 2006 which is still with us. Most notable among those bills in 2006 was funding for the so-called border fence.
But what happened to the Minutemen? In quick fashion they ran candidates espousing their views and, in quick fashion, they failed miserably at the ballot box. One by one these candidates lost elections and the Minutemen, under the leadership of men such as Jim Gilchrist, began to implode. Never a real national political movement with legs, the Minutemen turned on themselves in a series of lawsuits and money grabs eventually ending in the trial of Shawna Forde.
On February 14th Shawna Forde was convicted by a jury of her peers of first-degree murder. She was convicted of shooting Raul Flores and his daughter Brisenia, aged nine. Shawna Forde was also convicted of the attempted murder of Gina Gonzalez, Brisenia’s mother. Two other defendants in this same case, Jason Bush and Albert Gaxiola, will also soon be tried for these same crimes.
Shawna Forde and her fellow alleged murderers were part of an avowed paramilitary organization determined at all costs to close the border to illegal immigrants. They claimed Mr. Flores was a drug smuggler and then attempted to steal his alleged drug money to fund their own group. In short, Shawna Forde, Jason Bush, and Albert Gaxiola are the last of the Minutemen, thugs committing crimes in the name of political ideology long past its prime. As such they are the dregs of the Minutemen. Good riddance.