Tresspassers Will Be Prosecuted

Ranch Rescue's Jack Foote swears he just wants to mend fences. Is pseudomilitary secrecy, right-wing rhetoric and an armed vigilante militia the best way?

On the radio with Jones, Foote hews tightly to his property rights angle, and steers away from Jones's anti-immigrant bluster. He is unfailingly polite to the host, addressing him almost compulsively as "sir."

Jones and Foote both are fond of reiterating that theirs are not racially motivated attitudes. When someone accuses them of racist motivation, they say, they know they're dealing with an idiot who has run out of logical arguments. Detractors, they think, tar them based not on facts, but through ignorance and association.

Ranch Rescue's Web site provides the most thorough picture of Ranch Rescue's worldview, though for some reason its contents have not been much discussed in the media coverage that followed Foote's November 2000 announcement of a second planned rescue mission -- Operation Eagle -- to an undisclosed Kinney County ranch.

Some excerpts from Ranch Rescue's mission statement:

• "Socialists, Environmentalists, and the 'Politically Correct' are, in every case, liars and fools of the very worst kind, and as such they deserve no serious consideration by any intelligent citizen of our great nation."

• "We are not… obligated in any way to other private citizens or groups, nor to any foreign national, government, entity, or representative. Specifically we are not obligated in any way to cater to the wishes of anyone in Mexico, nor the wishes of anyone from the United Nations. Neither is any other sovereign citizen within these United States."

• "We are private citizens who recognize that America became a prosperous nation due to the sanctity of private property acquired, owned, utilized and held by individual citizens and not by government entities or so-called 'activist' groups."

• "We stand together and we say to our governments: 'Either you keep these criminals off of our private property, or we will.' "

An extensive list of linked media clips carries Foote's excited summaries of border action:

"Illegal alien tries to run over Border Patrol agent with stolen truck, eats lead instead."

"Miami Vice-style shootout, chase, and arrest in Cochise County."

"Ranchers along the border concur: 'It's an invasion!' "

A link to "books" touts a recommended reading list. James L. Hirsen's The Coming Collision purports to detail the United Nations' pursuit of "expanded, supranational powers for itself, powers that are intended to displace both traditional American sovereignty and individual liberties."

John Ross's Unintended Consequences is an 861-page historical novel about the U.S. government's assault on the "gun culture." The back flap identifies the author as an investment broker and financial adviser who "fires upwards of 20,000 rounds of ammunition a year…." The cover photo features a black-clad federal agent shoving a rifle at the throat of a large-breasted and largely unclad Lady Liberty against a burning backdrop of the United States Constitution. The book is unreadable. I tried.

Texe Marrs's Big Sister Is Watching You proposes to expose "Hillary Clinton and the White House Feminists Who Now Control America -- And Tell the President What to Do" in chapters titled "The Fourth Reich of the FemiNazis," "Who Wears the Pants?" "Hillary: On the Killing of Babies" and "Eleanor Roosevelt: Communist, Lesbian, Radical Feminist."

The Camp of the Saints is French author Jean Raspail's novel of an immigrant invasion of southern France by unwashed third-world refugees. In Raspail's introduction, the author writes, "I am a novelist. I have no system nor ideology to propose or defend. It just seems to me that we are facing a unique alternative: either learn the resigned courage of being poor or find again the inflexible courage to be rich. In both cases, so-called Christian charity will prove itself powerless. The times will be cruel."

The reading list also suggests The Communist Manifesto (included on "know your enemy" grounds).

Ranch Rescue's "Clothing and Equipment" page explains that "One of the objectives of Ranch Rescue is to make a very visible statement about the failure of government policies in effectively dealing with the issues that create massive criminal trespass problems for private landowners. As such, we do not want to 'blend in' in any way, we instead want to stand out as much as possible."

Thus the following items of clothing and equipment, in "khaki tan," are mandatory for Ranch Rescue volunteers: hats, lace-up boots, heavy-duty work gloves, safety orange vests, and cotton ripstop jackets and pants. Volunteers are also responsible for acquiring a full-color patch representing the flag of that volunteer's home state, which must be worn, at all times, above the left breast pocket of the shirt. Ranch Rescue mission patches "are to be affixed to the khaki tan work shirt centered on the left sleeve, approximately 1/2 inch below the shoulder seam," and Ranch Rescue mission patches from prior missions "may be worn centered on the right sleeve for the most recent previous mission, and the right front breast and right front pocket of the khaki tan work shirt for other previous missions."

If Ranch Rescue sounds like it might be nothing more than an overheated Boy Scout campover, or the fantasist plannings of a military man who never saw action outside of a battle simulator, maybe that's because, just maybe, it is.

I've got mixed feelings about these fellas, you know? Some people say, well, we got a Christmas tree sitting on this side of the river with packages under it and all lit up, and it's hard to keep the kids out from under the Christmas tree. And they have a hard life, we know that. That's not right or wrong, you know, that's afact of life. That they're just trying to survive. They really don't bother me. Most of 'em being this close to the border, they don't like to be seen anyway. They're movin' on. They're movin' on. -- Del Rio-area rancher/ veterinarian, who wishes to remain anonymous, on illegal border crossers

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