The leader of the nativist extremist group Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) publicly repudiates the use of illegal tactics to secure the border against undocumented immigrants. “If one single individual steps over the line for their personal gratification, we are all stained with that irresponsible behavior, and labeled forever as a fringe element that embarrasses all who are counting on us to make a historic statement,” MCDC President Carmen Mercer wrote on the group’s website.
But Mercer doesn't sound nearly so careful in a recent E-mail to Minutemen that repeatedly asks them to come to the border “locked and loaded” — military jargon for an assault rifle that’s ready for firing — and prepared to “forcefully engage” the “criminals” who try to cross without documentation. Monday’s “urgent alert” announced an armed border patrol operation that’s scheduled to begin on March 26 and to last until the U.S. military is deployed to secure the border.
“President Obama and John McCain have left us no choice – this March we return to the border locked, loaded and ready to stop each and every individual we encounter along the frontier that is now more dangerous than the frontier of Afghanistan,” Mercer wrote in part. “This operation will not be for the faint of heart. MCDC volunteers will work under an entire different SOP [standard operating procedure]; we will approach our duty as citizens as we should – we have a zero tolerance for any and all violations of our border and we will forcefully engage, detain, and defend our lives and country from the criminals who trample over our culture and laws. Long arms will be allowed and frankly, encouraged.”
Though MCDC has conducted armed border patrols before (and they’re perfectly legal under Arizona’s lenient gun laws), Mercer’s latest rhetoric is especially shrill. In the E-mail, she referred to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as “an unqualified buffoon who risks the lives of American citizens every day she is the head of DHS.” She also states that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has been more sympathetic to immigrants than many in his party, “is responsible for every death of an American citizen at the hands of illegal alien criminals and the drug cartels.”
Mercer, of Tombstone, Ariz., did not respond to an E-mail message sent yesterday seeking clarification of her statements. In addition, her voice mail was full and would not accept messages. A German immigrant and longtime Minuteman leader, Mercer was named in lawsuit filed by the Arizona attorney general’s last summer after a post office box she owned was included in a property tax solicitation aimed at scamming homeowners. Mercer claimed that she had opened the post office box for a friend and didn’t know it would be used in the alleged fraud.