A Ranger looks at a separatist issue


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The year, 1997. The place, The Ft. Davis area of an idyllic Alpine region of west Texas, where Richard McLaren of The Republic of Texas and the Texas Rangers led by Captain Barry Caver were eyeball to eyeball for 7 days following a shooting and hostage-taking event at a neighbor’s small ranch.

The Republic of Texas had been filing numerous false liens on folks’ property, and officials viewed the practice as malicious. They had also issued bogus “currency warrants.” Key elements of their command staff wound up in the pen. This and other incidents have given the sovereign citizens’ movement a bad reputation, on both sides of the badge and the bar.

Retired Ranger Matt Cawthon of Waco was in the posse during that tense period. He arrested the renegade group’s Sergeant at Arms, and he has been briefed extensively on other separatist movements, such as The Sword, The Arm, and The Covenant.

He sees the Rangers as a paramilitary force that is dispatched to help the people of the State of Texas fight back when they need to fight back against the kind of people who want to steal their peace and dignity. We of The Legendary could not be more in agreement.

His take on the facts of the case of an arrest of an entire family in Bellmead is that he’s sorry for their troubles, but they don’t get a pass when it comes to giving their names during a legal investigation. Perhaps the most interesting concept he discusses as an expert crime consultant is this one on deadly force: “…I always tell young officers that each and every confrontation they encounter involves a firearm – the one being carried by the officer…” His counsel is that a calm command presence and a courteous demeanor are paramount tools, to be used in conjunction with the hog leg.

Conditions in a correction facility just as a jail are very different. His observations come from 33 years of experience. What people may not know is that the couple in question are of the Muslim faith. Victor Pool and his wife Melissa Bias claim they received death threats from court officers in both the prosecution and defense bar in the greater Atlanta suburbs of Marietta, Kennesaw and Cobb County. The father is black, the mother white, and the officer they accuse of aggression is black. At this point, the original story as it appeared on Facebook has received more than 26,000 page views.

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Members of the social media community most interested in the case, who in fact tipped other social media journalists, are elements of “Cop Block,” a radical social media video news organization headquartered in the D/FW Metroplex, headed by open carry firearms advocate Kory Watkins. Elements of this organization who are expanding their interests into the Central Texas area spent the entire day Friday with a news crew from the Arabic television network, Al Jazeera:

Okay, this is interesting and my response will be a tad lengthy. 

To begin, in my career as a Texas Ranger, I have been involved with the investigation of self-proclaimed “sovereign” citizens and “separatists”… I was in Ft. Davis, Texas, when Richard McLaren and the “Republic of Texas” movement shot and kidnapped a elderly neighbor and then holed-up in their so-called “Embassy”.  As you may remember, the situation was resolved mostly peacefully, except for one member who decided to shoot at law enforcement. I actually arrested their “Sergeant-at-Arms” and transported him to jail in Marfa. 

I am also aware of another separatists group operating on a tract of land in Trinidad, Texas, and to date, their members are still wanted by the law for various crimes; however, there are children in their compound, and attempts to advance and arrest could be disastrous, much like it was during the Branch Davidian incident. 

Most conservatives believe in less government and I am no different. The problem occurs with extremism. As citizens of this country, we must obey her laws. Without laws and those who enforce the laws, then our country will break down, and anarchy will rule. 

I cannot comment about the arrest of these people in your interview, but let me speak about police and corrections in general. 

Street officers work on a level dealing with very fluid and very dangerous situations. They must make quick decisions with their safety and the safety of the citizens in mind. I always tell young officers that each and every confrontation they encounter involves a firearm – the one being carried by the officer. That makes it important to take charge of every situation and diffuse the problem with any tool the officer possesses, hopefully merely their command presence and calm and courteous demeanor.  

By contrast, the world inside a jail is very different. Time is on the side of the correctional staff. The arrestee is already in custody, so everything can slow down and diffuse naturally. An arrestee can be placed into an isolation cell, and soon, calmer heads will prevail. 

In this case, the couple must be properly identified because that’s the law we live under, and as citizens under lawful arrest – we must assume it’s lawful – they don’t get the choice of refusing to identify. Quite obviously, the couple complied in the end, or they would not have been released and be available for interview. 

In my experience, I’ve known or heard that the most ardent believers of the Separatist Movement will refuse all forms of government identification, vehicle registration, etc. They are prolific in the filing of lawsuits against local, state and federal government officials to include the malicious filing  of liens. This is considered by most to be harassment, and in some cases, domestic terrorism. 

I hope this helps in some way to add a different side to the story given by the couple. I’m sorry for their troubles. I had a young relative who was detained by Walmart security several years ago, and my personal experience was that they were professional and courteous. The part about pushing and pulling of the heads could easily be the widely accepted police practice of using pressure points (under the nose and under the jaw) to force compliance from a passive aggressive and non-compliant detainee. 

Good luck,


A cause celebre amid threats of death:

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