…Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: – Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
BROWNSVILLE – Most trips to the border are creepy, but this one was extremely so.
A free man, craftsman and contractor traveling out of east Texas, KC Massey the Three Percenter, an old boy who learned to fight every day when he was growing up in the Dallas ghetto – Pleasant Grove – lost his guns to federal agents after a Border Patrolman shot at another man who was traveling with his company.
Now he’s doing 41 months in the federal penitentiary.
When I got there, everyone was watching, waiting for the other shoe to drop. The ATF seized the firearms because both Massey and “Jesus” Foerster are convicted felons who did time in Texas prisons for burglary. Eventually, Agent Rotunno charged them with the federal offense of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Texas law allows felons to have firearms on private property, once they are completely free from parole and clean of subsequent offenses for a long number of years.
But, then, that’s what Rusty’s Rangers were there to prove. Rusty Monsees lives on a tiny farm in “no man’s land,” an area on the banks of the Rio Bravo that is fenced off from the rest of the world and patrolled by la migra constantly. There are towers bristling with cameras, microphones, infrared detectors and motion sensors placed all along the levees, surveilling the brush country along the looping reaches of the meandering river.
In spite of all that, it’s a smuggler’s paradise. At least as much illicit commerce in contraband and human trafficking crosses its bleak and jungle-like prospects on a daily basis as that which clears customs, signed, sealed and delivered, with tariffs paid and the terms of transit bonds strictly enforced.
He invited KC Massey and his companions to patrol his land and clean up the mounds of trash the people who make illegal border crossings leave behind in order to make it easy to see how many and which direction they went after they had crossed. The loose-knit militia unit, each man armed with a long gun and a sidearm, turned back numerous trespassers, forcing drug-laden mules and coyotes shepherding wetbacks back into the river and thence to Mexico, the way they had come.
All this was done in reaction to the fact that the President, a ghetto community organizer from the black community on the south side of Chicago, had opened the flood gates to illegal border crossings through executive decisions and orders when he could not get the consent of Congressional leaders to consider and pass the legislative measures he wanted.
Though the pressures were subtle, the results quickly became profound. An example: Rather than deporting aliens residing and working at meat and poultry processing plants, the government chose to send a single accounant, armed with a laptop, who audited the payroll records of very large agribusiness corporations such as Cargill’s or Pilgrim, Tyson’s or Sanderson Farms. These individuals would compare the Social Security numbers on file with the names of the correct account holders.
The transaction was straightforward enough. The corporation could continue to employ the illegals, opting to pay a hefty per diem sum under the terms of a consent order, or they could discharge the employee. The persons who lost their jobs were then free to go anywhere they chose in order to go on with the rest of their lives.
Many opted for returning to Mexico or points south; just as many also chose to remain in the U.S., trying to make it the best way they could. This had the net effect of producing a great deal of unhappiness and resentment in the ranks of employers, merchants, landlords, social service bureaucracies, and the people who live in competition with illegals who will work without benefits for way less money – all of them unfriendly to the politics of the President and his party, the anomalous political majority among the blue precincts in counties along the big river.
THE CRIMSON TIDE OF THE MAJORITY, Republican sensibility raised the sword and elected to place National Guardsmen and an increased contingent of State Troopers on patrol, but stopped short of its Governor issuing a “standard operating procedure” that would allow citizens’ militias to participate. One can only speculate that the lawyers must have advised the GOP it might be hard to raise the time-honored defense of governmental immunity if excitable vigilantes with firearms should trample the civil rights of those attempting to cross the border illegally.
So the patriot community turned to an alternate solution. Could a property owner allow a friend, or group of friends, to go armed on his place in order to repel unwanted, uninvited persons who are clearly trespassing for criminal purposes?
Following the detention of Massey and his Rangers, Oklahoma III%er Floyd Breshears and I determined we would visit to compare our earlier experience with just the same circumstances in the Laredo area.
There, we had learned that the major energy corporations such as Chesapeake of Oklahoma City occupy ranch lands operating directional drilling rigs and fracturing wells in gas play.
We found numerous formerly public county roads privatized, their rights of way leveled from fence to fence and graded flat as haul roads for moving rigs and hauling supplies of chemicals, water, acid, and mud. At places where multiple roads cross, secured guard gates with electronic surveillance manned by Asian guards checking vehicles in and out with programmed tablets against computerized manifests over remote channels, wifi, or satellite.
None of the guards speak enough English to be able to say more than you are in the wrong place and you must turn around and leave. They are backed up by company men, Anglos driving pickup with the corporate logo painted on the doors, and deputy sheriff’s officers on patrol.
Thus, there is a new border, one that is located inside a buffer zone that is miles wide and extends far inland from the river with its multiple international bridges. The corporations that control it have all the privileges and rights of a human being, except they never die. They only go bankrupt, diversify, merge with others, or are reorganized by government trustees.
Their properties are patrolled by private citizens bearing arms, some of whom are not citizens. To that extent, conditions at Camp Lone Star at the Rusty Monsees farm, were similar, but hardly identical.
DURING THE 18 HOURS we spent in the Brownsville area known as “no man’s land” along Southmost Boulevard and Monsees Road – out near the airport and Pan American University – there was never a time we were out of sight of eyes reporting, either to one side, or the other. In this hotly contested area of the world, little goes unnoticed; nothing goes unreported.
Camp Lone Star is on a small lot with two houses situated at a gate through the border fence where a levee road winds along the river and a small sand pit on the Monsees farm handles the constant traffic of dump trucks hauling to cement batch plants in the area.
With its tents, constant camp fire, and generator, the men hunkered down for meals and sleep, it looked like a modern day Lonesome Dove.
During the night, Floyd stayed on patrol with the militiamen while I slept at a motel. They gave him the story of how KC Massey lost his guns and the ATF developed the case against him.
A Mr. Aguilar, caretaker of Sabal Palm Sanctuary, an extensive Audobon Society bird refuge, talked to one of Massey’s soldiers, a man named Archie Sayles, about the littering and trespassing problems he experienced at the heavily wooded area situated on a deep bend in the river. He gave permission for the group to come to the place, where they picked up and bagged trash while observing the traffic of drug smugglers and human traffickers.
On an evening patrol, they encountered an advance party of a coyote who was apparently leading illegal border crossers in a river crossing. He was whistling and signaling them. Either he was creating a distraction, or he was just doing his normal business. Nevertheless, the Border Patrol supervisor said the Rangers could tag along, serving as lookouts and backups.
Disaster struck when Jesus stepped out of the woods and startled one the patrolmen, who fired his weapon five times in his direction, then confiscated it and ordered him to follow him.
Federal agents and Rangers converged and the agents called the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office. When the elected official himself arrived, he made a decision that there had been no violation of state law on the part of the Rangers. Federal agents made a decision to confiscate the weapons and turn their quarry loose. Overall, the detention lasted five hours.
After an extended period, FBI and ATF agents arrested both Massey and Foerster, charging them with the felon in possession offense. Agents simultaneously raided Massey’s home near Quinlan, Texas, where they urged his wife to allow them to search the residence without benefit of a warrant. She refused.
Much speculation has flooded the podcasts and blogs, differing opinions on who is and is not a snitch, who informed on Massey – all that.
The truth is, he was for months free on bond, an electronic ankle bracelet monitoring his whereabouts, set to send an alarm if he attempted to leave his home at any time other than scheduled.
He was ordered under bond conditions to report to a clinic in Greenville, 12 miles north of his residence, to submit a urine specimen on a regular basis. At some point, he stopped doing that. The Court then ordered him to make regular trips to a clinic at Dallas, something he also refused to do.
When he reported to his pre-trial hearing at Brownsville, he told the Marshals Service he had no urine to give and the judge revoked his bond. He spent the time until his trial and sentencing in solitary confinement, shackled at the wrists and ankles, only allowed out of his cell for specific purposes. He has certain medical complaints.
Prior to his being jailed, I asked him did he not acknowledge that his actions – or lack of them – would only result in his confinement. To his credit, he said that he was completely aware of that. He gave no reason or explanation for his choice.
He just did it; then he accepted the consequences. That’s pretty rare in this world. He didn’t bitch; he didn’t whine; he didn’t complain; he didn’t explain.
The last time I talked to him, I said, “You know, KC, the whole world likes to see a man act like a man.” Something tells me no one ever had to tell this customer anything like that. He knew it all along. He didn’t put himself there, but he’s not trying to story out of it, either.
This is what he did, the net net of the sum total of the upshot.
He proved that if the government does not interfere, we the people, acting with our friends, can easily stop illegal border crossings, or minimize them. We can interdict human trafficking and at the least disrupt illegal international shipments of narcotics if it arrives on our soil supported by two legs. What comes across the bridges or into the ports in containers is another story, altogether.
On a final note, the only person I spoke with during my brief sojourn with Rusty’s Rangers or Camp Lone Star who made me uneasy was Archie Sayles.
When I arrived at the camp after my night at the motel, ready to drive back to central Texas with Floyd, I parked in front of the house.
Archie Sayles approached me, his russet complexion reddened, angry, his hand on the butt of his holstered 1911 Government Model. He fairly shouted, “You have parked that truck in the wrong place. In just a few minutes, there will be dump trucks coming and going and you will be in the way…”
That’s when I said, “Well, you know, sir, that’s why I’m fixing to move this truck right away – pronto. Quick as Floyd is ready to go, I’m a’gone, hoss.”
“Now, don’t get like that,” he said, blading his stance a little more acutely.
“No way, Mister,” I said. I wouldn’t keep you waiting for all the tea in China. Fixing to move this old truck right away.” Then I went right back to fiddling with my camera equipment over the tailgate of the pickup. There were no dump trucks in sight. A Texan out and about in his pickup has no duty to retreat. Hog leg in the tool box? That’s okay, too. Ask Representative Chuy Hinojosa. He’ll tell you.
“I said move this truck,” he said. It was a moment, nothing but a thing.
“And I said I’m fixing to move it right away,” I replied. Kept my tone neutral.
He stared; I ignored him. There were four Border Patrolmen in four SUV’s sitting while the motors idled, staring at him, too. They knew I was there to get my running buddy and haul him back to where we came from.
I just want to say that on his resumé, KC Massey III has the distinction of having once served as the National Sergeant at Arms for the Cossacks Motorcycle Club. Neither he, nor anyone else, ever spoke rudely to me or my companions – except for Archie Sayles. Everyone else was just nice as pie, if not overly friendly.
When we cleared out and made it to the Border Patrol station up the I-35 highway, the agent stepped up to my window, and said, “Are y’all Americans?”
I sang out, “Yes, sir. We are.” He said “Go ahead,” pointing. Nothing ever sounded so good. I felt the relief that flooded my soul from the roots of my hair to my toenails. I was headed home. Mighty proud to have one.