Friday, October 27, 2006

The Minutemen vs. The Minutemen

Too funny.
Since its inception in 2004, the Minuteman Project (MP), an immigration control operation, has recruited civilians to apprehend illegal immigrants along the Mexican border.

And while the organization—which drew nationwide coverage earlier this month when pro-immigrant students at Columbia University rushed the stage during a speech by founder Jim Gilchrist—expected to draw the ire of many, it may not have counted on the opposition of certain citizens of Massachusetts, who are vigilantly patrolling the use of the moniker “Minuteman.”

Those critics consider the title sacred to the state’s colonial heritage.

“It does offend me,” said Carla Fortmann, who works at the historic Buckman Tavern in Lexington—the same tavern where the original minutemen were stationed on the eve of the American Revolution. “I understand how they might pick [the name], but vigilante might seem more appropriate. Or self-appointed posse. Or even bounty hunters.”

The vigilantes have deluded themselves into thinking they resemble something like this:
Although the terms militia and minutemen are sometimes used interchangeably today, in the 18th century there was a decided difference between the two. Militia were men in arms formed to protect their towns from foreign invasion and ravages of war. Minutemen were a small hand-picked elite force which were required to be highly mobile and able to assemble quickly. Minutemen were selected from militia muster rolls by their commanding officers. Typically 25 years of age or younger, they were chosen for their enthusiasm, reliability, and physical strength. Usually about one quarter of the militia served as Minutemen, performing additional duties as such. The Minutemen were the first armed militia to arrive or await a battle.

Here's the reality:

Not very elite. And certainly not under 25. Definitely armed.

Since it's a mixed bag, I'll just defer to their Commander-In-Chief's characterization:
President Bush yesterday said he opposes a civilian project to monitor illegal aliens crossing the border, characterizing them as "vigilantes."

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