Steve's Soapbox

Friday, July 29, 2005

Texas Minutemen head quits, cites racism in group

National leaders say plans to patrol Houston still on

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
The head of the Texas Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has quit, saying he has been unable to overcome racism among members in Goliad.
National leaders say the resignation of Bill Parmley won't have any effect on the planned actions targeting illegal immigrants in Houston and other Texas cities this October.
However, they also acknowledge Parmley was a driving force in organizing that effort.
It was Parmley's idea to run operations in Houston targeting day laborers and the contractors who hire them. And Parmley, a petroleum geologist and landowner in Goliad County, bought the plane tickets to fly in national Minuteman leaders from Arizona last month to begin organizing efforts here.
Parmley said he has become concerned that some of the Minuteman activists in his region have a vendetta against the Goliad County sheriff, who is Hispanic.
He asserted they also have made comments about shooting illegal immigrants or letting them die from dehydration.
"That's their mind-set, and I don't want my name and my reputation associated with a group of people who are racist like that," he said.
Chris Simcox, the national head of the Minutemen, said he was sorry to see Parmley go. But Simcox said the efforts in Houston and other Texas cities will not be affected by what he described as Parmley's "personality conflicts" with his neighbors in Goliad County.
"We've got other people who have taken the baton and run with it," he said.
Simcox said he was not aware of the details behind the conflict in Goliad County, but he denied that there are members there who are racist.
Kenneth Buelter, who formed the Minutemen in Goliad along with Parmley, could not be reached for comment.
Goliad was settled by Spaniards in 1749, and has had a Hispanic population ever since. Parmley, who has lived there almost all his life, said he thought it was especially important to reach out to prominent Hispanics and assure them that the Minutemen were against human smuggling, not Hispanics.
Parmley contends newcomers to the area are more likely to be critical of Hispanics. He mocked others in the Minuteman group by describing the way they call all Hispanics "Mexicans" or "Mexkins."
"To old-time South Texas people, it's not about being 'Mexkin' or white," Parmley said. "It's about the community."
Parmley said he supports Goliad County Sheriff Robert DeLa Garza. He says Buelter and others in the Minutemen have attempted to undermine the sheriff with e-mail.
DeLa Garza was out of the office and unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Parmley said he has continued efforts to maintain good relations with the Goliad chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens. He said he also proposed having the Minuteman organization buy boxes of drinks that the sheriff could give to dehydrated illegal immigrants after they are captured.
Others in the organization were opposed to the idea, according to Parmley. He quoted one member as saying: "Let the (expletives) die."
It would not be the first derogatory comment made at a Minuteman meeting. Both Parmley and Bee County Sheriff Carlos Carrizales confirm that during a discussion early this year of illegal immigrants on private property in rural Goliad County, one resident asked: "Can't we just shoot 'em?' "
Organizers in Houston say they are continuing to prepare for the operations beginning in October.
Parmley "was a motivator," says Guy McMenemy, a former Houston police officer who has been involved in meetings here. "But I don't think him leaving will affect Houston, because we have a lot of people who are motivated here, too."
source: The Houston Chronicle