Sunday, April 27, 1997 was a day that could have been recognized by history. Instead, it has become another blemish on the face of the Constitutionalist community.
Robert Scheidt had stopped by the Rowe home. What occurred in the home, we do not know. What may have occurred after Scheidt left, however, is the beginning of a drama that has played out these past six days.
Shortly after leaving the Rowe home, Scheidt was picked up by local authorities, his van searched and firearms found. It appears that these firearms were nothing more than semi-automatic, but they landed Scheidt in jail.
Having heard that Scheidt had been arrested, McLaren directed other members of the Embassy of Texas, Defense Force, to "secure" the Rowe's, in retaliation for the arrest of Scheidt.
After some negotiations with the Sheriff, an agreement was reached that the Rowe's would be released in return for the release of Scheidt. Soon, Scheidt was back on the embassy grounds, and the then twelve or thirteen "dug in" to wait for the imminent attack. After all, we now have five or six people charged with kidnapping, and one, although released, apparently having firearms charges against him.
Within hours, hundreds of primarily Texas State Police and Sheriff's Deputies, had surrounded the Embassy grounds. As verbal shock-waves echoed throughout the Internet, radio and television broadcasts, a siege of unique circumstances begin to form.
For the second time, a siege was laid because the "under-dog" (non-government) side of the incident was charged with a sort of financial crime. Not that the Freemen or the Embassy people are wrong, for the dollar is worthless, and how can you be charged with stealing nothing? However, unlike Waco and Ruby Ridge, the players are people who have become aggressive, and by their acts, have created difficulties for others.
The dilemma that arose, for the Constitutionalist community, was whether it would be proper to defend against the government, when those you would be defending were acting morally below the higher standard we would prefer to support. Should assistance be offered, or not? — was the continually discussed question on the Internet. Many answered yes, and a nearly equal number, to the contrary. Verbal attacks were made against those who would go to Texas, and attacks against those who wouldn't stand behind their brother. Probably a true hey day for the government. The division had reached proportions unheard of in past events.
On Friday, May 2, Robert Scheidt was allowed to leave the Embassy grounds and turn himself in on charges of "engaging in organized criminal activity." Wait a minute! Wasn't Scheidt the one that the others were willing to risk all for? And, what else did those inside surrender when they surrendered Scheidt? All of a sudden, the count of the defenders was reduced from the previously reported "twelve or thirteen" to seven remaining inside, Mike Matson, Robert "White Eagle" Otto, Greg and Karen Paulson, Richard and Evelyn McLaren and Richard Keys. Suddenly, the Texas State Police backed off of their threat of imminent attack. Why, there were nearly half of the number originally estimated, and now, down by one. Surely, these loose lips had sunken the ship of state for the Embassy. There can be little doubt that Scheidt told all, including armament, location of escape routes, booby-traps, defensive information, contacts outside, etc. The entire integrity of what was purported to be a military operation was now unable to be sure if there were any secrets un-revealed.
Friday night resulted in apprehension, not only at Fort Davis, but all over the country. In a short-wave broadcast, McLaren put out a plea for support, "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Hostiles are invading the Republic of Texas embassy. We have hostiles in the woods. This is a Mayday call for any nation in the world. ... We are being invaded!"
This final act of requesting assistance, however, was not the first. It was with reliance upon the need and determination of those at Fort Davis that others acted and reacted, around the country. Although most of those who might have gone to Texas were adamant that, unless there were federal involvement, there was no call for "our intervention", there were others who were outspoken over the events, or even willing to go in support of the Embassy.
On Wednesday, seven men were arrested at the Flying K truck stop, near Pecos and Interstate 20. They were armed, and according to first reports, their moves were reported by an informant [see Informants Amongst Us!]. Seven men, willing and courageous enough to attempt to help their fellow man in a time of need.
How many others were on their way, or had arrived in the area? Surely, the government, whose intelligence gathering is better than ours, was aware of many. On Friday, the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife announced that it was temporarily closing the Davis Mountains State Park near Fort Davis and the Balmorhea State Park in neighboring Reeves County during the day and was restricting overnight camping. It began to appear that the line had been drawn.
Another group of outspoken Constitutionalists, the First Colorado Light Infantry (Ron Cole, Wally Kennett and Kevin Terry) were arrested in Denver. Perhaps as a result of the government's apprehension over the events at Fort Davis. It appears that an informant was involved in this arrest, as well. Government was surely braced for disaster. All over the country, a heightened tension was prevailing, on both sides, similar to what happened after the Oklahoma City Bombing [see Escalation and Fear; Fear and Escalation].
Instead, we have at least eighteen people in custody, and we have been set back another step. Our progress since Waco can be measured only in the negative. Why? Because, the courage of those who find themselves in a confrontational situation are lacking one of the major elements prevalent some two hundred years ago. Words, rather than actions, have become the mainstay of the "patriot" community. Verbal bantering, expressed strength of conviction [see Strength of Conviction], and, ultimately, absolute denial.
The result? Those that, though not in a position to prove their worth on the front line, are willing to defend their neighbor find that the cause they were willing to take arms in defense of, has let them down -- and, now, they, too, are gone.
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