The Republic of Texas, as an intriguing YouTube documentary explains, is a small separatist group in the Lone Star State that maintains its own quixotic mini-government, including official currency, a president, a legislative body and even “courts.” Its senators and president gathered in the center of a Bryan, Texas, meeting hall, surrounded by curious or sympathetic onlookers, to debate issues of the national currency, develop international relations and celebrate the birthday of one of their oldest members. Suddenly one of the onlookers stood opened the hall door, letting in an armed force including the Bryan Police Department, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, Agents of the Texas District Attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI. It was a raid. The twenty officers rounded up, searched and fingerprinted all 60 meeting attendees, and seized all cellphones and recording equipment.
What triggered such a frightening show of force? It was an elephant gun-flea response to the fact that the Republic of Texas had issued a “summons” to a Kerr County judge and another to a bank employee, ordering them to appear in the Republic’s court at the Veterans and Foreign Wars building in Bryan the day very the officers burst in on the group’s “congress.”
“You can’t just let people go around filing false documents to judges trying to make them appear in front of courts that aren’t even real courts,” Kerr County sheriff Rusty Hierholzer told the media. Ah. Some deluded club members engage in overreach while pretending that they have founded a new government rather than an eccentric social group–sending a bogus but sincere summons is a misdemeanor at worst—and this is seen as just cause for an armed raid? Hierholzer said he needed an army to serve a search warrant for suspicions of a misdemeanor, because there was a 1997 incident where 300 state troopers had an stand-off with well-fortified Republic of Texas leader with mayhem on his mind.
I have no sympathy with secessionists, militias, or other such groups. They are, however, engaged in the grand American tradition of opposing authority, complaining about the state of the nation, and gathering with others of a like mind to see if they can fix what’s wrong. The government putting a police-state scare into such groups, showing contempt for them and treating them like terrorist cells is un-American, in contrast. It’s harassment, and an attempt to discourage lawful dissent and to chill Constitutional rights. Continue reading