Vigilantes Target Aliens
Border War

Tensions along the Southwest border have escalated into something like guerrilla war between U.S. ranchers and Mexican citizens. Some ranchers have formed vigilante patrols, which operate in the shadow of the U.S. Border Patrol, making citizen's arrests of illegal aliens crossing their lands. There have been two deaths and eight arrests so far. In Texas, one Mexican was shot and killed by a border patrolofficer in a fight and another was killed by husband-and-wife ranchers. When the man came to their door asking for food and water, the couple chased him and then gunned him down. Farther west, ranchers in Arizona, calling themselves Concerned Citizens of Cochise County, and a California group called the American Patrol are setting up squads to monitor the U.S. Border Patrol.

In response to these and other incidents, a Mexican group, the Citizens Defense Committee, recently offered $10,000 for the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol officer. Carlos Ibarra Perez, president of the group, made the offer in front of the city hall in Reynosa, Mexico. Two days later he said on a San Diego talk show that he was retracting the offer to "avoid violence."

In Mexico, foreign minister Rosario Green warned that the situation amounted to a "red alert." As the tensions escalated, the U.S. sent 250 additional agents to the area. Local lawmen aren't making things any better. Attending a meeting of anti-immigration activists, Reuters reports, "Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever asked them to stay within the law when making citizens' arrests. He said private citizens arresting trespassers on their property can use any means 'up to and including the threat of deadly force, but not the use of deadly force.' "

Republican congressman Jim Kolbe of Tucson wrote an impassioned letter to President Clinton, describing his constituents as virtual prisoners in their own communities. "They cannot take a simple evening stroll," Kolbe told Clinton. "Some cannot go for a walk unarmed. Many rural residents are afraid to leave their homes unattended for fear that they will be robbed. As a result, a husband and wife cannot even go out for a simple dinner."

NRA Eyes Times Square
.42-Caliber Latte

Despite reservations by Mayor Giuliani, the National Rifle Association is pushing ahead with closed-door talks, described as "very serious," aimed at creating a theme restaurant/store in Times Square, where patrons will be able to feast on wild game and can buy camping gear with the NRA logo, but no guns. In the restaurant, Second Amendment partisans will nosh on delicacies such as elk steak and buffalo burgers.

NRA spokesman Bill Powers insists the eatery won't sell meat from endangered species, adding that the NRA may put in high-tech computer-simulation shooting games for kids. But already the joint is becoming a cause célèbre for the patriot crowd as evidenced by America's Coffee Company's promise to sell its made-in-the-U.S.A. blends.

Michael Wilson, president of the Seattle company, made news recently when he promised to help sponsor Dr. Laura Schlessinger's talk-radio show. (Proctor & Gamble, which makes Folger's coffee, backed out of Schlessinger's program after she received extensive criticism for trashing gays and lesbians.) Wilson said he's excited about parachuting into the hot New York market with a new brand called "Al Sharpton." America's Coffee sets up private labels for other companies as well as groups like the Christian Coalition.

That Bulge of Bill's

Often depicting himself as an ardent shopper, President Clinton seldom gets a chance to do so, a friend tells U.S. News & World Report. "He carries cash, typically about $200 in small bills. But it gets little use: He tosses it to an aide when golfing or shaking hands so it doesn't get in the way or get stolen."

Additional reporting: Kate Cortesi

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