Do-it-yourself border patrol: one man’s vigil with a gun and spotlight.

Cochise County resident Lynn Kartchner, who wears a sidearm, tests…

Cochise County resident Lynn Kartchner, who wears a sidearm, tests a modified military searchlight that he uses to look for illegal activity at night in Arizona. Image: Lourdes Medrano

If night and the high mountains that enclose the San Bernardino Valley are the greatest allies of drug smugglers trying to cross the US-Mexican border, then Lynn Kartchner intends to become one of the smugglers’ worst enemies.

A shop owner who has sold guns to alarmed ranchers and seen one of them die – perhaps at the hands of a smuggler – Mr. Kartchner is setting up on random nights on the property of six local ranchers along the border. With him is a military searchlight fitted with night-vision scopes and a siren. The idea is simple: Find smugglers and call the border patrol – and if trouble starts, be ready.

“If they shoot at me, I will shoot back,” Kartchner says of intruders. “And if I see them bringing up a weapon I’ll shoot them before they shoot me.”

Kartchner’s effort echoes far beyond Arizona’s Cochise County, which one expert calls “ground zero of the American vigilante movement.”

rom the alleged murder of a tourist on Texas’ Falcon Lake by Mexican pirates to the killing of Kartchner’s rancher friend, Robert Krentz, in March, there is a growing perception along America’s southern border – sometimes at odds with statistics – that the US government is powerless to stop drug violence from crossing the border.

To some, the idea of armed civilians is a bad answer. “I’m not saying this guy would murder someone, but he might get confronted in a way that guns are pulled and people are shot,” says Mark Potok of Alabama’s Southern Poverty Law Center, which documents border vigilantism.

Read the rest of Lourdes Medrano’s article at Christian Science Monitor.

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  • Tim

    Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands. Right… wrong… whomever! Americans have the right and the responsibility to protect our country and our neighbors. If a criminal dies in the process, oh well! Sucks to be him/her. the criminal accepted the consequence before the law was broken. And before the death was inflicted. “A well armed militia” (citizen army) is a right protected by the constitution.

  • John

    I wish there was a link on this site so you could share these articles directly to Facebook. Anyway, Ciprian, you are correct. This is what the modern American patriot looks like. Someone standing up for their rights and the rights of other American citizens around them. That is what this country needs more of.

  • AngryWhiteMale

    “He might might get confronted in a way that guns are pulled and people are shot” Idiot says that like it would be a bad thing. An ILLEGAL LAWBREAKING immigrant with a gun,crossing the border at night, is NOT looking for a job to better himself.He is bringing more crime to our country. O’Boyos balless refusal to secure our borders from potintial democrat voters is as transparent as his lack of morals and abilities to govern. If a landowner shoots a tresspassing illegal for fear of his or his families life, it should be straight up self defense.A stranger on my property with a gun is NOT my friend. Of course I would call the LAW immediatly….

  • Ciprian

    This my friend is what an American patriot of today looks like. With or without government backup we will protect our great nation at all costs, we have the right to bare arms and we will fight to keep that right also.

  • CFLASH

    Who wrote this tripe? Vigilante? This guy is observing and reporting. And he happens to wisely carry a sidearm for personal protection. What’s the big deal? As the old sheriff once said, “why yes, I did bring my sidearm. If I were expecting trouble I’d have brought my rifle.”

  • Christopher

    Awesome! Too bad Im not closer to the border, Id join him in a heart beat!