Biedermann Condemns BAR-W Protest
Canyon Lake-area State Rep. Kyle Biedermann, D-73, today strongly condemned a “credible threat of disruption” that caused Bulverde Area Republican Women (BAR-W) to cancel an Aug. 12 meeting whose guest speaker is a member of Texas Border Volunteers, a militia group that allegedly supports U.S. Customs and Border Protection efforts to apprehend immigrants in South Texas.
“Shame on those responsible for these threats,” Biedermann said in a prepared statement issued to media. “Keep up up the great work BAR-W and the Texas Border Volunteers. We have your backs!”
Biedermann’s response followed Thursday morning’s announcement by BAR-W that it called off its monthly meeting at GVTC Auditorium due to voicemail and emails protesting their event. They said they received “twisted truths and flat-out untruths” as well as threats of mass disruption and bad publicity over the event.
However, local Democrats said the cancellation was a victory against what it views as BAR-W’s hate speech. The group’s flyer prominently features a man dressed in camouflage attire and refers to the immigration crisis along the Texas border as an “illegal alien stampede, caravans of ‘migrants,’ drug cartels and terrorists, human trafficking, and disease.”
Living Blue in Comal County’s Facebook page, which covers progressive events in Comal County, thanked those who protested BAR-W’s speaker, adding “love wins, reject hate.”
“The BAR-W flyer used the same language as the El Paso killer used in his manifesto,” an administrator posted. “If anyone is seeking to divide or ‘wage war’ it is them. We simply called them out. The group misled about threats and if you read their letter carefully you will see that there were never any threats of danger, but they opted to mislead people.”
Gloria Meehan, deputy chair for the Comal County Democratic Party, also condemned BAR-W’s rhetoric.
“If you read the language on the flyer, it’s extremely inflammatory and really spoke to the fear and division that’s strangling our country right now,” she said. “I’m sorry, but this is not the way we solve issues of strife and immigration. This is not the way that people who truly care about their community craft a statement about what they intend to do.”
BAR-W’s August newsletter, The Bugle, described the Aug. 12 presentation at its monthly meeting as an “eye-opening” ” talk by retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Jim Gibson about the “front line experiences of this war on Texas and the nation to Bar-W!”
Texas Border Volunteers has approximately 300 members.
PIT Radio News, a conservative Christian-based media outlet, in 2016 described Gibson as a retired U.S. Air Force senior master sergeant with a degree in political science and a social studies composite teaching certificate from the University of Texas in San Antonio. He taught high school economics at Harlandale High School in San Antonio before retiring in 2011.
BAR-W’s cancellation follows an Aug. 3 mass shooting by a gunman in El Paso that killed 22 people and injured 24 others. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime.
In a May 2018 interview with San Antonio TV Station KENS5, a CBS-affiliate, Texas Border Volunteers’ logistics expert David “Rocky” Boles said his group works with individual ranchers who have asked for help, but does not capture or arrest anyone.
However, Gibson described his militia’s efforts as a “cat-and-mouse game.”
Biedermann said Texas Border Volunteers are neither violent nor vigilantes and step in specifically at the request of ranchers to patrol their land.
“They have helped make Texas safer, and have saved the lives of many illegals left for dead by their coyote guides,” he said.
In October 2014, Canyon Lake resident Charles Gilbert told Texas Observer he worked with Texas Border Volunteers for three years before reaching a different conclusion about illegal immigrants.
“You get down there and you begin to see humanity,” he says. “You can set up here and watch Fox News and say ‘these alien bastards, we need to shut the border down.’ But what I saw coming through Brooks County was humanity.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Women of Comal County featured a different kind of immigration expert at their monthly meeting today at Tye Preston Memorial Library in Canyon Lake.
New Braunfels residents Terry and Lucretia Burton with Interfaith Welcome Coalition spoke about their own experiences with “tired, hungry, scared and confused asylum seekers.”
MyCanyonLake.com has reached out to BAR-W President Kaci Sisk, Texas Border Volunteers and Democratic Women of Comal County for their thoughts, and will continue to update this story throughout the day.