In 1875 the border region in Texas along the Rio Grande was out of control. Armed raiders from Mexico, both Mexican and Anglo-American, routinely crossed into the United States, stealing cattle, burning homes, and murdering American citizens. The United States government stood apparently impotent.
On November 20, 1875, Texas Rangers under the command of Leander McNelly crossed into Mexico to recapture several hundred stolen cattle. They were confronted by a bandit force that constituted a small army under a former Mexican general named Juan Flores Salinas. The ensuing confrontation turned into a full-scale battle.
In the midst of the ensuing melee, the United States Army arrived on the Texas side of the border. A message was delivered to McNelly inside Mexico for the commander of the American forces, which read as follows.
“Advise Captain McNelly to return at once to this side of the river. Inform him that you are directed not to support him in any way while he remains on Mexican territory. If McNelly is attacked by Mexican forces on Mexican soil, do not render him any assistance. Let me know if McNelly acts on this advice.”
The American government, which could not act to guarantee the safety of its own citizens apparently did have the time and energy to reign in Texas law enforcement officers attempting to restore order.
McNelly carefully read the message and responded as follows, “The answer is no.”
Shortly thereafter another message from the U.S. Army arrived.
“Major Alexander, commanding: Secretary of War [William W.] Belknap orders you to demand McNelly return at once to Texas. Do not support him in any manner. Inform the Secretary if McNelly acts on these orders and returns to Texas. Signed, Colonel Potter.”
Captain McNelly issued this almost instantaneous response.
“Near Las Cuevas, Mexico, Nov. 20, 1875. I shall remain in Mexico with my rangers and cross back at my discretion. Give my compliments to the Secretary of War and tell him and his United States soldiers to go to hell. Signed, Lee H. McNelly, commanding.”
The next day McNelly recrossed into the United States. He brought with him every head of stolen cattle. The Mexican bandits had capitulated to his demands.
McNelly was a man of his times, and his methods for restoring peace in a largely lawless area would not pass muster today. He has been often criticized for the level of violence he employed and his unilateral decisions to cross into Mexico when he deemed it necessary in the pursuit of raiders.
Still, McNelly stands for something very fundamental in the spirit of American law enforcement – justice. People were dying. Lives were being destroyed. Ultimately, he did not care about politics or personal advancement. He cared about living up to the oath he swore when he put on a badge and doing the right thing.
One wonders whether or not that spirit continues to live in the hearts and minds of the men and women who serve in law enforcement today.
In 2019 the FBI arrested Roger Stone for a series of white-collar crimes. The usual procedure would have been to have contacted his attorney and arranged a time for him to turn himself in. Instead, the FBI sent a SWAT team to raid Stone’s home in the predawn hours and tipped off CNN to be present to maximize the impact.
The goal was clear. Stone was guilty first and foremost of opposition to the Democratic Party and the new orthodoxy. He needed to be made an example of.
Did anyone in the FBI chain of command stand up and say, “I will not participate”? Did the commander of the team that raided Stone’s home ever consider turning in his badge and refusing to be part of a blatant abuse of law enforcement authority?
Only recently the FBI raided the home of James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas. O’Keefe described the event this way to Fox News.
“I woke up to a pre-dawn raid. Banging on my door, I went to my door to answer the door and there were ten FBI agents with a battering ram, white blinding lights, they turned me around, handcuffed me, and threw me against the hallway. I was partially clothed in front of my neighbors. They confiscated my phone. They raided my apartment. On my phone were many of my reporters’ notes. A lot of my sources unrelated to this story and a lot of confidential donor information to our news organization.”
The FBI then appears to have leaked information taken from O’Keefe directly to the New York Times, so it could use them in a series of hit pieces against Project Veritas.
What was the FBI looking for? A diary penned by Joe Biden’s daughter, which allegedly contains entries written by her discussing her belief that she was molested as a child and referring to showering with her father as a young girl. The showers are reportedly described in the diary as “probably not appropriate.”
Did anyone in the FBI chain of command question why they were raiding the home of a journalist in what could very well be construed as an effort to cover up the sexual abuse of a minor? Was there a single FBI special agent who even considered the possibility of disobeying an order that smelled an awful lot like an attempt to conceal criminal behavior by a sitting President? Importantly, “O’Keefe says that Project Veritas was approached by people who claimed to have the diary and that ultimately Project Veritas turned the diary over to law enforcement authorities,” last year.
Over two years ago the FBI came into possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop. That hard drive is awash in information detailing apparent influence-peddling on the part of Hunter and the Biden family. Much of that information raises questions about direct payoffs from individuals in Communist China. Nothing has been done with that information to date. In all likelihood, nothing will ever be done.
Is there anyone in the Department of Justice or the FBI with access to the information on that hard drive who is bothered by that? Is there a single prosecutor in DOJ with the courage and backbone to stand up and seek indictments against members of the Biden family for selling out their country and acting against the interests of the United States of America?
American law enforcement officers do not work for the party in power. They work for the American people. They do not serve in order to do the bidding of some despot. They serve to enforce the law and preserve the Constitution.
It took McNelly about as much time as it takes to write a few lines on a piece of paper to refuse a direct order from the U.S. military and invite the Secretary of War to “go to hell.” One assumes it never crossed his mind to respond in any other way. The political repercussions of his decision were irrelevant. He was going to do the right thing.
We desperately need to recapture that spirit in this country today. We need the men and women of American law enforcement to stand up and remember why they swore to serve and protect. Their responsibility is not to a self-appointed elite. It is to us.
Where is McNelly when you need him?