The Bulverde Area Republican Women held its meeting Monday night, despite protests from local organizations and community members.
On Aug. 8, 11:34 a.m., BAR-W posted on its Facebook event page that the meeting featuring Texas Borders Volunteer member Jim Gibson was cancelled.
“Due to a credible threat of disruption, with potential harm to people and facilities, we are cancelling the Aug. 12th Bar-W meeting,” the BAR-W statement said. “The safety of our speaker, membership, guests, and GVTC personnel is paramount.”
One of the replies on the event page suggested that the group reconsider the cancellation and hire extra security. The post did not get a reply from the group.
Other organizations and community members wanted the meeting to be cancelled or postponed due to the timing. On Aug. 3, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, injuring 24 people and killing 22.
According to an affidavit, the gunman said he was targeting Mexicans.
The gunman also wrote a four-page manifesto saying he was responding to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
The manifesto brought up much debate on anti-immigration language, and how it is associated with false information and fear mongering.
Gibson is a retired Air Force veteran and a member of the Texas Border Volunteers. The TBV is an organization that supposedly helps border patrol with securing the border and seeking out undocumented immigrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border.
BAR-W moved the meeting to Buck & Doe’s Mercantile, an indoor gun range and archery pro shop.
The group also did a Facebook live feed of the meeting, where the video remains. Throughout the meeting, Gibson kept referring undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens, and that they were criminals breaking the law.
According to Cornell Law, 8 U.S. Code § 1325 and 1326, Improper entry by alien, the offense is a misdemeanor. Still, the American Immigration Council said it is the most federally prosecuted offense.
Gibson told BAR-W members and attendees that they are not a militia, and that the media was wrong in calling them that.
According to Britannica.com, a militia is an “organization of citizens with limited training, which is available for emergency service, usually for local defense.”
Vocabulary.com said a militia “is a band of civilians trained to do army type business, without officially joining the army.”
The Democratic Women of Comal County were one of the organizations who wanted the meeting postponed. They also said they did not send any threats.
Although the meeting took place, Margi Koranek, DWCC’s communications, said they have other priorities and are ready to move on.
“We are proud of the way we handled the situation,” Koranek said. “We stood up for our beliefs in a polite and peaceful way. Now, we are moving on.”
It is unknown who threatened the BAR-W and Gibson, or if they have reported the threats to police.
Attempts were made reaching out to BAR-W President Kaci Sisk, but she did not respond by the time the article was published.