Here is a theory - how about armed private citizens patrolling THEIR OWN PROPERTY and not trying to be cops out in the middle of the desert?!!!!
I’m not a cop, but if I saw some armed guys in cammo beside the road at night, I’d have my own gun out in a heartbeat. And if one of those armed men pointed a gun at me, I’d be in fear of my life and might well shoot.
If I’m out in the desert hiking, and someone points a gun at me, what do you expect me to do? Ask them if they are militia?
Those feelings go both ways, which is why the LEOs need to coordinate with civilians, and make sure it is very clear that they are LEOs when they approach civilians - particularly if they too are holding weapons instead of just having a holstered side arm.
Brash statements from either side aren't smart. What is needed is cooperation, coordination, and very clear identification of LEOs.
Let’s put this in perspective. Here is a map of the counties of Arizona. The red blob is the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, an enormous corridor for illegal aliens and drugs on both sides of the border. Large parts of it are almost empty. About 10,000 permanent residents.
Including adjacent desert area, it is about the size of Delaware. For illegal aliens whose destination is Phoenix, in Maricopa County, and drug smugglers who transport through Pinal County, it is about 180 miles from the border.
Phoenix Metropolitan Area is 16,573 square miles.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a lot of deputies. He also has a reserve, and more than a dozen specialized posses for things like lake diving and mounted and mountain rescue, rotary and fixed wing aircraft, etc.
But there is no way they can hope to patrol enough desert to matter.
Pinal County, with the drug trafficking, is likely more dangerous. Its Sheriff has issued his deputies surplus M-16 rifles.
So what impact can the Minutemen have? Actually a goodly amount. They not only report hundreds of illegal aliens, but contact LEOs about drug smuggling. And they also save a lot of lives, because that is a very harsh desert and about 300 illegals die out there every year.
As often as not they do operate on private ranch lands, but they need to function throughout the range.