A group calling itself the Republic of Texas is in the news again. Members of an organization that claim they are not secessionists like many have described them in the past, say the state of Texas never joined the U.S. Republic to begin with, according to a New York Times report.
Last month, the controversial “secessionist” group, led by John Jarnecke, was raided by several U.S. law enforcement divisions in Bryan, Texas. Republic members were there as part of a Valentine’s Day meeting to discuss policy, updates and other orders of business.
State, federal and local authorities burst into the meeting where women were present who had just been presented roses for the holiday. There were no arrests, but a number of the members were detained, questioned and fingerprinted. Additionally, several documents and phones were seized.
Evidently, the raid on the Texas group that claims it never joined the U.S. Republic, is centered on a recent letter to a judge in Kerryville, who presides over a member’s foreclosure case. The group’s attorney sent the judge a “subpoena” that ordered him to the meeting at the V.F.W. hall in Bryan. It mandated that he provide “proof” of his authority to adjudicate the case over a “foreign entity.” Additionally, the letter included a warning that any documents provided will be handed over to the United Nations.
Dave Kroupa, a practicing chiropractor in Katy — and member of the Republic of Texas who signed the letter to the judge — weighed in on the raid.
“They came in looking like John Dillinger and the gang were hiding out. The ladies were armed with roses. The most confusing thing I ever witnessed was this silly raid in 59 years of my life.”
Members meet monthly in sessions of “congress.” They believe in the sovereignty state so much that they have identification cards that claim diplomatic immunity. Additionally, they have their own currency used for exchange. The conflict with law enforcement is based on a number of factors.
First, the group constantly touts Texas’ independence because it never joined the United States Republic. Members have sent several letters that appear to be in an official government capacity. One such letter was sent to the governor of Oklahoma in 2011 with a warning that her state was “trespassing” on a territory that belongs to its “nation.” Within it contained threats of an “indictment” if Oklahoma does not cease and desist from “trespassing.”
Second, the group’s history is marred by violence. In 1997, under the leadership of Richard L. McLaren, the ROP kidnapped a Texas couple and held them against their will during a standoff with police. A gun battled ensued and a member was shot and killed. McLaren was arrested and charged with a number of felonies. He is still serving out a sentence in a state jail.
Jarnecke, spoke to reporters about last month’s raid. Despite the ongoing controversy and tension with police, he maintains that Texas never joined the U.S. Republic during the time referred to in history books — 1836 and 1845. Therefore, the referral of his group as secessionists is inaccurate, he claims.
“We in the Republic do not need to secede, because we never ceded it to them to start with.”
A local commissioner downplayed the importance and impact of a group that claims Texas never has joined the Republic. They simply said the group is comprised of old men and retirees who have nothing better to do with their time but write “harmless” letters.
Sheriff Hierholzer is not so dismissive of the group’s intentions. He defended the raid, given the nature of similar groups that sprouted up in the past.
“I don’t have a problem with this group, but when they do things that violate the laws of this state, then I have to take action. If I had just sent one officer to this meeting, to execute that warrant, I have a serious concern as to how safe my officer would’ve been.
“You look at Waco, Timothy McVeigh, some of this ‘sovereign citizen’ stuff. There’s radicals in everything we do. It’s the radicals that I’m concerned about.”
Do you think the claim by the group that says Texas never joined the U.S. Republic has merit?
[Photo by: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]