tainly like to see him document such arnclaim. Just a brief survey of the gunrnclubs and hunting clubs that existed inrnthe 20’s and 30’s would suggest that therncitizenry was well armed. Until a lawrnwas finally passed prohibiting it, one ofrnthe favorite pastimes of Angelenos wasrnshooting jackrabbits from the rear platformrnof the passenger cars (the “big redrncars”) of the Pacific Electric Railway.rnQuail and dove were shot in fields inrnWest Los Angeles. Before I was bornrnmy older brother and an uncle huntedrndeer in the canyon behind our house.rnBear and mountain lion were occasionallyrntaken, too.rnNearly every household in our neighborhoodrnin those davs (and still in myrnday) had a shotgun, a .30-06 and a .22.rnWhen the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor,rnthe Army had trouble gettingrnenough soldiers to guard the ports, harbors,rnand beaches of Southern Californiarnagainst an anticipated attack. My brotherrnrecalls all of the men in the neighborhoodrntaking turns patrolling the nearbyrncliffs overlooking the Pacific. With theirrnbolt action aught sixes they were readyrnto give the Japanese imperial navy whatrnfor! (Actually, considering what a fewrnMarines and construction workers didrnin defense of Wake Island, our cliff-toprnmilitia just might have made thernJapanese pay a dear price for an invasion.)rnSecond, Mr. Van Valen refers to “ill-organized,rnad hoc gangs that proceeded inrna criminally violent fashion to breakrnstrikes and disrupt other lawful unionrnactivities” as vigilantes. They soundrnmore like hired thugs to me. Certainlyrnsuch actions have nothing in commonrnwith the vigilantes of Aurora and Bodiernor of most other mining camps. Mr. VanrnValen has confused lynch mobs andrnhired thugs with frontier vigilantism.rnA careful analysis of the committees ofrnvigilance of the Old West suggests thatrnthe great majority were, in the words ofrnhistorian Richard Maxwell Brown, “sociallyrnconstructive movements”; the majorityrnof townsfolk either participated inrnthe movement or approved of it; the vigilantesrnwere well regulated; they dealtrncjuicklv and effectively with a specificrncriminal problem; they left the town in arnstable and orderly condition; they disbandedrnbefore substantial opposition developed.rnMoreover, a typical committee of vigilancernformed an executive committee,rnadopted a constitution, organized itselfrninto companies and squads, and had arnchain of command. Although impassionedrnand violent, vigilantes were usuallyrnhighly disciplined, orderly, and deliberate.rnThis was not accidental. Manyrnof them had military experience andrnsome were combat veterans, havingrnserved in the Mexican War, the CivilrnWar, or one or more of the Indian wars.rnVigilantes regularly gave those suspectedrnof wrongdoing some kind of trial,rnand not all tried were found guilty andrnexecuted. Of 90 men taken into custodyrnby the San Francisco Committee ofrnVigilance of 1851, 41 were exoneratedrnand released, 15 were remanded to thernestablished authorities, one wasrnwhipped, and 28 were banished. Onlyrnfour were executed.rnFinally, Mr. Van Valen’s closing remarksrnindicate that he has missed thernentire point of my article. The barbariansrnI refer to are not illegal immigrantsrnbut the homegrown variety: good oldrnnative-born American criminals. I merelyrnmentioned in passing that we, as a people,rnas a society, as individuals, not onlyrndo not do much to defend our persons orrnproperty but also do little to defend ourrnculture, borders, and language. Further,rnMr. Van Valen calls me “xenophobic” forrnhaving mentioned it. Expecting arnsovereign nation to control its own bordersrnand regulate immigration does notrnmean one “hates foreigners.” Illegalrnimmigration is a topic for another article,rnI’m afraid, but I might note that it costsrnthe city and county of Los Angeles andrnthe state of California billions of dollarsrna year and has made English a secondrnlanguage in most of the public elementaryrnschools of the Los Angeles UnifiedrnSchool District.rnIt really comes down to a very simplernlaw of nature: an organism that does notrndefend itself, dies.rnMAY 1994/5rnrnrn