Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 24, 2013

Who is Robert Fox?: Republic of Texas 'ambassador' (Richard McLaren) still plans to transform the Lone Star State into an independent country

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

AMARILLO — Could the political tug-of-war over national second amendment rights work to help the Republic of Texas spring free of the United States to become its own country once and for all?

Richard McLaren, the self-styled ambassador of the “Republic of Texas” certainly thinks so.

From a jail cell in Amarillo the 59-year-old McLaren continues to obsess on that goal of complete liberation for the Lone Star State.

McLaren recently granted an interview to a Jacksonville Daily Progress reporter at the Clements Unit in Amarillo. He has been incarcerated there for the past 16 years since he was jailed on a  99-year sentence.

The Republic of Texas is a general term for various organizations, some of them  militia groups, which contend that the annexation of Texas by the United States was illegal — and that Texas remains an independent nation under occupation. It was only after McLaren was imprisoned that the one ROT organization splintered into many groups.

McLaren said he now believes the Republic of Texas stands for the territory itself, not for any one group in charge of it.

McLaren describes his plan to save the Republic as the biggest second amendment issue in U.S. history.

“That's what our case is about — the right of a free state and the militia to back it up,” McLaren said. “The militia being the people of Texas. it says right in our constitution all the people of texas have the rivet to bear arms and protect themselves in in the republic or state. … We're all military conservators. We're all members of an unorganized militia. It's our obligation to protect our rights."

For McLaren  — known by many guards in the Amarillo jail as “that crazy guy” for his obsessiveness — it's business as usual.

The emancipation of the Lone Star State has apparently been the only thing that has been on his mind for the years and years since the hostage standoff involving him and his neighbors in the far West Texas mountains. It lasted a week, attracted hundreds of law enforcement officials, and ended May 3, 1997 with his capture.

McLaren is not even sure if he's still married or where that significant other actually is right now. But he continues to cite treaties, laws, books and manuals nonstop as remedies to his Texas problem.

“I'm a prisoner of war,” he said. “Unfortunately for 16 years I've been trying to get the courts, we filed from the very beginning our demand for a hearing on our status.”

For reporters who knew McLaren back in 1997, the only thing that seems to have changed with him is that he's a bit older and his Bozo the Clown-like hair of yesteryear is completely gone.

 “Nothing has changed,” McLaren said with the same intensity he had 16 years ago. “Everything we said back in 1996 and 1997 is the same thing we're saying today.”