Who is a wire cutter?

A wire cutter is a tool, but a wire cutter is also a person who resisted the fencing of the range — the claiming, by financial investors from Chicago and London — that land used by the Comanche, Apache, and Kiowa peoples, and by pastores living in what we now call New Mexico, as the land became those investors’ private property by act of the Texas Legislature.

You could say that a wirecutter is a person who resists turning common resources — such as land, water, air, and information — into private property.

You could say that a wirecutter is a person who resists the forceful and unwanted separation of people from each other, and from resources.

You could say that a wirecutter is a person who has a very, very bad reaction to barbed wire.


James Boyle, “The Second Enclosure Movement and the Construction of the Public Domain,” 66 Law & Contemp. Problems 33 (Winter/Spring 2003)

Mollie E. Moore Davis, The Wire Cutters, New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1899

Wayne Gard, “Fence Cutting,” Handbook of Texas Online

Las Gorras Blancas, Proclamation, cited in Francisco Arturo Rosales, Testimonio: a documentary history of the Mexican American struggle for civil rights, Houston: Arte Público Press, 2000, at 29, and at the website of the New Mexico Office of the State Historian

This entry was posted in building the Texas Capitol, commons, enclosure movements, English, history, Plains & Panhandle, range wars, reflections, XIT range and tagged , , by Virginia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Virginia

Virginia Raymond is a lawyer, teacher, and scholar who has lived in Austin, Texas for almost thirty years. She currently practices law, teaches writing for Austin Community College, and listens to the oral histories or testimonies of disability rights activists with ADAPT of Texas. Before that, she taught cultural studies, policy studies, and Mexican American legal history for the Center for Mexican American History (CMAS) at the University of Texas at Austin and directed the Texas After Violence Project from its inception in 2007 until 2011. She is a long-time member of the National Lawyers Guild, committed to law "in the service of people..to the end that human rights be regarded as more sacred than property interests." With Tom Kolker, she is the proud parent of three young people: Joey, Rebecca, and Louis.

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