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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Real Victims of Hate Crimes

It's important to remember that no matter how insane or violent right wing extremists become, the real victims are those on the right. When an abortion provider was shot in Kansas, the real victim was Bill O'Reilly. When the Department of Homeland Security drafted a report on the danger of right wing extremism, the real victims were people at teabag protests. And now the right is being victimized once again.

Washington Post:

U.S. civil rights leaders said yesterday that an increase in hate crimes committed in recent years against Hispanics and people perceived to be immigrants "correlates closely" to the nation's increasingly contentious debate over immigration.

Hate crimes targeting Hispanic Americans rose 40 percent from 2003 to 2007, the most recent year for which FBI statistics are available, from 426 to 595 incidents, marking the fourth consecutive year of increases.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund issued a report that faulted anti-immigrant rhetoric in the media and mobilization of extremist groups on the Internet. The conference said that some groups advocating for tighter immigration laws have invoked "the dehumanizing, racist stereotypes and bigotry of hate groups."

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, called the report "another salvo against free speech by the pro-amnesty coalition... to delegitimize any critic of mass immigration."

Hate crimes against Hispanics are up, but pointing that out is an attack on the free speech of anti-immigration types. I guess anything short of ignoring this fact is an affront to the very foundation of this great nation. If anti-immigrant rhetoric is making people crazy, you just better shut up about it -- because the only people afforded freedom of speech are those on the right. Making crap up about non-existent NAFTA superhighways and a plot by Mexico to reconquer the southwest is free speech. Pointing to documented facts isn't speech, it's an attack on speech. So you just shut up.

So you can imagine how guilt-ridden I am to point out yet another hate crime committed by a right wing extremist. I can't help myself. It must be some sickness I have. I can't keep myself from bringing this up. The mainstream media, especially cable and network news, have done a pretty admirable job of protecting the free speech rights of anti-immigrant types here by ignoring this story, but I feel compelled to attack their constitutional rights by stating the plain facts. I apologize in advance.

Southern Poverty Law Center:

The leader of Minutemen American Defense (MAD), a nativist extremist group that conducts vigilante patrols on the Arizona-Mexico border, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder Friday for her alleged role in the May 30 slayings of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter in Pima County, Ariz.

MAD Executive Director Shawna Forde, 41, allegedly orchestrated a home invasion robbery of a suspected narcotics trafficker because she was seeking drugs and cash to fund her group’s vigilante operations, law enforcement authorities said. The murders, including the killing of the child, were part of the plan, said Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. “She’s, at best, a psychopath,” Dupnik said of Forde in comments quoted by the Green Valley News & Sun.

Raul and Brisenia FloresCrooks and Liars has the recording of the 911 call, made by the mother of the 9 year-old girl. That is, if you have the stomach for it. "They told us that somebody had, um, escaped jail or something and they wanted to come in and look at my house or something. And they just shot my husband. And they shot my daughter and they shot me," she says. "... Oh my God, I can't believe they killed my family."

According to SPLC, "It’s unclear whether the alleged killers found any money or drugs."

You can imagine how terrible I feel for the poor anti-immigration movement. After all, the Minutemen are just a sort of neighborhood watch program, guarding our borders against foreign invaders -- that's what you'd conclude from the media coverage of them. And here I am showing them as racist, murderous, and psychopathic criminals. Shame on me for telling the truth and attacking their freedom of speech. What a terrible person I am.

If the media weren't more respectful of their free speech than I am, I'm sure the real victims here wouldn't be Raul and Brisenia Flores, killed by the psychopath Shawna Forde and her little neighborhood watch group. I'm pretty sure that it'd be someone whose anti-immigration rhetoric is so off-the-wall and so feverish that you really have to question his sanity. I'm sure that, if people starting looking around for someone in the media who's representative of these kind of people, they'd start victimizing CNN's Lou Dobbs. If Bill O'Reilly became the king of anti-Tiller rhetoric after that doctor was shot, then Dobbs would become the king of anti-immigrant rhetoric after these murders. It's a good thing that the media isn't taking this crime at all seriously, because that'd make Lou Dobbs a victim.

I'm sure we'd learn that Dobbs has reported propoganda from white supremacist groups about how Mexico plans to steal California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas as fact. We'd learn that he once characterized a visit by Mexican President Vincente Fox as a "Mexican military incursion." We'd learn that Dobbs has repeatedly accused illegal immigrants of spreading leprosy -- no, seriously. He's that over the top. Luckily for Lou, swine flu came along and he had a less ridiculous type of diseased immigrant to frighten his audience with. Dobbs' show is a descent into the seemingly bottomless stupidity of wingnut conspiracy theories and nativist propaganda.

So thank goodness that the media is ignoring this hate crime. We've got a bad habit of holding people responsible for their extremist rhetoric when someone goes nuts and kills somebody. Ask Bill O'Reilly. Just repeating that rhetoric, just pointing it out, is an attack on that rhetoric. We can't talk about hate, because then we wind up talking about the haters. And portraying them as anything less than freakin' heroes is terribly unfair.


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