Tag: car accident

By the Time I Get to Arizona

My recent site upgrade has distracted me from tackling what is probably the biggest news story affecting Latinos right now. I’m referring, of course, to the Arizona bill that allows (or compels, depending on your opinion) state police to check people’s immigration status.

To be honest, I’m also late to this party because I gave in to a brief stint of procrastination. You see, this issue has lit up the blogosphere so much that I wasn’t sure what else I could add to the debate. So I’ve put off addressing it.

Yes, we know that cops in Arizona, under the proposed law, will be able to racial profile at will and stomp around saying, “Your papers, please.” The Orwellian implications are pretty damn obvious. You don’t need me to point that out.

It’s also well established that the Arizona law is a new tactic of nativists who want to do an end run around federal law and deport every undocumented worker, except of course, for the ones who fix their roofs and water their lawns and raise their children. Yeah, check that aspect as well.

In addition, it’s been hammered to death that Arizona is the land of right-wing nuts who seem to have a problem with anybody who isn’t white. Its hesitancy over acknowledging MLK Day is the stuff of political legend. And currently, state legislators are pushing a birther bill, when even Fox News commentators have moved on from the “Obama isn’t a citizen” conspiracy noise. Ok, that angle is covered as well.

Then there’s the concept, discussed ad nauseam, that the bill would push illegal immigrants further into the darkness and erode whatever communication they have with police or community leaders, all while effectively terrorizing a segment of the population. Yes, we all know that already.

I could comment on President Obama’s decision to slam the bill, which he just did today. But honestly, whatever he says is always twisted into some kind of “He’s a socialist” diatribe by people who are actively rooting and hoping for the country to suffer while proclaiming how patriotic they are. And I really don’t want to get into that.

So what is left for me to say? Well, I did uncover one aspect of this mess that has received less attention than it deserves. Our old friend Senator John McCain, in an interview with Bill O’Reilly, said that in Arizona, “the drivers of cars with illegals in it… are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway.”

Well, here’s my fresh angle.

Clearly, illegal immigrants don’t care about their own safety or property, ramming their cars into others just for the sport of it, so what chance does a red-blooded citizen have? Hell, one might be driving next to you on the freeway right now!

Therefore, consider this entire post a public-service announcement. If you see a Latino in the lane next to you, play it safe and assume that he’s illegal. And then take the next logical step and assume that he’s going to intentionally broadside your car.

As such, take action and run him off the road. After all, it’s either you or him… or us or them… or with us or against us – something like that.

Fender Bender

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been dealing with car problems as of late. In short, my decade-old deathtrap is finally headed for the scrap heap. What was the final blow? What incident pushed the aging metal and chrome over the edge and into oblivion? I can’t be sure, but I think getting sideswiped a few weeks ago finished the car off.

I always did have a bad feeling about that one particular intersection. It may be hyperbole to call it the most dangerous stretch of asphalt in my city, but it always made me nervous.

I drive through it on my commute home from work, and whenever I got past it safely, I gave a prayer of thanks to my Mayan ancestors… ok, that part really is hyperbole.

Nevertheless, it’s a precarious crossroads. And the other evening, my paranoia justified itself (as it often does) when some dickhead plowed into my car as I was driving through the intersection.

I had the right of way when the guy in the minivan tried to turn left in front of me. He succeeded only in whapping the side of my car.

I was, to put it delicately, fucking pissed. I motioned for him to pull over, and he nodded and turned as if to go around the block and circle back. Five minutes later, two things became simultaneously clear: He wasn’t returning, and this was a hit-and-run.

My only witness was a dyslexic good Samaritan, a woman who claimed to have noted the guy’s license plate but had jotted down four digits too many. So I just drove home in my dinged car. When I told my wife that the guy had panicked and driven off, she said, “Maybe you scared him when you got angry.”

I hadn’t considered that. Here was this frazzled Anglo in a minivan who had broadsided an obviously furious Hispanic. For all he knew, I was going to get out of my car and knife him. Perhaps he thought I was riding dirty (Latino variation), or maybe he figured I was a Hmong gang member because you never can tell the differences among all those dark people, especially at night. The funny thing is that I was probably more Italian at the moment, with the wild hand gestures and agitated facial contortions.

In any case, I have to wonder if he would have pulled over and exchanged insurance information if I had been blonde.

But why do I have to even consider these things? It’s not enough that he jacked up my rates and took off. It’s not sufficient that he put the kibosh on my car. Now I have to ponder whether or not I’ve been stereotyped and slurred. This is the way your mind works when you’re not in the majority, whether you want it to or not.

Either way, I can’t prove a thing. My only satisfaction is that I know his car was more damaged than mine was. His headlight popped off, after all.

So I imagine him speeding home to the suburbs with one beam flickering, his mind racing to get his story straight for when his wife asks what the hell happened to the minivan. I can only assume that he will wipe the cold sweat from his brow, embrace his wife in sweet relief, and say, “I had to run away, honey. The guy was Hispanic or something.”

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