Tag: Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca

The Flip Side

I want to thank Chris, Rose, and Ankhesen Mie for their recent comments, as well as everyone who responded to my most recent article for the Huffington Post. The 160 or so comments I got on HuffPo are the most I’ve received for one article. And only a few people there were nuts and/or unruly.

That post, of course, was about the shooting death of a teenager, which clearly is a depressing topic. So these days, I’m looking for a sliver of optimism out there. I may have found it.

Now, I’ve written before that I’m a fan of PostSecret. This is despite the fact that too many of the secrets are actually just sappy affirmations. And I also think it’s odd that the creator of the site includes at least one image of a female breast in every week’s batch (that’s not a criticism; just an observation).

In any case, PostSecret may have achieved a goal that all we bloggers have, which is to save a life. This accomplishment has, for some reason, eluded me on this site.

But PostSecret may have done it. A few weeks ago, the site ran the following:

Yes, for some inexplicable reason, the illegal immigrant who made this card feels that Americans would be happier if he just dropped dead. I don’t know where he got that idea… unless it was the nonstop barrage of right-wing media outlets blaming the undocumented for everything from the economic collapse to imaginary crime waves, with rage-filled commentary that implied individuals without papers are less than human.

But really, I’m sure that had nothing to do with it.

So did the illegal immigrant jump to his or her death? No one knows.

With hope, however, this person saw the response that the secret provoked, and maybe this changed his or her mind.

“Time” magazine reports that, because of the postcard, “within 24 hours, nearly 20,000 people had signed up for a Facebook group titled ‘Please don’t jump,’ which was … linking in thousands of supportive comments.”

PostSecret adds that in the week since the secret was posted, “over 50,000 of you joined an online community offering encouragement and help” and that earlier this week, “hundreds are meeting on the Golden Gate Bridge to take a stand against suicide.”

I have to admit that this is quite a showing of support for one scared illegal immigrant. The outcome serves as a much-needed antidote to the hateful comments about the shooting death of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca (again, see my previous post).

Does this mean that there is still a kernel of compassion left in the increasingly jingoistic American soul? Is it possible that many people see the undocumented as fully human rather than as pests to be exterminated?

Well, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?


Shoot First, Ask Questions Never

In a recent post, I wrote about how violent crime is down in states that border Mexico. This is true despite the repeated fear-mongering of right-wingers, who insist that millions of illegal immigrants are swarming American cities to murder, rape, and desecrate at will.

As it turns out, however, this week offered a spectacularly bloody example of violence along the border. Unfortunately, the violence was committed by us.

You’ve heard, no doubt, that a fifteen-year-old boy was gunned down near Cuidad Juarez. A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot the teen, supposedly because the boy was among a crowd of Mexican kids throwing rocks at the agent, who feared for his life. Others have said that the agent freaked out and started firing into Mexico, killing a kid who was no threat.

The victim, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, was either “a straight-A student” or a “repeat juvenile offender” with a “history of involvement with human smuggling,” depending whose story you believe. Of course, it doesn’t really matter. Either the action was self-defense, or it was murder.

I don’t know if the shooting was legit. From this one video clip, it certainly looks like the Border Agent overreacted. But to verify that, we need an investigation.

One would think this is a fairly reasonable request. However, the opinion of many on the right is that even looking into the shooting is an unpatriotic travesty. We’ve heard that the agent should get a medal, and that questioning his decision to open fire is nothing more than liberal, hate-America, criminal-coddling demagoguery. But that’s not the most intense aspect of this story.

For that, one needs only to read the online comments posted about the shooting. My favorite was the straightforward “One down, 12 million to go.” We’ll set aside the fact that the boy was not actually one of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in America (his body was found in Mexico). The implication, of course, is that we need a systematic liquidation of the undocumented.

I have to assume that the commentator was spouting off and didn’t mean his post to be a call to genocide (of course, who really knows). But many others have posted similar sentiments.

The point is that regardless of one’s opinion of illegal immigration, it is beyond vile to gloat about a teenage boy getting a bullet in the head. It’s particularly grotesque that many of the people who post such comments consider themselves fine examples of American virtue and/or Christian compassion.

Just recently, I wrote that sending more troops to the border seemed odd unless they were authorized to use lethal force. And in such cases, “I doubt that all but the most hardened Minuteman will be indifferent to the inevitable sight of a gunned-down family.”

Clearly, I was wrong. Many Americans are so full of the milk of human kindness that it causes them not one pang of disgust to hear about a child shot down. In fact, to many, it may even be a cause for rejoicing.

I’ve written that the first step in immigration reform is to see the undocumented as humans, rather than as some virus that needs to be eradicated. This seemingly obvious statement, unfortunately, needs to be reiterated from time to time.

Again, when it comes to this case, I don’t know if the Border Patrol agent was justified or if he’s some trigger-happy nut. But it certainly isn’t un-American to ask the question.

Nor is it admirable to do online cartwheels when a teenager gets killed. And that’s true, as hard as it is for some people to believe, even if the kid is Mexican.


  • Calendar

    December 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Nov    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • Share this Blog

    Bookmark and Share
  • Copyright © 1996-2010 Hispanic Fanatic. All rights reserved.
    Theme by ACM | Powered by WordPress