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December 26, 2007

Shooting story

Angela Wilburn, the wife of an Ozarks Minutemen founder (this bit of trivia will come in handy later), apparently shot herself in the knee while investigating noises outside her home. Embarrassing enough, right? Not for Angela; she decided to take the humiliation to a whole new level (12/22, Across Missouri, “Shooting story called a lie”).

I wanted to see how difficult it would be for a non-xenophobe to create the tall tale that Angela told the police. My daughter has won a few awards for her bizarre fiction. I laid out the story to this point and begged her to come up with the most heinous, ludicrous story she could imagine that the wife of a Minutemen founder might create. All she came up with was a lame tale involving attempted rape by a Hispanic man.

Mrs. Wilburn, bless her heart, told police that three Hispanic men had raped and shot her. No attempted rape, and three bad guys. Mrs. Wilburn wins the creative story telling competition, racist division.

If she had just watched a couple of episodes of “CSI,” she would have known that one need not be a forensic genius to shoot a hole through her (knee) story.

Daryl Pitts
Olathe

Comments

Engineer

solomon
Good evening, solomon. My opinion is that the MM's stand concerning illegal immigration is correct and even important to the country. This is not changed by the fact that some may support the MM's positions for the wrong reasons.

solomon

Good evening Engineer,
I used my first paragraph to say this is not an indictment of the MM. The point of what I was saying is that the defense here of the MM is that they are not racist and its about obeying our laws, not hating Hispanics. Here we have the wife of a chapter leader exposing herself, are we to believe her husband is not of similar views. And if the top level members are such, why would it be unreasonable to expect the folks they recruit and that support their leadership to see things the same way.

The first chink in the armor for supporters of this group if you ask me. Of course, this is a blog, and no one did.

Engineer

solomon
One finds it hard to disagree with what you say, but to what does it lead? There are probably people with racist feelings in almost any organization you could name. IMO, illegal immigration is a serious problem that must be solved. That some may harbor feelings against Hispanics and be motivated by them does not change that fact. Nor does it change the fact that the mission of the Minutemen is to aid in the enforcement of our laws.

Engineer


devin
Nothing you say legitimizes illegal immigration. We need to know who comes in and the facts on their background and history. We need to be able to reject those who do not offer a positive contribution to our Nation. It is probably true that many workers on fruit and vegetable farms and in abattoirs and packing houses are illegals. But their low rate of pay does not necessarily make the total cost of living less for the tax payers among us if that income must be supplemented by the Government through EITC and other credits and benefits. As to "exploiting" being a benefit to employers, that would only be true if just one or a few employers in an industry had access to those who could be exploited. Otherwise the benefit goes largely to the consumer and those who pay taxes pick up the slack. See, a nice progressive system when you consider that only 50 percent of those who file Federal Income Tax forms pay any net tax. If there is a real need for expanded legal immigration then that need should be presented to the public and the required changes made to the laws. However, IMO, any such revised laws should favor those with education and skills as they will be of the most benefit to the Nation. With our current percentage of High School "drop outs" we are providing a large group of native grown uneducated and unskilled. And yes, the world may some day run up against "Malthusian constraints" and someday the sun will "flame out". Neither of us will be around to witness which comes first.

solomon

This comment goes directly to a member, but not the MM as a group. We have not heard anything credible that the organization is racist. Most commments here are pro-MM with the dissenters never really making a case for negative claims.

What we do have here is an individual though who definitly harbors racist feelings and was trying to push the publics buttons. Her claim was similar to the woman claiming to be carjacked by blacks and having her children stolen. Turned out that woman killed her children.

My point here is that this woman, wife of a high ranking MM did not just start casting aspersions when this situation came up, or at least that would be hard to beleive. And if this woman came so readily with a story of Hispanic rapists and shooters, can we beleive the topic at the dinner table at their home wasn't about Mexicans but about immigration, as so many people here on this blog would suggest.

devin

"Apparently both parties have decided that illegal immigration is either a right or is needed fro some reason"

I thought the reasons were fairly obvious. If all crops were brought in by laborers earning minimum wage and all the protections entitled to legal workers in America, then food prices would presumably spiral upward even faster than they currently are. There are numerous other low-level, low-skill jobs that, if done by legal labor, would add considerably to inflationary pressures. And when the economy sucks, nobody in elected position is completely safe. Not to mention it's much easier to run a profitable business when you've got an easily-exploitable labor force, so the big business lobby that drives much of our government isn't exactly keen on fixing this problem either.

On the plus side, even though first-generation immigrants probably do cause a net drag on the system (studies vary extremely widely of course, but the average estimates seems to point toward a modest net loss), let's not forget that first-generation immigrants produce second-generation immigrants (and third- and fourth- and so on). I've seen lots of studies of the positive impacts of second generation immigrants. Presumably our country will be around for many more generations, so a little economic drag from first-generationers will probably be well worth it in the long run. I'd like to think the many generations of my family in America have managed to repay our societal costs since we got off the boat :-) And I'm happy to extend the opportunity to as many other families as possible.

We also have to consider that, without immigration, our country's pretty much at a negative net growth rate. With all the empty housing inventory, a social security net based loosely on a Ponzi scheme, and an entire economic system modeled on unending growth, it seems we don't really have much choice economically but to allow lots of immigrants in (legally, of course, but that would mean streamlining the system to make it practical for even Hispanics to enter legally--something presently close to impossible for non-Cubans). Of course, someday we'll probably run up against Malthusian constraints, but at least with adequate immigration we can do what our forebears have done and pass that problem off to future generations...

Engineer

devin
You seem to be implying that the Minutemen do things that they do not do. They observe and report, they do not take direct action. What they do does not differ in principle from what a "Neighborhood Watch Group" does, report to the authorities. IMO much of the opposition to the Minutemen comes from people and organizations that do not believe this Country has any right to control immigration. Illegals are a huge problem and there is no easy, practical solution. The problem has in a way been sponsored by the Government. Every one knew they were here and that they were coming illegally. Actually, there is little chance that any net funds will be collected from most illegal immigrants. Immigrant households headed by low skilled, uneducated individuals at present exert a net cost of around $89 Billion dollars yearly on the Federal Government. If fines or back taxes are levied it is very likely that they will be offset by subsidies. If people are just getting by, how are you going to collect fines and back taxes from them? One thing that could be done is to close the border to illegal immigration and that is the area in which the Minutemen are trying to help. The big problem is that the neither the Government nor the leaders of either party seem really interested in doing so despite the evident desires of a large majority of our citizens. Fences are promised and authorized, but little footage is built. Apparently both parties have decided that illegal immigration is either a right or is needed fro some reason, but no one will advance the reason. Let us hope that it is for something more essential to the Nation than the Hispanic vote for one party or the other.

devin

"I understand the immigration problem and it is a simple one..."
Making statements like that just makes you sound foolish. If the problem was simple, then one of the millions and millions of highly intelligent people in this country would have solved it long ago. You're basically saying this country is filled with morons, except for yourself.

Immigration is a highly complex issue affecting hundreds of millions of people and any action, no matter how well-meaning, is bound to have serious and far-reaching consequences--both predictable and unpredictable. Pretending otherwise will not move us any closer to a solution.

Now, having said that, I find it interesting that I agree with much of what you've said (especially about being tougher on people who violate traffic laws--but that's another issue). I understand your concerns about using a fine. However, this is how we deal with countless legal offences in this country, so why not this one? Ideally, I would like to see a fine that is based on the income earned while in the country illegally, but I suspect such a system would be impractical since records of such income may be impossible to attain in a great number of cases. Let's face it, the message that you can break the law as long as you have the money has already been sent. It's been received and opened and put into practice by many and that is the source of countless problems within our society and legal system. However, attempting to solve that problem while simultaneously solving the illegal immigration problem is just going to make a terribly difficult problem become pretty much impossible.

You also propose giving workers here illegally the opportunity to go through the process legally, but also make them pay back taxes (and I would presume penalties, as well, since that's what anybody would have to pay if they don't pay taxes on time). You believe employers who hire illegal aliens should be penalized. I'm absolutely with you on all of this.

Our only area of disagreement seems to be concerning the Minutemen. I believe the wild west and the days of vigilante justice are over. You say I'm incorrect about "protecting our borders", but I didn't even say anything on that topic. I can only assume you mean that because I don't support the Minutemen that means I don't believe in protecting our borders. That's completely illogical. I don't support a self-appointed vigilante group enforcing the law. We have police and military and border guards and countless other groups who are trained and authorized to enforce the law. In general, I don't support law enforcement by self-appointed individuals and groups who are not trained and authorized to do so. That's not to say there are never exceptional circumstances that require citizens to take the law in their own hands in the heat of the moment. What the Minutemen are doing, however, I believe is different. From my perspective, the Minutemen might be analogous to an inner-city gang that believes it must keep the peace in a situation where the authorized agents (the police) are unable to do so. While the motives may be admirable, a look at history will probably show pretty clearly that "cowboy justice" is not an effective way to build a safe, harmonious society. Fairly or unfairly, the Minutemen arouse strong emotions (both positive and negative), and for this reason alone the organization's continued existence is likely to only hamper efforts to find rational solutions to immigration-related problems in our country.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Speeding and being in a country illegally are entirely different. Actually I beleive they should be even tougher on speeders since so many have total disregard for the safety of others and believe they drive as fast as they choose.
I understand the immigration problem and it is a simple one to address. A fine is not the answer, what you are saying you can break the law if you have the money to pay, wrong message. We need to give these people one opportunity to go through the process legally, make them pay back taxes, punish the employers that hire them. Those that become citizens receive the SAME rights, no more or no less than the rest of us. As far as protecting our border, you are incorrect. We have moral and patriotic duty to secure our borders. If you believe we do not have the duty to secure our border, then you are part of the problem.

devin

Ah, yes, the Minutemen are "true patriots" because they're just enforcing the law, after all. I'm curious, though, suppose you were going a few miles over the speed limit and suddenly found yourself surrounded by armed vigilantes who forced your vehicle off the road. Would you also consider these actions patriotic? It's just law enforcement, right?

Illegal immigration is a crime, and like all crimes should carry a punishment. However, there's huge disagreement in our country right now over what the punishment is. I believe a stiff fine is adequate punishment for those who are working and contributing to society now that they're here--provided they are also willing to follow a path of citizenship. However, there is a significant element that believes this crime should be punished with nothing less than deportation in all cases (or perhaps just being shot on sight). Anything less is decried as "amnesty" and compromise is absolutely out of the question to these people. This is unfortunate, because our inability to find a reasonable compromise and enforce it only leads to a number of serious problems--many of which are the very problems that groups like the Minutemen are upset about.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

I agree she should be punished for perjury.
As should anyone that perjures themselves.
Unfortunately only targeted prosecution will happen, some ghetto minded welfare monger will not be punished nor will well connected politicians or their family.
As for the Minutemen, I sense a tone of dislike from you on these true patriots.
Have you forgotten about the Red Coats?

 
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