Monday, April 24, 2006


Nutjobs and immigration

If America is a melting pot, like people want to believe, then there're some ingredients that just never got melted and blended, like the concept of racial superiority. There are a lot of Americans who hold onto, tightly, the idea that white folks are better than anyone else—or, maybe because prejudice isn't the exclusive domain of one group—that black and brown people are inferior. Mostly, the idea seems to be that America is a white nation and that it's in grave danger of being over-run by non-white people. No matter which way you look at it, though, it's still racism.

Diane Carman: 'Nutjobs add sinister side to debate'
Date: Sunday, April 23 @ 09:34:16 EDT
Topic: Conservatives And The Right

Diane Carman, Denver Post

Maybe it was just an over-the-top e-mail, a trash-talking empty threat. Then again, maybe not.

Scare tactics have become so common as the immigration debate rages, it's hard to know what to fear and what to dismiss as merely the ravings of the ignorant.

After Rep. Terrance Carroll joked that Colorado should build a wall to keep the Minutemen out, he received a barrage of angry e-mails from Minuteman supporters. But one anonymous message warning him that he was "SOOOO lucky lynching and firing squad for treason aren't available punishments anymore" was creepy enough to spur an investigation by the State Patrol last week.

Similarly, Denver's Mexican Consul General Juan Marcos Gutierrez-Gonzalez regularly receives profane, hateful voice mails and e-mails from anti-immigrant activists. But a caller threatening to stalk him and his family went too far.

"We alerted the proper authorities," Gutierrez-Gonzalez said.

Protection was provided, but the effort to intimidate continues.

Sen. Ken Salazar's office notified the police when a white supremacist website rallied anti-immigrant activists to attack lawmakers who support any path toward citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Among the tactics suggested: "Fire-bomb their district offices as a warning, then their private homes if they go ahead with the plan;" "park several Timothy McVeigh-type truck bombs next to the House and Senate office buildings and detonate them;" and "pull a fire alarm in the U.S. Capitol and machine gun them to death as they evacuate."

"We made sure the Capitol Police were aware of those," said Cody Wertz, spokesman for Salazar, who said the Colorado Democrat has received nasty voice mails and e-mails from anti-immigrant extremists ever since he was elected.

Messages have included those from people who obviously aren't aware that the Salazar family's roots in Colorado precede statehood. One said: "The senator is obviously not a Democrat or an American, he's a spic and should go back to his own country with the rest of them."

Then there was this one with sinister Holocaust insinuations: "Put all the illegal aliens on trains and deport them out of the country. They come here in vans, rail cars would be a step up."

"They're very disturbing," said Wertz.

Not as disturbing as the violent fantasies revealed in a report last month from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Neo-Nazi radio talk-show host Hal Turner posted this message on his website recently: "I advocate using extreme violence against illegal aliens. Clean your guns. Have plenty of ammunition. ... Go to the area well in advance, scope out several places to position yourself and then do what has to be done."

On the neo-Nazi Vanguard News Network, one nutjob admitted to being sexually aroused by his delusions. "The bad news is many whites will die." But "if you have a good defense line and lots of ammo, the carnage will be orgasmic."

These sickos are so bad that Rep. Tom Tancredo, who has attracted support from a wide range of viewpoints for his proposals to deport all illegal immigrants, has tried to distance himself from them.

"Any time he gives a speech in a room where he has a suspicion people are there for the wrong reasons, he says the same thing," said spokesman Will Adams. "He says, 'If for you this debate has anything to do with skin color, country of origin or how a last name sounds, get out of the room. You don't help me."'

Tancredo calls them "racists and bigots who pose as patriots."

Still, the slurs and the threats keep coming, and many in the immigrant-rights movement wonder how long it will be before violence erupts.

"We really need to watch our backs," said Donna Lipinski, an immigration lawyer and activist. "We need to remember never to take anything for granted when we are speaking, traveling in rural communities or going anyplace alone.

"Things are heating up. Emotions are running high. People don't think rationally sometimes."

Hate does that.

Source: Denver Post

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