LatinaLista -- Attacks on Latinos and/or Latino immigrants are nothing new. The nation has witnessed countless examples over the past few years of irrational hatred and brute force directed at Latino immigrants.
Sometimes Latino immigrants lived to tell the tale but too often they died leaving behind grieving families and local communities wondering how civility and tolerance have spiraled so out of control.
So far, the intolerance and demeaning rhetoric directed towards Latino immigrants have been grudgingly tolerated because popular perception has been that it was being done by skinhead punks or ignorant dumbasses who were considered to be too stupid to even pick out on a map the home countries of their victims.
As long as the attacks, both verbal and physical, happened under the dimly lit street lights of Main Street USA at the hands of self-proclaimed punk vigilantes, they could be rationalized by media and community leaders -- and they could also be put on the backburner of national concerns.
After all, punk vigilantes don't represent this nation.
Yet, local, state and national legislators do represent a portion of the nation and when these elected officials commit the same grievous acts of intolerance against Latino immigrants then it's damn well time for the country to refocus on a disturbing trend that is finding increasing acceptance within the hallowed halls of state capitols and Congress.
The latest example is Republican Kansas legislator Virgil Peck of Tyro, Kansas who guffawed as he told his colleagues that the best way to control illegal immigration was the same way as the feral hog population is controlled -- shooting them from a helicopter.
It was only after some pressure from the state governor and another colleague that he issued a two-sentence apology. Yet, his comments warrant a much deeper disciplinary action than just forcing him to apologize and go on about his business.
Thinking that his forced apology is sufficient shows a lack of recognition by the Kansas legislative body that they have a problem on their hands -- a deep disrespect and unconcern for the Latino population, immigrant or otherwise.
Unfortunately, it's a scenario replaying in various states because no one is willing to take a stand and lift this blanket of acceptance and expose it for what it is.
It took several days, and countless blog posts, for the Texas Dept. of Agriculture to finally remove comments supportive of placing land mines or booby trapping the border to maim and kill undocumented immigrants for crossing the border to look for work.
Why didn't the federal administrators of the site instantly recognize that these were unacceptable comments and remove them? Why did it take a browbeating from media to get them to do the right thing?
Is it because something so wrong as plotting death against Latino immigrants has become the accepted norm?
One woman in South Carolina was so disturbed by the hateful things she was hearing local leaders and residents say about Latino immigrants that she felt compelled to speak up and wrote a Letter to the Editor to her local newspaper. Of course, when she did she was immediately attacked by the same incivility and intolerance that is all too common these days.
Yet, she did speak up and it's time more people did:
Hispanics are human beings. They have families for whom they desire a better life. Do you know the circumstances they leave behind, and the risks they take to come to America? I dare say I'd be one to take the same risks.
I have learned that I should never judge anyone until I have walked in their shoes. All I'm asking is that we show compassion toward these human beings.