Category Archives: Law Enforcement

Am I Taking This Personally Or Something?

Yes, I am taking it personally. Trump and his assistant Steve Bannon made it personal almost from the start, when they painted a big target on the back of my youngest son, who happens to be Hispanic, brown and an American citizen, and on the backs of many of my American-citizen neighbors, about 70% of whom also happen to be Hispanic and brown.

Now my boy is 16, and legally driving a car around our little Texas town, sometimes by himself, with a target painted on his back by the Trump Administration. President Trump demonized Hispanic people almost from the minute he began running for president, and renewed his ugly diatribes against them, backed up by ugly ICE actions, almost from the first day of his presidency.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have suddenly been showing up randomly in major cities near the border, such as Houston, in a show of deportation force. In February, an El Paso woman seeking a restraining order against her physically abusive husband was arrested by immigration officials at the courthouse. That wasn’t the only time. In New Mexico, a day after a purposely visible immigration raid, 60% of the students at public Los Cruces’ schools went absent, afraid ICE officers would arrest them or their relatives on school grounds.

Bottom line, because of the current anti-immigrant fervor Trump/Bannon have fomented, Latin American citizens may be detained and hauled off somewhere and then deported, whether or not they are U.S. citizens. If my brown son and four of his white friends were walking past a couple of immigration agents on our street, it’s a safe bet that he would be much more likely to be stopped and questioned about his citizenship than they would.

So yeah, I take this personally.

Just as an aside, several years ago I ran a Houston database applications company employing a number of excellent computer programmers. One of them had an immigration problem. His visa was in order, but his wife’s had expired and she’d been unable to get an extension. It was a constant worry, but at least they didn’t have to be concerned that immigration would pull them over during a random inspection stop.

They were both British and white.

Just as another aside, in case any “nationalists” happen to be reading, Hispanic immigrants aren’t taking your jobs – they are putting roofs on your houses, picking your fruit and vegetables and processing the meat you put on your table. They do the hard, back-breaking, hot, tedious work you have no intention of doing.

And as a final aside, the number of illegal Mexican immigrants in the U.S. has declined by more than 1 million since 2007. Illegal immigration from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala has increased, because gang violence and near-failed-state government has forced residents of those countries to flee for their lives and the lives of their children. They are not crossing into the U.S. to engage in crime, they are trying to escape it. Many of them deserve asylum.

But instead of an American beacon of hope on the Statue of Liberty, the “America first” policy being promoted by President Donald Trump, Puppet Master Steve Bannon and Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions would put white Christians first, and everyone else left behind or left outside a walled-in shell of a once-great country.

Also posted in Be Afraid, Family, Government, Politics

The Role Of The Police

Suddenly you can’t read a news site home page without running across another report of police shooting or maiming unarmed citizens, often citizens who happen not to be Caucasian. I suspect such incidents have been occurring at about the same frequency over the past few years in the U.S. as has been the case in the past few months, it’s just that national news organizations have decided these events deserve more attention. I think they’re right.

The reports are disturbing to me, especially since one of my sons happens to have brown skin and soon will begin driving a car, and in many parts of the country including my home state of Texas, merely having dark skin subjects a boy to a higher level of police scrutiny than would otherwise be the case.

A lot has been said and written about this topic lately, by people with more expertise and knowledge than me, but that’s rarely stopped me from adding my 2 cents in the past, so why now?

This is just a little story about what occurred a few days after my family and I moved into our present home in little Richmond, Texas, population 14,000 or so, at the southwestern edge of the Houston megalopolis. There was a knock on the door one late afternoon. On the front steps was a city policeman.

He said he’d noticed that someone had bought the house and moved in, and since we lived along his police patrol route, he thought he would stop and introduce himself to us. We could call him and let him know if we ever went on vacation, he said, and he would keep an extra eye on the place while we were gone. We shook hands and he left.

A small thing, but from then on we knew it was Officer Ronnie in the squad car when it went by, He knew who we were, just like he knew the rest of the neighborhood. He became friends with one of my neighbors, who gave Officer Ronnie some space in his back yard to plant a garden. On a couple of occasions, I dropped by across the street and we had a couple of beers when Officer Ronnie was off duty. For a few months, Officer Ronnie was dating a woman who lived down the street.

The point is that Officer Ronnie knew us and we knew him. We appreciated seeing him on patrol. It would have been unthinkable for Officer Ronnie to brutalize someone during an arrest. That wasn’t in his character.

Residents in cities such as Houston or St. Louis or New York probably could never enjoy the kind of citizen/police officer relationship we still have here in Richmond. There are simply too many people to make such personal relationships possible because of time constraints.

But it’s also a matter of attitude. Officer Ronnie was more like a protective older brother or sometimes a referee. I have to wonder, even at the big-city level, do Americans really need a quasi-military force with helmets and body shields and an attached arsenal? Or is a protective older brother good enough?

Also posted in Government