Posted by: megshoeman | July 30, 2008

The Flip Side of Graciousness

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta says the beating death of an illegal immigrant less than 20 miles from his city is “a real tragedy.”

But Barletta says he doesn’t think his campaign against illegal immigration created an atmosphere that encouraged an attack on Luis Ramirez. Three teenagers were charged Friday in the attack in Shenandoah.

Barletta says the motive for the beating is unknown. He says the “flip side” of the slaying of Ramirez is that illegal immigrants sometimes commit murder as well. (Sunday Patriot- News, Sunday, July 27 2008, A19) 

I know neither what brought Luis Ramirez to this country nor the details of his passage. One of the deeply disheartening elements of this story is the casual, dismissive terms in which the mayor gave his response. How, I wonder, can Mayor Barletta talk about the “flip side” of anything about the individual Luis Ramirez? What a disturbing generalization he makes from the evidently irrelevant particular! The victim Ramirez hadn’t killed anybody and yet the mayor talks about a flip side on which illegal immigrants sometimes kill people too. People kill people indeed but this is not the flip side of Ramirez.

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