Race baiting: the new (deadly) McCarthyism | AspenTimes.com
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Race baiting: the new (deadly) McCarthyism

“Testimony from an immigration researcher and writer before a U.S. Congressional Subcommittee, in 2005

About three years ago in Colorado, a 15-year-old boy was staying overnight at his grandparents’ house, dozing off in his sleeping bag under the summer stars in their back yard, something it was said he really liked to do. That night he was viciously murdered, with his throat slit to the bone. His grandma and grandpa were also killed, by bullets to their heads, shot at close range.

Reading the trial transcript of the murders is chilling and revealing. The killings were executed by a handful of teenage vigilantes, led by a Guyanian national. While these mind-numbing murders in one sense were pathological, it would be a mistake and too easily dismissive to assign a strict disease model to their causes. The killers, you see, were infected with toxic levels of pathological self-righteousness.



Trial testimony showed that the members of this gang were bonded by the curious, stated mission of “fighting drug use and racism.” The killers claimed that the grandfather had uttered a racist word, but, of course, there was no way by then to independently confirm that claim. Even if grandpa had used the word the vigilantes said he used, it was one not unlike those used by Archy Bunker every week on TV. And while often coarse, I can’t remember anything Archy said that could have justified his and Ding Bat’s brains being splattered all over their kitchen walls, or of Meathead’s and Gloria’s kid getting butchered, with only a fragment of bone left connecting his head to his torso.

The state’s media covered the story, but not very probingly. None explored the question about just how such wanton violence could come from a relatively innocuous (alleged) “racist” word. Tellingly, there were no editorials demanding an end to casually spewed but highly inflammatory, murder-motivating accusations of “racism.” I recall no letters to the editor calling for mutual respect and tolerance from the oh-so-vigilant Matthew Starbuck and his like-mindeds, they seemingly too preoccupied with identifying and exposing near-epidemic levels of supposed racism and racists.




Notably, there was nothing from the editorial department of The Denver Post, also guilty-as-charged of race baiting. Nada from The Aspen Times, which once bushwhacked me with an editorial neo-McCarthyism: “He walks like, looks like and quacks like, but we’re not necessarily calling him a [explicative deleted].” These vigilantes missed their historical times. They might otherwise have been famed prosecutors at the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch trails.

In the spring of 1999, I actively jumped into the immigration debate. I had not, however, anticipated the hate mail and threatening telephone calls I would be subjecting myself to, coming solely from my exercising my free-speech birthright. (I wonder how many of those were encouraged by the Times’ slam on me?) Those attacks were often delivered anonymously, and they usually gave me a really big laugh. Indeed, with the e-mails, I took great pleasure in correcting the bad grammar, misspellings and very entertaining syntax, always sure to thank the senders for the “valuable feedback.”

I was also confident in my knowledge that results from focus groups show that most Americans now just roll their eyes and sigh a big, “Oh, boy, here we go again!” when the race baiters reveal just how desperately impoverished they know their positions to be, by pulling out the hackneyed boogeyman of ” eek! ” racism, and then hiding behind him.

But with the horrifying murders, compounded by the glaring absence of appeals for a halt to ever-increasing, murder-inspiring rhetoric, I realized that some of the more aggressive threats aimed at me posed a real, potential danger, so I vowed to stop them where possible and before they might escalate, using whatever it takes. Keep in mind that the killings were not spontaneous; they were ruminated over, planned over time and methodically carried out.

After a dispute I had in the eighth grade with a particularly mean playground bully, my father, who had an Irishman’s proclivity for brawling, admonished me with, “Son, win or lose, never let any man threaten you without cracking him good, or I will see to it that you don’t get any dinner.” I’m a growing boy; I need my dinner ” and I value my life.


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