Burning down the house
John Derbyshire seems conflicted by a story out Farmingville:
Five Long Island men have been indicted for firing a July 4th rocket through the window of a house in Farmingville, a lower-middle-class town near here. The house, which was burned out, was occupied by Sergio Perez (33), his girlfriend Maria Garcia (23), and their two children (5, 1). Mr. Perez comes from Hidalgo, Mexico. The perpetrators of the crime seem to have been motivated by anger at the large Mexican presence in the town, most of it made up of illegal immigrants. The local newspaper, Long Island Newsday, has a small database of current and past stories on the incident.
I have been reading about this story since it came up, over the July 4th weekend. It is a pretty awful story–I mean, nobody, least of all helpless little tots, should be burned out of their home in the middle of the night. However, there is a small point about the reporting of the story that vexes me: So far I have not seen Mr. Perez’s immigration status noted. Is he an illegal immigrant? None of the several Newsday stories gives any clue. They seem not to be interested in the point at all–which is not very surprising, as Newsday has a hard-left editorial line, and is strongly sympathetic to illegal immigrants. It actually prints the phrase “illegal immigrant” in quotes, on the very rare occasions it prints it at all. (By far the more usual formula is “day laborer” or, when they feel they really cannot avoid referring to a person’s immigration status, “undocumented alien.”)
Newsday has a left-extremist columnist named Paul Vitello, much given to weepy reminiscences of his own immigrant (Italian) grandfather… though whether the grandfather entered this country legally or not, is a thing Mr. Vitello has not yet vouchsafed to us. Referring to a previous anti-Mexican incident in Farmingville, Vitello wrote (on August 3): “This was the second time that so-called illegal Mexican immigrants living in Farmingville could say that [i.e. ‘they tried to kill us’] about their so-called legal American neighbors.” We seem to have a mindset here where there is no such thing a legality or illegality in the sphere of immigration control, only “so-called” legality and “so-called” illegality.
I repeat, if the facts are as reported, this was a horrible crime that deserves harsh punishment. I am only observing that some elements in the local reporting of it are… rather peculiar.
Derbyshire seems more concerned about the victims immigration status than the crime commited against them. Actually, he’s not conflicted at all…
Not that the people over at National Review are racist or anything.