Tag Archives: sympathy

“The Good Illegal Immigrant,” Part IV—The Latest Installment In A Series Of Indeterminate Duration. Unfortunately.

Good.

[Earlier installments of “The Good Illegal Immigrant” are here, here and here.]

Not to creep into General Sheridan’s territory, but there is no such thing as a “good illegal immigrant.” The term is an oxymoron. In illegal immigrant in the United States is breaking the law every day, hour and minute he is here. Breaking the law is not good. Breaking the law every day is especially not good. Good people do not break the law every day.

Clear?

Roberto Beristain is the owner of a popular restaurant in Granger, Indiana called Eddie’s Steak Shed. He came to the United States illegally from Mexico City  in 1998. Somehow he obtained documentation to work in the country, even a Social Security card, and checked in with ICE each year. In 2000. Roberto and his wife, Helen  were visiting Niagara Falls—such an American thing for a couple to do!— and accidentally crossed into Canada. When officials realized he was in the U.S. illegally as he tried to return, Roberto was detained. Released on bail,  he was told he had to voluntarily leave the U.S. within a month. Beristain says he did not leave because Helen was pregnant.

Ah. All should be forgiven then! This is known as “making up your own exception to the law.” Also not good.

When Roberto checked in with  ICE last month, that 2000 episode finally came up. ICE took Beristain into custody because when he failed to deport himself, his voluntary order reverted to a final order of removal. Why did it take more than a decade for Immigration to notice?

Don’t get me started. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics

The Good Illegal Immigrant

carlosThe New York Times placed on its front page this week a profile of an impeccable citizen of West Frankfort, Illinois:

Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco — just Carlos to the people of West Frankfort — has been the manager of La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant in this city of 8,000, for a decade. Yes, he always greeted people warmly at the cheerfully decorated restaurant, known for its beef and chicken fajitas. And, yes, he knew their children by name. But people here tick off more things they know Carlos for.

How one night last fall, when the Fire Department was battling a two-alarm blaze, Mr. Hernandez suddenly appeared with meals for the firefighters. How he hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the restaurant last summer as police officers were facing criticism around the country. How he took part in just about every community committee or charity effort — the Rotary Club, cancer fund-raisers, cleanup days, even scholarships for the Redbirds, the high school sports teams, which are the pride of this city.

Now, in part due to a record of two drunk driving arrests, Hernandez  has been  arrested, and is facing deportation. He is, after all, an illegal immigrant, one who crossed into the United States from Mexico in the late 1990s and  never completed efforts to legalize his status. His friends and neighbors, the Times reported, are flooding officials with letters and calls for leniency and forbearance. The mayor of West Frankfort wrote that Hernandez was a “great asset” to the city who “doesn’t ask for anything in return.” The fire chief described him as “a man of great character.” Richard Glodich, the athletic director at Frankfort Community High School, wrote, “As a grandson of immigrants, I am all for immigration reform, but this time you have arrested a GOOD MAN that should be used as a role model for other immigrants.”

“I knew he was Mexican, but he’s been here so long, he’s just one of us,” The Times quotes a West Frankfort resident as citing what she says is a distinction between “people who come over and use the system and people who actually come and help.” “I think people need to do things the right way, follow the rules and obey the laws, and I firmly believe in that,” added the owner of a local beauty salon. “But in the case of Carlos, I think he may have done more for the people here than this place has ever given him. I think it’s absolutely terrible that he could be taken away.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Quiz: From The Ethics Alarms Mailbag…”

panhandlerThe ethics quiz based on a reader’s off-site query regarding the ethics of giving to panhandlers when they are unlikely to use the gift wisely prompted a rich and thought-provoking thread. There were many “Comment of the Day” worthy responses, but I chose this one to represent them, in part because it is the most altruistic in spirit.

Here is my old friend Mark’s Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quiz: From The Ethics Alarms Mailbag…

Back in the days when street folks still asked for a quarter, I used to pass the same guy every day and always gave him $.50 ($2.50 a week). A co-worker seeing me give money to the guy mentioned that the same street person usually arrived to his “office” in a cab. I thought about it for a second and decided that my $2.50 a week – constantly available to me and replenished on a bi-weekly basis – was not enough to challenge what he did with it after it left my hands.

I am also one who will invite someone into McDonald’s with me and have them order what they like. I keep a few dollars in the car for the men and women who haunt the very large intersection near my house. My end-of-the-year charity dollars go to the local food banks.

I am no paragon (I will, however, agree to “exceptionally soft touch” or “sap”). It is simply my own personal practice to help when I can with a fair certainty that I will not – God willing – in this lifetime lack for a dollar (or someone to help me). Perhaps it’s just so much new age crapola, but I believe we get back what we put out. For this sap, it’s just that simple. I have enough trouble sussing out my own motives without trying to figure out strangers with a hard-luck story.

My $2.50 🙂

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Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Daily Life

“Don’t Breathe” Ethics

I just watched the 2016 horror/suspense thriller “Don’t Breathe,” in which Stephen Lang, always excellent, plays a blind veteran whose home is invaded by three self-righteous young sociopaths who intend to rob him. The movie is the latest genre movies with ethical mind-benders concocted in the House of Raimi, as Sam Raimi, the flamboyant auteur behind “The Evil Dead,” “Xena,” the first couple Spiderman movies and especially “Drag Me To Hell,” was the lead executive producer here and Raimi’s protege, Fede Alvarez, directed and wrote the script.

How do I do this without spoiling the film for someone who hasn’t seen it? I can’t. If you intend to ever see the hit 2016 movie but have not yet, then just wait for the next post. Otherwise, read on.

“Don’t Breathe” becomes one of those monster movies where you start rooting for the monster, and even that doesn’t encompass the  ethical morass the movie creates. Imagine “Wait Until Dark”except that the imperiled blind woman (Audrey Hepburn) is replaced by a blind Steven Seagal (the younger, thinner version), or maybe Billy Jack, and he beats the living daylights out of  or kills the three middle-aged male thugs—including a creepy evil mastermind played by Alan Arkin— who get into his house.

Got that? Okay, now replace the three thugs with three attractive twenty-somethings, including a troubled young woman trying to start a new life after an abusive childhood. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

When Race-Sensitivity Becomes A Pathology: The Case Of Kevin Durant’s Shoes

The offensive shoes, and even though they cost $180, the offense is not the shoes...

The offensive shoes, and even though they cost $180, the offense is not the shoes...

NBA star Kevin Durant, who grew up in Maryland’s majority African American Prince George’s County, put both his initials and those of his home community on Nike’s  “KD8 PG County” model basketball shoe. Rather than being grateful or feeling honored, however, many in the community are complaining that Nike, and Durant, has “offended” the area.

“As you can imagine, we are very proud of the success of Prince George’s County native Kevin Durant, and the pride that he has in growing up in the county,” the office of County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said in an e-mail sent to Nike. “We do want to make the Nike corporation aware that ‘P.G.’ is a term that many in Prince George’s County consider pejorative and/or an insult.”

What? I’ve lived in the Washington, D.C. area for decades and heard the county called “P.G.” and “Prince George’s” interchangeably without comment. Now the County’s initials are offensive?

Explains the Washington Post: “Insiders” say the initials could just as easily stand for “Pretty Ghetto” or “Pretty Grim.”

Oh.

Of course, “P.G.” could also just as easily stand for Poor Godzilla, Putrid Gin, Parsimonious Greeks, or Penis Garnish.

Kevin Durant, who is black, decides to give his community a call out and gets slammed for it by activists and race-baiters who are actively searching for ways to elevate themselves, manufacture publicity and influence, and gain the power of the victim.

A group that is perceived—accurately in too many cases—to be so determined to find racial offense that its allies, supporters,  friends and in this case, members must be constantly vigilant and wary to avoid being accused of offense will eventually find their one-time allies sympathy replaced by resentment.

Who in their right mind want to deal with people who are looking for ways to call them bigots? There is a limit to how tolerant society will be of the “microagression” game, and there should be.

Racial sensitivity is edging toward racial super-sensitivity, and that will eventually become a handicap—a self inflicted one—if it hasn’t already.

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Marketing and Advertising, Race

On Immigration, Speech Suppression, War, Terrorism, Police and More, It’s Cultural Death By Compassion Poisoning

Think of the children!Compassion is a wonderful thing. A nation cannot govern or even survive, however, using compassion as its guiding ethical principle. The United States currently seems hell bent on disproving this fact, and is well on the way to confirming it. It is too bad that this is true, and we should all agree that it’s  a damn shame that you can’t run a successful democracy without periodically inflicting pain, creating suffering and harming some human beings in order that many more can live in peace and pursue their lawful ambitions and desires. Nonetheless, that is an immutable fact of existence. Government policy that attempts to deny it is not merely incompetent and naive, but ultimately suicidal. A culture that elevates compassion above all other values like responsibility, accountability, prudence, process and proportion is betting everything on the inherent goodness and rationality of humanity. History tells us it’s a losing bet.

When I woke up to the horrible news of the Paris attacks, and after I had finished simultaneous laughing and crying about the fact that President Obama picked yesterday to proclaim that the threat of ISIS had been “contained,” it suddenly occurred to me that the majority of the crises this nation struggles with today are  linked by the same cultural and leadership malady. The United States increasingly is unwilling to accept the reality that governance is utilitarian, and that punishment, deterrence, sacrifice, pain, retaliation and accountability are indispensable tools that must be used and used unapologetically. The alternative is chaos, and chaos is what we are facing.

An impressive number of these crises have been in the news this week: Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Race, Rights, War and the Military

Ethics Quiz: The 90-year-old Scofflaw Humanitarian vs. The Heartless Mayor Who Isn’t Really

Seiler

[Fred, one of my two regular ethics issue scouts (Alexander Cheezem is the other, and what I would do without their assistance, I do not know: thank you, thank you, thank you, guys!), flagged this classic ethics conflict several weeks ago.]

Some sources reported that a “90-year-old man was arrested for feeding the homeless.” This set off typical fact-free indignation on the social media and talk shows, not to mention the angry e-mails from around the world: Charity illegal???  A kind old man arrested just for trying to help the poor! Cruelty!!! ARGGGHHH!!!

Naturally, this was not what really happened.

For 23 years, since he was 67, 90–year-old Arnold Abbott and his non-profit organization, Love Thy Neighbor, have provided food for the homeless at a public beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Wednesday of every week at 5:30 p.m. This year, on October 21, the City of Fort Lauderdale Commission passed an ordinance that banned such food distributions in public. The ordinance required that organizations distributing food outdoors would have to provide portable toilets for use by workers and those being fed. It’s a health and safety regulation, for the benefit of homeless and vulerable. A few days after the ordinance took effect, on a Wednesday, at a bit after 5:30 PM, Abbott  was approached by police officers and cited for violating the ordinance. He was not arrested. He was told that he must appear in court.

After Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler was called everything from a monster to a Republican (he’s a Democrat), someone finally asked him what the ordinance was all about and questioned his police department’s treatment of the kindly senior. “We hope he feeds, ” Seilor said. “He has a very valuable role in the community. All we’re saying is he can feed the next block over. He can feed at the church. We want them to be in safe secure settings. We wanted them to be in a sanitary matter. We them to have facilities available before and after.” That seems reasonable.

Seiler has also offered an explanation for the ordinance, which was backed by the Chamber of Commerce, that sounds more, well, Republican, saying that  providing the homeless food in public only enables homelessness, and that Fort Lauderdale wants the homeless to use government and church services. “If you are going to simply feed them outdoors to get them from breakfast to lunch to dinner, all you are doing is enabling the cycle of homelessness,” Seiler says. Well, that’s debatable, but it isn’t unreasonable.

Still,  it’s hard to teach old humanitarians new tricks, and Arnold is defiant. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, Quizzes, U.S. Society