Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Personal Opinion

On Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 a tragedy occurred. Phoenix Police Officer Nick Erfle was fatally shot during a routine encounter with a trio of people jaywalking. As I read the article in Wednesday’s Arizona Republic, I was struck again by the utter uselessness of this violence. What possible rationale could someone have for taking another human life over something so trivial? As details continued, however, it came to light that the shooter, Erik Jovani Martinez, had a long history of gang involvement and criminal behavior. He had been arrested in the past and had been deported in March of 2006, only to be arrested again in Arizona in May of 2006.

So, in light of the events that happened in the killing of Officer Erfle, I began to wait for this to become an issue of illegal immigrants. I was not disappointed. Or rather, I was disappointed to not be wrong. In less than 24 hours, According to the Arizona Republic, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon

“called on Washington officials to ‘secure the border and secure it now’ before another officer pays the ultimate price. ‘This individual that took our officer's life is a perfect example, a poster child, of our failed Washington policy for securing our borders,’ Gordon said.” (The complete article is here.)

Amazingly, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said something logical in response. According to the same article,

"It's a big, complex issue," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been in the national forefront when it comes to pursuing undocumented immigrants. Still, Arpaio admitted, "You can't catch 'em all. We have a lot of violence out there, whether you're legal or illegal."

And therein lies the truth. It is merely coincidence that the last two officers slain in the line of duty in Arizona have, been done so by illegal aliens. But you can’t say that to the average reactionary. I have had three separate conversations in as many days with people who are outraged about the problems that illegals cause. I have many thoughts on that subject, which I will not go into here. My main reason for writing this is to examine how we ignore the logic of emotionally charged situations and make rash decisions in doing so.

Whenever a member or a few members of any particular group do something that we disagree with, or do not understand, we tend to attribute that behavior to the entire group and nut to just the individuals doing that thing. Not all illegal immigrants are shooting and killing people. Not all police officers are tasing people speaking out in public. Not all Catholic priests are molesting their congregation’s youth. Not every person with a Southern accent has appeared on Jerry Springer.

Those are just a few examples, but I feel they make my point. Step back from the tragedies and look at things for a moment. Hold the person guilty of the behavior responsible, not whatever group he belongs to.

It seems to me that when something terrible happens like this we, as humans, should be doing more to alleviate the suffering and help each other through it, not making matter worse and adding to the strife through our reactions. Granted, it is difficult in any situation of such high emotion, to be able to examine things in such a manner. But there are always people who should be rational enough to be able to help remind those most intimately affected of the truth. I am just surprised that, in the case of Officer Erfle, it was Joe Arpaio.


Anonymous And[L] said...

Hey, i think u are a good thinker. lol. Nice words, ia dmire u so much. Hope u read it.



9/26/2007 11:10 AM  

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