So in Arizona you can hold someone against their will, threaten them at gunpoint and sic your dog on them and when it’s all done and over with and charges are brought against you, when the Court rules against you, no problem, Arizona’s anti-Immigrant legislature will create a law specifically crafted to get you out of your misdeed.
At least that’s the case with rancher Roger Barnett who was accused of holding Immigrants at gunpoint and assaulting them, all the while commanding his dog to attack the defenseless Immigrants.
I was interviewed by a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor today via telephone. It was focused on the Brisenia Flores murder in Arivaca Arizona. Our conversation swayed in and out, at times dipping into several high profiles cases here in Arizona in which Latinos were victims of murder. The reporter kept asking me if in fact the case regarding Brisenia Flores was perhaps just a fringe group that had run amok. Well as far as I am concerned Arizona has run amok.
No it wasn’t just Brisenia Flores that was killed by anti-Immigrants. You and I know that this anti-Immigrant sentiment has reached a pitch fever. It has been building for a long time. If you were able to speak to Dr. Rodolfo Acuña he would cite instances back to the 1800′s where Mexicans were scalped and hunted like animals. There has always been a disregard for a Mexican life, especially amongst the ranchers in Southeastern Arizona.
Fast forward to the late 1970′s and you find a young Carlos Galindo attentively sitting in a Court room listening to the case of the Hannigan brothers who according to the Mexican Immigrants that were victims of the Hannigan’s treachery they were severely abused by George Hannigan and his two sons Patrick and Thomas. According to citations from a book written about the incident, “the Immigrants were stripped, and tortured with hot pokers, burning cigarettes, knives and a shotgun filled with bird seed.” George Hannigan died before the trial and the brothers were acquitted by an all white jury. The Feds eventually brought charges against the two and just one brother was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.
Let’s fast forward once again to 2011 Arizona as we reflect on the murders of Brisenia Flores shot in the face by members of a Minutemen group and Juan Varela killed by a white neighbor yelling “go back to Mexico wetback”, “you’re going to die today.”
You see the pattern? The life of a Mexican has no value. The rhetoric has escalated and the vitriol has saturated the very fabric of Arizonan’s lives. Anglos have been effectively desensitized when it comes to violent acts towards Mexicans and Immigrants in general. And that is exactly why the Arizona State Legislature is willing to write a law that will be retroactive 7 years. It’s all about protecting the Anglo and excusing their violence. The particular law has been crafted to protect Roger Barnett and quash the existing judgment against him. After all, it was just Immigrants he abused.
In a story written in the High Country News on October 9, 2000 by the way the sites slogan is:For People Who Care About The West, the story quotes some disturbing comments from one of the Barnett brothers.
Don Barnett, who is 56, and his brother Roger, 58, grew up right here in Bisbee. Don worked as a deputy sheriff in the 1970s and 1980s. Like many border natives, he remembers when citizens of both countries casually crossed la lÆnea[sic], to drink or shop or work. The Mexicans were different in those days, Barnett says. “They acted like human beings. I guess they had respect then,” he tells me. “Now they’re trespassing. They’re animals.”
These are the guys who Arizona’s legislature plans on saving from having to pay their just dues. Like I said, Immigrants and particularly Mexicans rate pretty low on the totem pole of humanity here in Arizona. So according to ex deputy Sheriff Barnett who is part of the Mexican hunting duo, they are just animals. I mean, we shoot animals for their hide and their meat and sometimes for sport right?
Well according to district 10 Republican Jim Weiers this guy should be let off the hook and he tends to see that justice is done Arizona legislature style. According to Weiers the bill will prohibit any “illegal Immigrant” from being awarded punitive damages. Oh, one more twist, the bill will be retroactive to January of 2004 which will take it back to the date before Barnett’s abuse of the Immigrants and will effectively nullify the appellate Courts decision and alleviate Barnett of the judgment currently owed and awarded to the Immigrants for the abuse they suffered while in his custody.
By the way, Arizona State Rep. James Weiers decided to tack this on as an amendment to HB2191 a cosmetology bill. Talk about burying the truth!
Arizona’s 50th legislative session is clearly out of control. What’s next I ask you? Will we being seeing a bill requiring those of Mexican descent to be tattooed with an M and a number? Let’s see where have I seen that before?