Friday, December 1, 2017

She was only an American

So the verdict is in, and Kate Steinle's killer is free.  This isn't the first time that someone who should have been in jail walked.  It's just interesting the lack of coverage the entire episode warranted. 

I understand that there is plenty of politics behind this.  I also understand that those who feel justice was not served will be reminded of people like George Zimmerman. 

For me, beyond the sad fact that a beautiful young woman has died, the glaring issue is the lack of this being a glaring issue.  I mean, with Zimmerman (which I've already heard it compared to), it was on OJ Simpson level coverage.  It was everywhere. Daily updates, 24/7 coverage, armies of media, protests and rallies and prayer vigils by the millions.

And young Kate Steinle?  That would be a big negatory.  I first heard of the case by an article linking to a FOX story a year or so ago.  Then I remember Trump brought it up during the 2016 campaign, and there was a little talk.  But nothing major.  Big today, old news the next day. 

And why not?  From Pope Francis on down, what happens to citizens in a country appears to be of secondary concern next to the needs of people coming from other countries, whatever their reasons might be.  If it's not admitted to, the harshness with which any restrictions on immigration is met with suggests that's a big foundation upon which progressive immigration theories are based.

Like terrorism, I assume this principled apathy about negative consequences rests on the qualifier that if immigrants hurt anyone, screw over their lives or commit egregious crimes, then it's the sacrifice we're willing to make - as long as the victims are someone else.  As long as it's other Americans I don't identify with who suffer for the cause, it's the price I'm willing to pay.

Somehow this new martyrdom by proxy, whereby people gamble with that mathematical certainty that it will likely be someone else who pays a price for their ideals, is not a comforting thought.  Then again, it isn't anything new that people who live in lofty towers (or middle class ones) can lose track of the real end of their philosophies:
“Spirit,” said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”
“I see a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.”
“No, no,” said Scrooge. “Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.”
“If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,” returned the Ghost, “will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.
“Man,” said the Ghost, “if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”
Scrooge bent before the Ghost’s rebuke, and trembling cast his eyes upon the ground.
Perhaps before we make statements about our willingness to risk the lives of others, put Kate Steinle's face firmly in our minds, and then replace it with someone near and dear to our hearts.  Know just who that surplus of the latest philosophies might just be, and see if those lofty principles sound as appealing, or even as good, if they end up being someone close to home.

God bless her and her loved ones and give them piece. 

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