CRIMES IN LINE WITH THE DOMINANT PARADIGM are not seen as criminal. Others rouse fury and command milkbox galore. As Noam Chomsky said about terrorism being a simple distinction on which direction the guns were pointed in, so goes the justice system and media in the USA when it comes to people of color and whites.
Perhaps volunteering to help the Republican machine move forward in 2008 wasn’t satisfying his need to do something about what he saw as a growing problem. A problem he had tipped off one of his neighbors to recently.
Neighbor Crystal Lynn says “he did come up to me one time and asked me if I was ready for the revolution to begin and if I had any immigrant in my house to get them out.”
So one quiet Thursday afternoon at his Summer Lake town home, Dannie Baker—
—opened fire through a window, according to Walton County sheriff’s deputies.
Racine Libia Balbontin-Argandona, 22, and Nicholas Pablo Corp-Torres, 23, died at the scene.
Sebastian Mauricio Arizaga-Suarez, 27, was shot in the back; Francisco Javier Cofre-Fernandez, 25, was shot in the side of the face; and David Alonzo Bilbao-Meza, whose age is unknown, was shot in the arm.
Baker returned to his home after the shootings and surrendered hours later.
The three injured students have returned to Chile.
A man named Robert Rivera, who attended the hearing this last thursday on behalf of Francisco Javier Cofre-Fernandez, had a much closer seat from which he could ascertain Baker’s motives and told the press that Dannie Baker thought—
he was “protecting America from the hoards of illegal aliens,” Rivera said. He added that “the level of hatred toward liberals, Obama and migrant workers is getting out of hand.”
Baker was “driven by hate and racism and a simpleton mind who’s been listening to hate radio,”
and this is not a new idea, because the connection between hate speech and violence—and specifically involving immigration and Latinos—has been established already.
Dannie Baker is not being tried, after all, though for charges of—
—two counts of pre-meditated, first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, three counts of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm and shooting into an occupied dwelling.
Dannie Baker was transferred from prison to—
—“fits the criteria for placement at Florida State Hospital.”
which in this case involved his performance in—
—a “battery of psychological tests,” and interviews to determine whether he was able to relate facts of the case to his attorney; whether he understood the nature of the proceedings; and whether he understood the penalties he could receive if he were found guilty.
And what about the Dangerous Immigrants?
They all were in the United States on a work-travel program.
And how were they feeling about the USA?
The five students, four men and a woman, had been eating in their host’s home and discussing job opportunities in Destin.
And now? The three left alive have—
—returned to Chile.
So I suppose Dannie Baker was successful! He drove away the immigrants who might have brought…prosperity. New energy. Fresh minds. Hopeful youth.
Well, at least a statement can stand now in public record about those who feed on anti-immigrant energy in such a way. One more case tying Right wing media to social chaos and violence can be collected and understood as part of a truth in this terrible area of hate messaging through media and the potential effects upon human beings.
Right? This is part of the record, right? Because every article about the killings is suspiciously lacking on that angle, on what the eyewitnesses informed us was behind the deed.
Neither Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore nor Dannie Baker’s public defender, Lenny Platteborze,would speculate on a motive or discuss in detail what evidence was found in Baker’s town home after he gave up. Elmore said there “was some evidence gathered in the search of his home that might lead us to some belief as to why it happened.”
So were it not for the woman on the scene who spoke to a reporter (Crystal Lynn), and were it not for one person who attended the hearing (Robert Rivera), the entire nation would have no idea as to why this man went on a murder spree.
In this case, as far as the world’s lessons stand, some madman pumped rounds into some people (who happened to be specifically targeted as Latinos), in public, though for no discussed motive, and might stand trial later. Meanwhile, he resides at a state hospital where charges will be dropped if after five years he is not deemed competent to stand trial (though they could be refiled at that point.)
Dig the distinctions: I’m not here to drool over and cheer on violence against twisted humans like Baker. Fine, let him stay on meds and in a cozy hospital situation. Prison is a hell and it’s easy to start wishing hell on people, but sooner or later your aim is wrong and then you are part of the entire problem. Causing him (further) suffering is not at all what this post is about, nor is it my need or desire.
But aren’t all our systems purportedly in place to help people? And to rectify wrongs? And to better our society and learn and evolve from where we have been?
How do we do that if we hide the truth of how we got here?
When our society treats a blatant hate crime like this, hiding its actuality as well as the fact that such sentiment
provided daily by sickos like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh (and until lately) Lou Dobbs and well-funded by institutions like Rupert Murdoch and blasted out into millions of TVs nationwide
and irresponsible blogs and conservative think tanks and media pump up fear of Viral Mexicans At the Gate while politicians do the same
comment threads resonate with minds that lust for more mexican pain and shame
even Democrats fill the air with talk of tough trials n punitive miles to go yet for our communities
the USA’s own policies drive more immigrants here only to smack into
border walls that swallow up their lives but which are considered a success because they keep the smelly bodies away from our US Green Zone
and the USA’s idea of addressing the problems our two nations share is but to encourage terms decidedly more hostile than “undocumented” and to give FeCal more cashiola for guns and graves
that’s what I call a giant murder machine in motion, and aimed at one part of the population. Sorry if it riles ya. It is dramatically said. And it’s not pretty. But it’s true. And it is fed every day by me and you.
Grab at the plug and pull! Then, we wipe the flaky flurry of dust off the lens. And we—
—keep building a stronger, truer messaging machine.