In struggling to contain my anger towards a concept of local justice that has somehow replaced any logical sense of real justice really is in this country, it is obvious that the town of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania is in need of federal oversight. I find that the case of the beating death of a young Mexican immigrant has more than tested my nerves and I am not even party to the fore mentioned case. Immediate federal intervention from the Attorney General’s office must be swift and forthcoming: it cannot sit on this. If they do, they will be spitting on the Bill of Rights that is supposedly colorblind.
Luis Ramirez a Mexican immigrant died of blunt force injuries soon after a quarrel with two teens -Derrick Donchak, 19, and Brandon Piekarsky, 17, both from Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Yet, to the shock of all, the Schuylkill County jury that contained an all Caucasian jury of six men and six women came back with a final verdict for Mr. Piekarsky and Donchak of guilty of simple assault. Adding insult to injury the jury also found the two teens ‘not guilty’ of third-degree murder in the death of Ramirez, who died of blunt force injuries? The two were also were acquitted of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and ethnic intimidation essentially stripping Mr. Ramirez of any sense of human or civil justice, dignity or validity.
I honestly believe that cases like this highlight the continuing need for discussion on race relations beginning in the K-12 school system the United States, however I do wonder how much polarization certain communities can take until it is too late. What is wrong with this country when a victim’s family knows for sure that there will be no true justice? If this Third Reich mentality is allowed to foster and spread then we will be no better than the Nazis in WWII. Weather it be a man, woman or child that incurs the wrath of violent ignorance, and regardless of their station in life, they are given the same basic rights at birth, and as equal of those that were afforded to the perpetrators. Unless I am wrong, I believe the civil and human rights of Mr. Ramirez were overstating denied both by the crime and then to add insult to xenophobic injury once again by the jury in question. With the realities of the crime documented properly, the careful and professional prosecutorial quality of casework, the verdict given by the jury was unwarranted, based on racism, xenophobia, and a serious lack of ethics. There was no justice for Mr. Ramirez on that day.
The defendants in this case while being painted as real stand up good Americans, I have no doubt that they represent the governing mentality of the area. As for the jury’s judgment I continue to be not surprised as the public now knows for sure that there are at least 12 inbred morons in Pottsville, PA. As this case points out, since 9/11 xenophobia understandingly has been on the rise, as right-wing talk show hosts like Michael Savage are now spreading more hatred and death faster than the 2009 H1N1 Influenza virus. Savage gives his listeners examples on how ‘to avoid the swine flu,’ by stating, “And that starts in the restaurants” where you “don’t know if they wipe their behinds with their hands!”
Many questions need serious answers right now. I believe it is way past the time that we begin that national conversation. The defendants forget that they live in a country that was forcibly taken by their ancestors from another people whom still live among us as American citizens. They have forgotten the premises of what we stand for as a nation with whose promise to immigrants are encased in a monument in New York harbor. Lo and behold, they find themselves once again as the predator. American parents need to face the other side of our truths, and be forced to re-visit the issues of human and civil rights before they are allowed to teach their children. For that matter, just plain tolerance, would suffice for now.
As we have just witnessed that the organic and living document we call the Constitution of the United States has meant more or less to more and less, and within all rights. From the earliest of beginnings to contemporary times, social contracts much like the Constitution of the United States of America have been the common base in how people interact with each other within our respective countries, our states, cities, neighborhoods and schools. In November of 2008, our constitution had witnessed the very best and yet now it witnesses the worst of our humanity.
Finally, as long as there remains memories of violence in the mind of a loved one of a murdered immigrant in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, the mother of a gay son in Casper, Wyoming, or the wife of a black man whose life ended at the end of a rope tied to a pick up truck in Jasper, Texas, these questions must continue to be asked. As we have already realized that when a segment of society is constantly marginalized it is only a matter of time until the community itself once again pays the price.
May 2, 2009