Two recent stories worth noting:
First, the story of Joe Horn of Pasadena, Texas. On November 14, 2007, he called 911 to report two men robbing his neighbor’s home. The police didn’t show up in time, and he did what — under Texas law — is completely legal: he confronted the robbers, and when threatened, he defended himself. By shooting them dead. (Side note: both robbers were illegal immigrants from Columbia, posing as Puerto Ricans. One had already been caught and deported on drug charges.) On July 1st, a Texas grand jury refused to indict Mr. Horn. The Latino community was outraged, claiming that Mr. Horn was a vigilante and the a Latino can’t get a fair trial in Texas.
Second, the story of José Medellín. On June 24th, 1993, in Houston, Texas, 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena and 14-year-old Jennifer Ertman were taking a shortcut to get home when they stumbled upon Medellín and four other gang members. After taking turns beating and raping the girls, the decision was made that they should kill the girls to prevent them from identifying their attackers. Medellín strangled one of the girls with her own shoelaces. Arrested five days later, Medellín was Mirandized, then signed a confession. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1997. The Mexican government sent a note of protest to the US state department, expressing “its concern for the precedent that (the execution) may create for the rights of Mexican nationals who may be detained in that country.” Additionally, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague ordered that Medellín’s case — and the cases of 50 other Mexicans on death row in the U.S. — be reviewed, and Medellín’s execution put on hold pending the review. Texas Governor Rick Perry said that the state’s rulings were not subject to the ICJ, and at 10pm last night, José Medellín was executed.
The messages these two incidents send should be clear:
- Don’t break into our country.
- Don’t break into other people’s homes, or you’re likely to get shot. If you die as a result, oh well. You shouldn’t have been breaking into other people’s homes.
- If you rape or murder someone in the United States — especially a child — you’re not going to be saved by some other country’s whining… we’re going to prosecute you to the full extent of our law. If you’re found guilty of rape and murder, this normally means you’re going to get executed.
- If you’re not a citizen of this country, you are a guest here. You have no special rights or privileges, and we expect you to follow our laws. If you don’t, we will arrest and prosecute you like any other criminal.
- The United States is a sovereign nation…. you other countries can complain all you want, but we’re going to do what we damn well please inside our borders.
And one last thing: don’t mess with Texas.
UPDATE [August 8, 2008]: Illegal immigrant Heliberto Chi was executed for the 2001 robbery-murder of his former boss at an Arlington, Texas clothing store. USA:3, Everyone else:0