Thursday, March 19, 2009

Police Chief says something smart, outraging stupid people

Some days when I check the local newspaper for my daily fix of "what a fucking stupid world this is," I find something that I just know is going to explode into a giant shitstorm of stupidity so vast that even I will soon have to avert my eyes, lest my neurons start apoptosing out of sheer despair.

Today is such a day.

I present to you Fitchburg Police Chief wants illegals to have driver's licenses.

Stupid thing #1 is that headline. Apparently the S&E has given up even the pretense of being a real newspaper. By embracing the dehumanizing term "illegals" to refer to illegal immigrants they've demonstrated that they're just as blatantly biased as Fox News or WorldNetDaily.

But we already knew that, so let's look at the article itself. Which is actually not that bad.
Fitchburg Police Chief Robert DeMoura won a standing ovation Wednesday night by calling for driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants during the New Americans Agenda public hearing held at Fitchburg High School.

"Let's start with the simplest thing we can practically do," DeMoura said.

DeMoura said giving undocumented immigrants driver's licenses would allow them to legally work and commute in the community. It will also simplify the job for police when stopping drivers for alleged traffic violations.

"When we stop somebody, we want to know who we're stopping," DeMoura said.
Well damn, that makes an awful lot of sense. It's not like there's anything even approaching adequate public transportation in Fitchburg. People have to drive, so let's make sure they're doing it legally and with the proper training.

The article also contains some stories from illegal immigrants, who point out that it's ridiculously difficult to integrate into American society despite their desire to do so. Lack of SSNs and driver's licenses contribute to this, while of course the ridiculously convoluted immigration system itself is also at fault.

So, aside from its deeply idiotic headline, the article itself isn't the stupid I'm going to be focusing on. It's actually relatively decent for an article in the S&E.

No, the stupid is exploding elsewhere, in the comments on the story, which have already increased from 30 to 37 in the time I've been writing this.

In these comments the xenophobia, racism, and just outright stupidity run thick. If stupidity were gravity, we'd be well on our way to a singularity. There are maybe one or two sane people trying to stem the tide of stupid. It's a lost cause, guys! Get out before they drag you down!

As an exercise, I'm going to pick the "arguments" out of a set of some comments and see how concisely I can rip them to shreds. Most of the comments don't actually bother to make any arguments, and are just people being outraged and whiny, so I probably won't bother with those except maybe to briefly mock them.

Let's start!

Here's what "Jim" has to say:
What part of "illegal" do they not understand, we spend a fortunate enforcing immigration laws, and there are many valid reasons for doing so.

To suggest that we should ignore the laws, or look the other way is illegal as well, and we should expect everyone to enforce them.
Jim here uses the old "illegal means bad!" argument that you'll be seeing a lot of. But the more interesting part is the fact that this legal scholar believes not enforcing a law is also illegal, and that "everyone" should be enforcing immigration laws.

It is not illegal to not enforce a law. If it were, every cop would be breaking the law constantly (even more so than they do already). There are priorities to consider, because if you spend all your time enforcing the "keep off the grass" signs, it sort of lets other things get out of hand.

Also, "everyone" enforcing the law means vigilantes. Vigilantism actually is illegal. Next!

From "enough":
ok, so now the police sheif is actually condoning criminal activity? this is all so insame, i think i am going to vommit.
The Chief is condoning allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses. There is nothing illegal about that. Don't blame him for your bulimia.

From HAHA:
So if DE dum dum is going to ignor that crime will he turn a blind eye to all other crimes commited by these illegal people? What about the people who pay his income are we exempt from the laws also?
Oh, the old "I pay your income salary so you have to do what I want" gambit! Well played!

Additionally, "illegal people" is not a thing. And if such a thing did exist, I'm sure the police chief would not turn a blind eye to all their "other crimes" which you seem to believe they commit.

Hmm, this is getting tedious. Let's mix it up with a quick listing of people who are shocked, shocked I say, at how nobody but them understands the meaning of the word "illegal." Also, please note that the proper spelling of "illegal" is in wingnut all-caps:
  • "Doesn't the word ILLEGAL send up any red flags?? If they are not LEGAL citizens, why are they here?" - reply
  • "How are ILLEGALS driving...whos car?" - Misfortune Teller
  • "Illegal means not within the law; therefore, they should be issued the apt punishment, not a license." - Truffles
  • "I am outraged that my tax dollars are being used to allow illegals to attend Schools and colleges." - Ken Burgess
  • "I hate to be the bad guy here, and I do know quite a few foreigners without papers, but why should they enjoy ANY degree of comfort or service while they are here ILLEGALLY?" - eric
  • "When you stop ILLEGAL aliens arrest them." - Concerned Citizen
  • "Illegal is not a sick bird. [...] Wake up everyone, we are the MAJORITY. Let us not bow to ILLEGAL minorities. " - Kojak (who brings the funny before calling for a race war!)
  • "F**k the illegals." [that was his entire post] - Jon from Lunenburg
Clear enough? These people really really really hate the word ILLEGAL. Also, brown people.

In case you can't follow their logic, the brilliant "Resident" spells it out:
If they are illegal we shouldn't be doing anything but deporting them. Honestly, this liberal bullsh!t is appalling.

Undocumented = illegal
illegal = breaking the law
breaking the law = got to jail, or leave the country.

Why is this chain of logic so difficult for people to understand?
Thanks, "Resident"! Your command of the English language is remarkable!

Of course, the reason people don't follow your "chain of logic" is because it's not actually logical. See, breaking the law doesn't actually equal "got [Sic] to jail, or leave the country."

Most of the time, breaking the law doesn't result in anything at all. Part of the time, it equals a fine or penalty of some sort. A tiny fraction of the time it equals going to jail, and an even tinier fraction of the time it equals deportation.

One more post, just for fun! Here's "believer"
are you freakin kidding me is know just when you think you've heard it all you hear more!! nothing like catering to these cry babies, they should have rallied them up and sent them back to their own country, I mean one guy 20 dam years!! now that is a huge effort to become legal 20 years the U.S. is a dam joke to these people.
Cry babies? Pot, meet kettle.

Okay, so my attempt to briefly eviscerate their arguments has been foiled by everyone having failed to actually make any arguments beyond "ILLEGALS suck," which isn't actually an argument at all.

So let's just examine why these people are so hung up on the word "illegal," as if using that word instantly makes immigration a simple issue to deal with. As I see it, there are several factors that go into this.
  • Lacking an actual understanding of the very complicated and nuanced issue of immigration, people latch onto the division of legal/illegal so they can pretend they understand it.
  • They're all a bunch of racists who would like to get rid of all immigrants, but know they can't do anything about legal immigrants.
  • They spend all their free time tossing Lou Dobbs' salad, and just automatically parrot back whatever bullshit he spews.
  • They have serious daddy issues.
  • "Illegal immigrant" is wingnut code for "Mexican," and wingnuts do not care for those lazy Mexicans one bit.
  • It's the only word they can consistently spell right.
I suspect it's a combination of all of the above, mixed in with big heaps of jingoism and old-fashioned xenophobia.

In conclusion (at least until Jeff McMenemy writes an outraged editorial about this in a day or two), good job Chief DeMoura! If you're pissing off this many idiots, it just means you're doing something right.

UPDATE: The Telegram has a pretty crummy article on the same meeting, also using the word "Illegals" in the headline! What the hell, Telegram? You're supposed to be the paper for grown-ups! At least it doesn't focus as heavily on the stupid driver's license issue.

The comments there are similarly depressing. Jesus fuck, we're surrounded by dipshits.