Last night, as I stayed up reading the online condolence books for Tad and Leigh Anna, I began to feel this knot in my stomach. Something I didn’t want to feel. I felt anger and hatred. I hate feeling hatred towards people, but I wasn’t feeling it at the person who took away someone who had touched my life. I was angry at the people who were vilifying the man who killed him.
Felix Ortega was immediately suspected of being an illegal immigrant. People saw him, and they would readily admit that they thought that he MUST be illegal. After all, we look at Hispanics in this country as being criminals. (Similar to how our ancestors looked at Blacks and Jews.) Because they KNEW, without any evidence, that he was illegal, they knew what to do to him. Some said deport him. Others argue he’ll come back. Some suggested execution…no one was telling them that this was extreme.
This was an accident. The only thing that we should be focusing on is the NATURE of the accident. It is not automatically an accident that was caused by an illegal immigrant. It is an accident that was caused by drunk driving. Focus on trying to get drunk driving laws stricter. Don’t focus on executing a man because he got drunk and did something stupid.
I wouldn’t favor execution even if he had murdered them with his bare hands. I wouldn’t want to know that three lives were lost because one man got drunk and did something stupid. I know, that means that I actually count the man who killed Tad as a human being, but you know what? He is, and I feel sorry for him. I really do. And hearing tonight on the news that he worked with Leigh Anna’s mother on her documentary? That was heartbreaking. Knowing that not only does this man know that he took a life, but he took the life of someone who touched his own life…it’s tragic to think of, and then when I read on some callous right-wing blogger’s statement of what happened the night of the accident and what he saw as someone from my church die (he described what it was like to watch him die), I just want to scream. I want to scream until I have no sound left. Not at Ortega. I want to scream at this blogger. The internet is big and wide. We can find things that touch our lives in many ways on it, but no one deserves to read the agony that their friend went though. To me, his posting a statement like that was insensitive. I understand he was trying to emote what it was like, but there are some details that even I, the Queen of oversharing, believe should be left off the internet. Talking about someone’s reaction to being burned alive is not something that I want to read when I get online and am looking at information about this tragic night.
I’m trying to make sense of it. We all are. We are all trying to see this world we live in, but some of us are not ready to hear about every little detail about that night.
Don’t politicize Tad’s death. I know that it is easy to do it. I know that it is so easy to say that this proves that all illegal immigrants are evil and that they deserve the needle or something, but it is not right to take our tragedy and turn it into your political mission. If the Mattles or the Jimmersons want to pursue laws to change illegal immigration, then let them. If the city wants the state to change laws, then let them. But don’t take our issue to your blogs and act like you speak for us.
Oh, and if you are in a condolence book, don’t say you hate a race of people because of what one man does. Racism is vile. We don’t need to be angry with people right now. We need to be living and loving and grieving.