"A climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated can lead to such a tragedy."
- Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor of UC Berkeley, in a letter to the campus community
UC Berkeley News has published Birgeneau's letter, in which he cites Arizona's political climate as it relates to immigration - in particular, the state's embrace of controversial anti-illegal immigration legislation - as contributing to an environment "in which such an act can be contemplated, even by a mind that is profoundly disturbed."
Here's the quote in context:
Such a brutal and violent attack on an individual who has devoted herself to public service is deeply regrettable. It calls upon us as an academic community to stop and ponder the climate in which such an act can be contemplated, even by a mind that is profoundly disturbed. A climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated can lead to such a tragedy. I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons.
Florida lawmakers size up Arizona-style bill - Miami Herald Gov. Rick Scott's plan to bring an SB 1070-style immigration law to Florida may have trouble passing in Florida, some state lawmakers say.
Lone ranger: Tucson's tough-talking sheriff suddenly has national spotlight - Christian Science Monitor Not a stranger to controversy, Sheriff Clarence Gupnik has referred to SB 1070 as "racist" and is considered by many as the foil to Maricopa County's Joe Arpaio.
Suspected Brothel Manager Is Arrested While Gambling - New York Times A woman suspected of being involved with a human-trafficking ring that smuggled young Korean women into the country and forced them to work as prostitutes was arrested in a Connecticut casino.
Angelino, Angeleno, and Angeleño | Commentary | SoCal Focus - KCET Author D.J. Waldie on L.A.'s sad dismissal of the ñ (pronounced "enye").
Jan Brewer now honoring Daniel Hernandez as hero, which he is.
What if Daniel Hernandez were a DREAM Act candidate? would she honor him then?
Of course, it's not the only tweet of the moment concerning Daniel Hernandez, the 20-year-old, openly gay Latino intern who is credited with saving the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, his boss, on Saturday in the Tucson shooting rampage that left six dead and many others injured.
Perhaps the most popular tweet of many tonight, when Hernandez appeared on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show, came from the certified account of filmmaker-activist Michael Moore, @MMFlint: "20yr old Daniel Hernandez credited w/ saving Rep. Giffords life. "Hernandez?" Is that legal? Arizona, have u checked his papers?"
But then Moore already gets plenty of attention. The tweet above came from a lesser-known but avid Twitter user and blogger named Karoli who, like others captured by the story, saw irony in it. Hernandez, who is dark-skinned, was honored today in Arizona by Brewer, the governor who signed SB 1070, the anti-immigration law whose critics have warned could lead to racial profiling.
Much has been made by now of the story of Daniel Hernandez, the 20-year-old intern credited with likely saving the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after Saturday's assassination attempt and shooting rampage in Tucson. The University of Arizona student ran toward the victims after hearing shots fired, checking the pulses of those on the ground and holding Giffords upright as he applied constant pressure to the wound on her forehead. Even after help arrived, he didn't leave her side. He had been on the job with Giffords' office for five days.
At first, it was simply news that he was heroic. It then became news that he was heroic while also being Latino and gay.
In another place at another time, only the heroism would have mattered. But because this occurred in 2011 in Arizona, where it's no secret that Latinos and gays have felt slighted by some of their political leaders, Hernandez's act of bravery has become as much symbolic as heroic.
Photo by Tom Peck/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Border fence in Cochise County, AZ
It's a given that the suspected gunman in the fatal shooting that left six dead and critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords this weekend in Tucson wasn't acting purely on the political rhetoric coming out of the Grand Canyon State, nor on Sarah Palin's map of congressional districts with crosshairs over them. As with most things, it's much more complicated than that.
But Saturday's tragedy, regardless of the shooter's motive, has opened up a discussion that is still worth having. The incident has led to a national conversation about the political tone that has been coming out of Arizona, and much of that has to do with immigration politics - and, yes, the surrounding rhetoric.
The state is embroiled in controversy over its SB 1070 illegal immigration law, another new law that has essentially banned a Mexican American studies program, and the championing by some conservative political leaders of a national movement to deny U.S. citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants.