Say WHAT???

My inbox this morning contained the latest column by one of my favourite journalists, Nicholas Kristof.  As I read his column, I was torn between rage and tears, disbelief and horror.  I present portions of that column, but you can read the entire column here

A Good Samaritan and the Border Patrol

A motorist may have saved a life when she stopped to help three desperate young adults. Then she was arrested.

Nicholas Kristof

By Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

The path to Teresa L. Todd’s arrest began when three desperate Central American migrants waved frantically at her car on a Texas highway one night in February.

At least one other car had hurtled by, afraid to stop. But for Todd, compassion overrode any fear. “I’m a mom,” explained Todd, who has two boys, ages 15 and 17. “And I see a young man who looked the same age and size as my younger son. And if my son was by the side of the road, I would want someone to help.”

Todd, a single mom who works as a lawyer for a city and county in West Texas, found three siblings: two brothers ages 20 and 22 and their sister, Esmeralda, 18. To escape violence, they fled their native El Salvador years ago and recently Guatemala, where friends were murdered and a gang leader wanted to make Esmeralda his “girlfriend.”

Teresa L. Todd was detained by Border Patrol agents after stopping her car to help a group of migrants in Texas. CreditJessica Lutz for The New York Times

Esmeralda was suffering from starvation, dehydration and a potentially fatal syndrome called rhabdomyolysis that can lead to kidney failure. Seeing that Esmeralda was very sick, Todd invited the migrants into her car to warm up, and she began frantically texting friends (including one who is a lawyer for the Border Patrol) for advice about getting Esmeralda medical attention.

A sheriff’s deputy pulled up behind Todd’s car, lights flashing, and a Border Patrol officer arrived shortly afterward. The officers detained Todd for three hours, confiscating her possessions and keeping her in a holding cell.

By stopping to help a stranger, Todd may have saved a life — but this also got her arrested.

“It was totally surreal,” Todd recalled. “Especially for doing what my parents taught me was right, and what I learned in church was right, which was helping people. So finding myself in a holding cell for that, it was hard to wrap my head around.”

Esmeralda was hospitalized for four days, and she and her siblings are now in ICE custody. Todd has not been charged with a crime so far, but the authorities seem to have been considering a federal indictment. I reached out to federal and local officials for comment; they did not respond.

Todd told me that she has no regrets. “I think it’s the right thing to help those in need,” she explained. “That’s what I learned from my parents. That’s what I learned in church.”

“This is all about trying to chill the willingness of people to help others,” Todd said. “A friend told me, ‘The other day, someone tried to flag me down by the side of the road and waved an empty water bottle, and I thought about what happened to you and didn’t stop.’”

Referring to Trump, Michele Bachmann, the former Republican congresswoman, recently said, “We will in all likelihood never see a more godly, biblical president again in our lifetimes.”

I thanked Todd for her humanity, and for helping save a life. She said her assistance had been instinctive.

“I’m simply a mom who saw a child in need and pulled over to try to help,” she said. “The whole time I was by the side of the road, I was thinking: What country am I in? This is not the United States.”

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61 thoughts on “Say WHAT???

  1. Pingback: On Feeding Our Children … | Filosofa's Word

  2. America has been spoon fed a lot of “patriotism” over the years and believe it totally without question, it seems. And I know other countries do the same…but we are quite subtly good at it.

    I can’t help but think of the wars after WWII…mostly over anti communism and oil …and all the lives lost and for what! When old rich men play their war games, it’s always the youth that loses because they are so vulnerable to this mindset of “for god and country”

    What is wrong with humanity! When you have people killing over who’s god is best, who’s country is best, what resources can be exploited with no thought to any environmental degradation, who has the most dangerous “toys”, who can exert the most control over its own citizens through suppressing education and freedoms, who can we refuse to give humanitarian aid to and on and on.

    It is truly mind boggling to me. I can’t help but feel this evolution of man has been some sort of mistake…a mutation of sorts. I actually read somewhere an opinion that man’s brain had evolved too much and with all the constant flow of information, to have conscious thought about, make choices about and assimilate, was so overwhelming that is causes many of our mental problems. Kinda like being too smart for our own good on a civilization scale.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These days it seems that the words “patriot” and “patriotism” have taken on a rather dark meaning. The people who claim to be patriots and wave their flags continually, are also the ones advocating white supremacy, a border wall, making abortion a crime with heavy punishment, banning Muslims, and other abominations. This “America First” nonsense is basically only for white Christians, it would seem, and they have given patriotism an entirely new connotation.

      Throughout history, religion has been the cause of most wars, and apparently we (the human species) have learned nothing from that, for we keep repeating the same mistakes. The two biggest mistakes to date, I think, are the destruction of the environment and the invention of nuclear power. One or the other is sure to lead to the extinction of the human species.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, this is just one more of the travesties that are heaped at the feet of Trump and his sycophants. It was mid December last year that I read an opinion piece in The New York Times about the Arizona group of humanitarians “No More Deaths”. They patrol the Arizona section of the Sonoran Desert year round leaving bottled water, food, blankets and basic medical supplies for migrants. One of their members, Scott Warren, was arrested for Federal Littering as a message to others to stop assisting migrants. I became interested in this group’s work and have followed the group and Dr. Warren’s trial that is presently unfolding in court. I suggest reading Ryan Devereaux’s piece in The Intercept dated May 14, 2019 titled “No More Deaths Trial Opens As More Bodies Discovered Along Arizona-Mexico Border.” Teresa L. Todd is a hero, not a criminal. However, it is becoming more and more undeniable that…Yes, this is the United States today under our current leadership. And it will continue to be so, until our elected officials in Congress wake up and take back the Country that we still like to believe ourselves to be. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember writing a piece about that group and, I believe about Mr. Warren’s arrest, though I cannot remember quite when or what I called it, so I will have to dig a bit. Meanwhile, I found the article in The Intercept that you mention and have bookmarked it to read later today. It is a damn shame when we punish people for being conscientious humanitarians, and it will discourage others from doing the same. This is definitely not the country I once thought it was. Sigh.

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  4. If the border patrol cannot search an ambassador who they are sure is carrying weapons or drugs, how can the cops and SS officers justify shutting off water and electricity? Where the hell are their heads, forget their hearts. Venezuela has every right to declare war on the US, and drop a bomb on the White House. I would ask, “Who the hell does Trump think he is?” but we already know…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now THAT is a good question! How, indeed? I think that once a child is born, they no longer have any regard for him/her. I sincerely believe that their “pro-life” stance against abortion is not really about abortion, but about taking away women’s rights, making males dominant over women once again.

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  5. This incident is disgraceful, I feel sick to my stomach. This reminds me of the police state we’re living in, just last week DC police and Secret Service agents cut water and electricity to the Venezuelan embassy, an attempt by the U.S. government to oust supporters of President Nicolas Maduro.
    “It is totally ILLEGAL and dangerous for the U.S. cut off water and electricity, deny access to food, to those of us residing lawfully inside the embassy building as guests of the Venezuelan government,” Paki Weiland, an activist with the peace and human rights group CodePink, said in a statement. “It would also be totally illegal and dangerous to hand over the keys of the embassy to an unelected opposition.”
    When pedestrians on the street tried to hand bottles of water to the activists inside the embassy, they were immediately beaten and arrested for interfering with police operation.
    This coup in Venezuela mirrors the 2014 Maidan coup in Ukraine, where US snipers were caught on camera randomly shooting into the crowds!
    Yes we are certainly witnessing end times, I’m sad to say. Can someone say 4th Reich?!

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  6. There are no words I can quietly say about this event, and the millions like it that seem to occur daily all over the world. Are there no cops or ICE agents or Border Security patrols who are against this. Obviously there are none willing to stand up and say, “THIS IS WRONG!”
    The woman with the sign is telling us what needs to be done, CHANGE THE UNACCEPTABLE! Republicans and evangelicals are unacceptable, at least the ones who worship the Orange Turd. IMPEACH THE BASTARD. And if that doesn’t work, give him to his friend Vlad, and tell him to keep Donnie there. No one else wants him.

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    • My best guess is that people who are true humanitarians don’t go to work for CBP, and those who were against this level of aggression that they have been authorized to use now, have probably either left and found another job, or transferred to a desk job. If there are any with consciences, they are job-scared or something. I like the idea of sending Donnie Junk Truck to Putin just fine … the sooner the better before CBP starts getting trigger-happy down around the border, which I think is only a matter of time.

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  7. Florida’s DeSantis is backing a Republican sanctioned proposal to “deputize” state correctional employees as immigration officers to work with ICE to detain and process “illegals”. We are just a hop, skip and jump away from an authoritarian regime similar to the world’s dictators. Don’t tell me to write and call – they do not listen and they do not care. I received a “one size fits all” e-mail response from Rubio answering an e-mail I sent over 6 months ago.

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    • Hello Larry. We know Desantis is a big time racist. Remember the robo calls against Gillum that were so over the top racist. Also Desantis had to deny several long time supporters that were outed as leaders of racist groups. Then there was the donations from racist groups he refused to give back. No way he won the election legally. I can see him proudly opening work camps for the POC in our state. Hugs

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    • Oh boy … that’s sure to work out well! You’re so right, Larry … we are getting closer, seemingly by the day, to an authoritarian regime, and in fact some days I wonder if we are already there. No, I won’t tell you to write or call … I don’t call, but I keep writing, mainly perhaps for my own benefit … I can blow off some steam and know that I’m probably annoying the hell out of them! 😉 Yes, I get several of those canned responses a month. I did actually get an actual response once from my representative, Warren Davidson, who is a member of the House “Freedom Caucus” and he challenged my opinions. But when I wrote back explaining my stance, I heard nothing back. I taunt him on Twitter daily … just for the heck of it. Sometimes I get likes from others, sometimes hateful comments. Ahhhh … all in a day’s fun, eh? For the record, Rubio is a jerk anyway and so is DeSantis.

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  8. Hello Jill. The lawlessness of the law enforcers worries me. The thing that enrages me is the powers that be would rather this young woman died than got help in the US. I just read tRump believes he is genetically superior and is a big believer in others being inferior. Sound familiar? Hugs

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    • I agree with you, Scottie. I think it is only a matter of time before a border patrol agent, now that they have been told to “act with more aggression” lets his power go to his head and starts shooting. Only a matter of time before innocent people, maybe even children, are shot somewhere near the border. Only a matter of time before people get tired of the abuse and rise up to rebel. I think it is a powder keg. Genetically superior??? Did you just say that Trump thinks himself to be genetically superior??? 🤣🤣🤣 To what, a garden slug??? Hugs.

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      • No insulting of garden slugs allowed! Trump is not genetically superior to a cancer cell, let alone a slug. But he is a more Dangerous Nasty Animaloid than a brown recluse spider, he doesn’t have to bite, his bark is bad enough, especially the poisonous spittle that flies out with every word.

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                    • Now cross fingers and toes for our house and plants. Emergency services ordered us out today, and the seven of us are in a hotel roon 300 kms to the south. Hopefully nothing will happen to our house, but with the electricity turned off till at least sometime tomorrow, probably longer, the food in our freezers will most likely spoil before we are allowed home. IF!
                      So just to let you and everyone else know, we are safe for now. And so are our cats!

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                    • I definitely have all appendages crossed that your home and plants survive undamaged. Wow … that’s a long way … 186 miles, 4 hours drive. As re the frozen food … you never know … as long as the freezer isn’t being opened, and obviously it’s not, it will stay frozen for several days. When mine went down a couple of years ago, the frozen food was fine, but the refrigerated food, not so much. I bet the kitties are going nuts, cooped up in a hotel room! Thinking of you, Gail & the kitties. Hugs!

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                    • One catch to our trip, it was not as the crow flies. The direct road south was closed. We had to detour 50 miles east, then 65 miles southwest, wait at a ferry crossing for an hour before our turn to get on, then another 30 miles to get back to the original highway going south. Approximately 150 miles plus one hour waiting to accomplish the first “”30” miles of our journey, total time taken 3 hours to go those 30 real miles. Then another 150 miles south, or 2.5 hours, a total 5.5 hours to make what is generally a 3 to 3.5 hour trip. The cats complained for about 1/2 an hour, then settled down and slept the rest of the way. They spent most of the night hiding under the beds, coming out occasionally to check that we were okay. They’re not settled enough to eat their usual meals, but they aren’t starving either. As long as we remain calm, so do they.

                      But Gail read a news story today saying that 25% of Canadians surveyed thought it was okay to hate Muslims, and be mean to them. They should go back where they came from. How the hell is one supposed to stay calm when 1 out of 4 people around them is a racist (against Muslims, how many more against blacks, aboriginals, and Asians, etc.) Hate crimes in Canada jumped in 2017, and have been rising since. What is wrong with people. All the progress made in the last 50 years is being thrown out the window, but not with the crybaby Trump. Instead they are worshipping Trump, and ex-conservative leader Stephen Harper, and present conservative leader Andrew Sheer. Other nations are going the same way. We have gone crazy. How can we stay calm for our nervous kitties?

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                    • I am so so sorry for all that you’re going through! Last night I hoped that this would be a short-lived crisis and that you’d be back home by tonight, but obviously that didn’t happen. You guys are in my heart tonight. LuL

                      Sigh. I wish I could answer your question, my friend, but I don’t know either. I cannot sleep at nights for thinking about these things. I thought … I really thought that Canadians were better than that, more open-minded. But, it’s happening all over the world! Last weekend, Australia elected a populist president and most of my Australian friends are feeling just like I felt on the night of November 8, 2016 … shell-shocked. Bigotry, arrogance, greed … they seem to have taken over the human race. I’m tired … so tired of it all. 😥 And you’re right … the kitties sense our angst. I’ve noticed that when I’m really upset, Oliver comes and sits in my lap and just quietly purrs while looking up at me to see if I’m okay.

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                    • I know … I always feel a little sorry for people who have no pets … seems like there’s something missing in their life. As much as I grumble about ours, I love them so much and cannot imagine not having them. We’re down to 5 now … I told Chris it’s ’bout time for another to pop up on our doorstep! 😉

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                    • We visited the SPCA in Peace River today, and it was heart-breaking. Then we got back to the hotel and found out at least 30 pets in High Level had been left behind during the evacuation, mostly locked in their homes or garages. I don’t understand how anyone can abandon pets like that. I’m heartsick that I had to abandom our plants, some that I’ve had for 40 years (in some incarnation or other).

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                    • I don’t understand it, either! I would no more leave without the kitties than I would without the girls! I’ve often thought that if our house caught fire, I’d likely die trying to find all the kitties to get them to safety. People who would do that didn’t deserve pets in the first place. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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  9. I expect each and every day to be arrested for doing something this administration doesn’t like. I give away water bottles to people who look to need them on the sides of roads, I feed hungry kids when I find them, I hand out survival blankets, flashlights, etc. Knowing full well that sooner or later the powers that be in this bleeding red state will catch up to me. we no longer live in a great or free country. It has abdicated it’s morality to the idiots in power. I truly understand now why people go “postal”.

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    • You’re a good woman, Suze … and this country needs more like you and Teresa Todd. We need far fewer like the Trumpeters who think their religion is the gold standard to which all of us should adhere, even though their religion is to say one thing and do the complete opposite. Sigh. The really bad part is that getting rid of Trump is unlikely to solve the problem, for it starts with the narrow minds who put him into office in the first place.

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  10. Jill, good samaritan gets arrested in this version of the bible. Apparently, Michele Bachmann worships a different God than I do. I do like the young lady’s sign in the last picture.

    I believe populist politicians and their sycophants need to be called on the carpet. They need to be asked why the say and believe the things they do, which gives the opportunity to follow-up. Keith

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    • I told my daughter that Michele Bachman has completely re-defined the meaning of the word “godly”. Yes, I like that sign too … there comes a time when nothing will do but action. Only trouble is, I don’t know where to even start.

      I agree with you, but the trouble is that when you ask them that question, they don’t know, they have no answer, so they get angry and either divert the conversation or storm off mad.

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      • Jill, I have worked with countless ministers and religious people who have helped countless people in need. They walk the talk. I have also known religious leaders who are preach exclusion and are less than self-less, a small few who are on the greedy side. Like with any public figure, we must ask why questions? Leonard Pitts column of this week speaks of overlooking the greater good lessons in the bible to focus on a self-protecting narrow-minded view. An attorney friend called these folks “cafeteria Christians” selecting only the parts of the bible which supports their argument.

        These folks may walk away from questions, but we still must ask them. And, if get them talking first, then we may get an answer. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh I have no doubt that there are very many good ministers and religious people … I even know a few. Unfortunately, the hypocrites and the bigots are giving them all a bad name. “Cafeteria Christians” is an apt name.

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