| Last Saturday, Pete Stark, who represents CA-13 in the House of Representatives, held a town hall in Fremont. Some immigrant bashers showed up and demanded to know what Stark was doing about immigration and the border. As Politico reports, Stark was having none of it, and gave what may be the definitive smackdown to these crazies:
"The Minutemen want to have something to say," Stark says, as one of the border security advocates begins to ask a question. "Who are you going to kill today?"
After brushing off the congressman's remark, the activist said, "I want to know why the federal government is not doing anything more to seal the borders of this country."
"Well, we can't get enough Minutemen armed," Stark answered. "We'd like to. Get all the Minutemen armed so they can stop shooting people here."
"We'll try to get you some more arms and get you down there," the congressman added....
The man then interrupted Stark, telling the congressman, "This a very serious matter, and you're sitting there making fun of it."
"I don't have to make fun of you, sir," Stark responded. "You make a fine job [of it] all by yourself."
You can see the video for yourself at the Politico link. This is one of the best responses I've seen by anyone to these immigrant-bashers: mock them relentlessly.
There is seriousness in Stark's response. He's not calling them "killers" idly. In 2009, Minutemen members in Arizona killed a Latino man and his 9-year old daughter. Here's how Wendy Norris reported it at the Colorado Independent last summer:
Shawna Forde and members of Minuteman American Defense - an anti-illegal immigration vigilante group charged in the double homicide of an Arizona man and his 9-year-old daughter and the attempted murder of the man's wife - shared a stage, if not their vigilante streak, with former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo.
Authorities in Arizona's Pima County allege Forde, 41, and MAD members Jason Eugene Bush, 34, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, intended to rob and murder the Flores family in order to fund the group's anti-immigration vigilante activities. Raul Flores, 29, had a history of drug dealing and the trio believed that there would be a large amount of cash at the victims' trailer home near the border town of Arivaca, according to CBS News. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik fingered Forde as the ringleader.
Given this background, one might even say Stark let these crazy bigoted lunatics off easy. But he is to be commended for refusing to be cowed by their hatred, and his smackdown of their claims is epic.
Meanwhile, here in Monterey, a group of teabaggers are protesting today in support of Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. They're waving a bunch of Arizona flags and sporting a sign that reads "Boycott California, Not Arizona." Are they even aware that Monterey is in California?
I considered stopping to ask them what they thought of the fact that Monterey was founded by the Spanish and was the state capital under Mexico, and that the 1849 California Constitution written here in Monterey made California officially bilingual, with specific protections for Spanish speakers. But it was too nice a day to waste on these yahoos.
UPDATE: The teabagger protestors were apparently in Monterey because Jerry Brown was speaking to the California District Attorneys Conference being held here. More about that event later.
On the topic of immigration, Carla Marinucci linked to this post and wonders whether I'm right, or if the right-wing critics of Stark are right. Let her know what you think!