CHILDREN. Our miscreant racist friends in Arizona are at it again. Spearheaded by Mesa Republican Senator Russell Pearce, and fueled by passage of the 2010 anti-immigration law, the state is poised to formulate legislation which would again defy the U.S. Constitution. The new legislation would prevent children born in this country from being issued birth certificates, thus denying those children US citizenship, if their parents are undocumented immigrants.
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution states that "all persons born or naturalized in the Unites States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." What part of "No state shale make or enforce any law .... " do Arizona Republicans not understand? Their racial paranoia flies in the face of federal law and common sense. Immigrants from Latin America, like most other immigrants, have historically brought with them a strong work ethic, strong family values, and loyalty to their adopted country. Studies have shown that immigrants in general "increase productivity and average income." Sounds like a win-win situation, no?
Further, by international law and custom, anyone born within a country automatically becomes a citizen of that country. If that child's parents happen to be citizens of a second country, then the child is automatically conferred dual citizenship in both countries. Arizona conservatives seek to turn back not merely the hands of the clock of time, but the pages of the calendar of history. News flash -- the good old days were never really all that good. Hence the positive associations we attach to the word "progress." And hence the justified application of the word "regressive" to neocon efforts to subvert our nation's founding principles.
ANIMALS. An article in today's NYTimes explores the decrease in social and legal tolerance toward animal cruelty. I cannot stand being around the mistreatment of animals, whether in the form of public rituals (dog fights, cock fights, bull fights, rodeos), or in the form of private individuals being cruel to their pets. Further, the article makes clear the connection between animal abuse and other criminal behavior -- "The link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence is becoming so well established that many US communities now cross-train social service and animal control agencies in how to recognize signs of animal abuse as possible indicators of other abusive behavior." It should be noted that, as with raising children, neglect can be as damaging as outright abuse, perhaps even more damaging.
The crossover in abusive behavior is consistent with my own indirect experience. My most recent marriage was to a brilliant woman who was both an attorney and a psychologist. Her JD/PhD prepared her for a career as a criminology professor and researcher. One of her early original research insights was that (contrary to the common myth held among law enforcement), most criminals do not specialize. It is misguided to imagine that there is a distinct profile for, say, serial killers or terrorists or thieves. Those who do not feel bound by society's laws will violate those laws in ways large and small, more often than not. The lack of impulse control is one of a suite of characteristics of the criminal mind which law enforcement at all levels fails to take into account when considering likely suspects for a given crime.