Los Angeles – Baghdad West?

On April 5, at the

invitation
of the Los Angeles District
Attorney`s office, I spent the afternoon at the
3rd Annual Victims` Rights Vigil &
Community Information Fair.[PDF
flier
] The Fair`s goal is to help residents
deal with the more than

600 gang related killings
that occurred in
LA in 2002.

Several hundred people gathered at
the Dolores Mission School to hear Los Angeles County
District Attorney

Steve Cooley
and

Sheriff Lee Baca
, among other others, address the
pain and frustration of coping with

soaring violence
in Los Angeles.

Three parents who lost their
children – a father and two mothers – spoke.

Brenda Florence, the mother of three
sons all killed on the same day, told the audience that
“I really don`t live; I just function.”

Sharon Brown, mother of 13-year-old
Marquese Prude, remembered that her son had just arrived
at a

recreation center
to tutor other students in math
when he was fatally struck.

When Jack Morales spoke, he pointed
to a large photograph of his son Steven in a Cleveland
Indians baseball cap. Steven was
shot and killed by gang members
while playing
baseball close to his home.  Morales said, “The bullet
didn`t just kill him. It went through all of us.”

One of the killers, charged with one
count of first-degree murder and three counts of
attempted murder, has since fled to Mexico.

“It tears me up,” Morales
continued, “to know that my son`s killer is living
without a care in Mexico.”

Sheriff Baca, speaking about Los
Angeles County Deputy David March`s murder one year ago
by illegal alien Armando Garcia – three times deported
– could barely contain his fury at the Mexican
government.

Baca, a Mexican-American, said he
had nothing but “outrage for the policies of Mexico
for harboring the killers of 60 Americans.”

“Mexico has not done one single
thing to get these criminals back to the U.S. There is no
`substitute justice,`”
concluded Baca, referring to
Mexico`s insistence on trying Mexican nationals in its
own courts for crimes committed on U.S. soil.

Mexico`s refusal to

extradite violent felons
while

griping endlessly
about Mexicans on death row in U.S.
jails is hypocrisy at its apex.

For more than a year, the L.A.
District Attorney`s office has leaned on the Department
of Justice and the Department of State to intercede
diplomatically in extradition cases.

On September 19, 2002 California
Senator Barbara Boxer of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee asked the State Department if Mexico`s refusal
to extradite criminals is “the beginning of a larger
trend”
of countries which might also request
assurances that life imprisonment sentences will not be
imposed.

The State Department`s reply
indicated that only with Mexico has the “United States
experienced a severe impact on our ability to secure the
surrender of our most serious criminal offenders.”

The balance of the State Department
response to Boxer spun off into never-never land:

“The DOJ
has corresponded with Los Angeles District Attorney Steve
Cooley….we will continue to work with D.A. Cooley`s
office….we will continue to raise assurances with the
Government of Mexico….we will raise the issue again at a
meeting of senior U.S. and Mexican law enforcement
officials at the end of October.”

In other words: forget it.

Mexico is not going to change its
laws or cooperate in any way with the U.S. – no matter
how many American

police officers
may get killed.

A diplomatic approach must carry
President

George W. Bush`s
blessing. And Bush has been either
too much in love with Mexico (his obsession with

amnesty
) to “risk” asking for justice – or too bent
out of shape (no
support
from Mexico for his invasion of

Iraq
) to pick up the phone.

While the Morales and March families
wait for some sign of support from Washington, Mexico has
the unmitigated gall to criticize the U.S. because 51
Mexican nationals are on death row. This strategy is an
extension of Mexico`s successful appeal to the United
Nation`s International Court of Justice to delay three
death sentences involving Mexicans.

In an April 6 Los Angeles Times
story by Richard A. Serrano titled

“A Deadly Serious Border Dispute,”
 
Mexican
officials, citing the very predictable and incredibly
tedious “rights” issue, demand that the death sentence
for all 51 prisoners be commuted.

Here from the LA Times story
are three staggering quotes commenting on Mexico`s
perception of the U.S. justice system:

  • “I would not say officially it
    is racism. [Joe G. Note:
    How big of you!
    ]
    But there is a consistent
    pattern of discrimination from juries, from courts and
    from prosecutors who are generally biased against

    Hispanics
    . And that of course makes Mexicans all
    the more vulnerable than they already are as
    foreigners”
    [Juan Manuel Gomez-Robledo, Mexican
    Foreign Ministry
    ]

  • “We are struggling against the death penalty for
    our countrymen in the U.S. We are fighting a battle and
    we are going to win, step by step, to prevent our
    nationals from being executed and, above all, from
    having their legal and human rights violated.”
    [Mexican President Vicente Fox]

  • “There has always been a sense
    in Mexico that Mexicans are treated unfairly in our
    judicial system.”
    [Sandra Babcock, Minneapolis,
    representing the Mexican Capital Legal Assistance
    Program
    ]

According to Gomez-Robledo,
“respect for life is too important”
for the U.S. to
enforce the

death penalty
.

Mexico grandstands about the value
of human life. But it callously disregards the lives of
Steven Morales, Deputy March and many other innocent
American victims.


Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.