Saturday, July 14, 2007

This isn't about immigration, and it certainly isn't about Thailand!

I wasn't planning to write anything today but this story caught my attention on the news last night and brought a few things to mind.

All of us are horrified when a child goes missing because the outcome is usually predictable. Children don't disappear off the face of the earth for nothing. In this case, on July 4, 12 year-old Zina Linnick went out to the alley behind her house to call her brothers and sisters in and was abducted by "an Asian-looking man" in a grey van.

You can read the rest of the story at the link above.

There are a few things that come to mind about the coverage of this story. A few things that are disturbing.

It didn't take long for the likes of Michelle Malkin and Bill O'Reilly to begin carrying on about illegal immigrants. The fact that the suspect, Terapon Adhahn, is from Thailand didn't take long to stir up the hornet's nest, mostly comments alluding to the fact that if he had been deported after having been convicted of a crime in 1990, Zina would not have been killed.

Doh! Ya think?

If all the systems had been working, Terapon Adhahn would have been deported and Zina would still be alive. The subtext is he would have been killing children in Thailand instead.

And that would have been better? Children in a third world country are somehow more disposable than children from a first world country?

I hope that isn't what they meant ~ and at the same time am very afraid it's exactly what they meant.

Here's my gripe:

This guy was charged with raping his half-sister in 1990. The charge was plea-bargained down to first degree incest.

That was the first problem. He raped that girl!

He spent no time in prison. He was sentenced to sex offender counseling and then released from supervision by a judge.

That was the second problem. Treatment without accountability is useless.

He failed to register as a sex offender. The system didn't catch that or follow up on him to find out where he was living and working.

That was the third problem. And the most impacting at the neighborhood level.

The system had another opportunity to do something about that guy in 1992 when Adhahn was arrested on a weapons violation.

It is the system that failed and all the dissembling by those who want to point the finger at illegal immigrants, people from Thailand or anyone's race can't cloud that fact. This case is about one horribly sick man who did a horrible thing and a system that failed to protect us.

I hope people keep this in mind as the case progresses. Terapon Adhahn, if he is found guilty, needs to be thrown in prison and the key should be melted. No plea bargains. This case is about him. Period.



jen said...

amen. i simply can't watch the news anymore. because it's not news. it's spin and agenda and crap. this is about pain, not immigration. about horror.

and those things have no borders. have a great weekend, friend. am off for a few days.

Julie Pippert said...

But Chani, that's *too complicated* and requires too much thought, knowledge and research, all that thought makes people get headaches. Especially, I fear, some reporters.

So much quicker and easier to say "deport!" It's a simple and easy battle cry. And that's much more important, and provides people a simple solution: deport all immigrant s who commit a crime.

I don't think they intended the racism that came out, but I know some people would.

I've heard deportation defenders discuss that and say, "Well he's not FROM HERE so it shouldn't be our problem. let them take care of it!"

I agree with you.

The system is flawed.

How do you solve it when it is a native-born white man---which statistically it usually is?

You know, you ought to send those reporters this as a letter. Seriously.

KC said...

I totally agree with you about the subtext. That bothers me.

painted maypole said...

yes. I hate when one bad apple makes the world cry out in suspicion over the whole lot. And yes, they had many, many chances to do away with this threat, and they didn't do it. They should be held accountable for their inaction.

flutter said...

and yet all I can think about is that poor little girl.

ellie bee said...

I'm with flutter

slouching mom said...

What appalls me is that, unlike flutter and ellie bee and the rest of us, the pundits don't give a cr*p about that little girl except insofar as she provides them with material to spin.

Laurie said...

I agree, Chani. It's about him.

liv said...

I agree, it is about him. I watched this story on the news last night, and what I was really thinking is: yes. deport him.

That has nothing, NOTHING, to do with his conduct relative to citizens and their merit as humans in another country, be it third world or otherwise. To me, it has everything to do with traveling to a country (presumably for a better life/opportunities) and exploiting/abusing those who live there.

I may be callous, but I think he should be kicked out. Let his own government deal with him now that they know what sort of person he is, but why should he stay here and reap any perceived benefits of living in this country?

Yes, our system is screwed up--badly. But to me, it is far more intolerable for this country to put up with people coming here to cause terror. And true terror is the abuse and murder of a child unlike what the media would have us believe terror is.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I"m too sad about another life ended much too soon to be analytical, but I don't think the fact that Adhahn was born in Thailand is relevant.

What is relevant is that he fell through a lot of cracks, and now a little girl has been tortured to death. Maybe other little girls, too.

It's easy to see that we are not dependent on imported talent, and have plenty of sick American-born people performing vicious deeds every day.

Sevenwinds said...

The media is infatuated with kidnapping of little 'white' girls and boys while at the same time ignoring the fact that kids of all races get kidnapped or harmed by criminals that the justice system has failed to take off the streets. In fact, we as a country have even allowed our sex offenders to be EXPORTED as in the case of John Mark Carr, the nut who confessed to the Jon Bennett Ramsey case, who, by the way was captured in Thailand about to things to little kids here in the kingdom. He should have been locked up years before he was allowed to leave the country.

Why doesn't the media cover that?...

thailandchani said...

Jen, I try to avoid much of the news these days. Just enough to make sure I'm not missing anything. Otherwise, the darn set is turned "off".

Safe travels to you :)


Julie, I suspect the racism is so endemic that it's nearly impossible to eliminate it. It's institutional. There was a time when the news used to be on nearly constantly in this house.. and the children who got the media attention were mostly white ~ and the offenders nearly always some other race.

I wonder if the coverage on this would have been so sensational if Adhahn had kidnapped and killed a little Asian girl.. or a little Black girl.

And if he'd been from Beverly Hills instead of Thailand, how would that have effected the coverage.


KC, it bothers me, too. The people in Thailand who are being bombarded with coverage of this right now also feel terrible about it.. but also blamed.

Just because the guy happens to be Thai has nothing to do with the case at all.. but it's all we're hearing about.


Maypole, I think so, too. Someone needs to hold the system accountable. I wouldn't blame the Linnicks a bit if they sued.. and wouldn't consider it greed. Somehow, in some way, the system needs to know it is accountable.


Flutter, me, too. I feel horrible about the little girl. My raising these issues here is not intended to diminish that in any way.


Ellie, I think we all care about the girl.


SM, that's very true. They've said very little about her. They just keep talking about the criminal ~ and sensationalizing it all they can.


Laurie.. exactly. As long as we keep that in mind, it makes the rest better. At least we don't have the additional wounding of covert racism.


Liv, now that he has committed a crime here, he needs to go to prison here. It's likely he'll spend the rest of his life in prison here. He'll find out that it's no cakewalk.

Agree with you completely on the definition of terror. I suspect they think keeping us focused on Al Qaeda will keep us from getting totally pissed off about the fact that our own streets aren't safe for children.

(Or adults, for that matter)


Susan, yes.. there are definitely plenty of native-born criminals. And I also agree that the cracks need to be closed in the system.

I have no objection to kicking people out who commit crimes.. as long as they serve their time here first.


Sevenwinds, you're right.. and I remember the whole John Mark Karr debacle. It was a big black eye to Thailand. I can't help but think he should have been held in Thailand to face charges there, though. Maybe some time at the Bangkok Hilton would have straightened him out a bit.

He was arrested in Georgia, just recently for domestic violence. The guy seems to be teflon though. The charges were dismissed.

As for the rest of your comment, I agree. See above.. my response to Julie.




Carla said...

That's a very sad story and yes, our systems are very flawed. Often they don't do a very good job of protecting us. I agree with your assessment.

Elizabeth, New York said...

No, American children are not more important than Thai children but as Americans we are only responsible to protect OUR children, not the children of Thailand, a country where the men have sex with 5 year olds and sell them to pedophiles and the Thai police do NOTHING about it. You speak of how wonderful Thailand is. Thailand has breeded this monster and many more like him for it is acceptable to rape small children in that country. It is a huge business and the government and police are in on it. Thailand sells its children to the monsters of the world and they call it tourism. Shame on Thailand. The worse country in the world for a child.

Snoskred said...

Well that is certainly an interesting take on things, Elizabeth. Perhaps you should say "shame on pedophiles" instead of impugning a whole country?

Chani, I just dropped by to mention I gave you an award. :) in case you missed it.. ;)


Anonymous said...

If an American is in a traffic accident in Saudi Arabia, the law says that he is always at fault. The reasoning is that if he hadn't been there, then there wouldn't have been an accident.

That's stupid, and it's hardly something we in the west should emulate.

Pam said...

I agree, absolutely.

thailandchani said...

Carla, they're overburdened. I'm aware of that.. but they lose bragging rights when they miss something as obvious as this one.


Elizabeth, I'm at a loss as to how to answer this one. The best I can do is thank you for your opinion.


Snos, excellent point. It's "shame on pedophiles", no matter what country they come from.

Thanks. I'll be over :)


Thomas, that sounds like Saudi Arabia alright! LOL ~ I would quibble with thinking of SA as "the east" though.


Pam, thanks. :)




Terry Brown said...

Every week I work over 50 hours on trying to influence laws that manage sex offenders in the U.S. because they are counterproductive to public safety and completely ignore what sex abuse experts recommend. Each new heinous case like this comes with renewed public outcries for more of the same. When will Americans wake up and demand that their lawmakers listen to experts like they do in Brittain and Canada and elsewhere around the world?

We have become a nation that reacts out of emotion in implementing laws regarding sex offender management rather than implementing rational laws that listen to expert advice. We bannish former offenders to live under bridges and trees and then wonder why they lash out at society.

My fear is that someone within this population of some 603,000 American citizens will be pushed to the brink of sanity and that the number of innocent victims will be so large that we will have no choice but to reassess the situation. My question is why can't we do this before it reaches that point?

Christine said...

That poor, poor child. My heart aches for her and her family.

This whole story disgusts me. I agree with you all the way on this one, Chani. Our system is so broken. . .

QT said...

I'm late to the game on this one, Chani. I never thought about the subtext you bring up, and shudder to think it is true.

What I do think is that this man, an immigrant, is lucky he didn't commit the same crimes in Thailand b/c what I know of thier system, he would would have been dealt with in a much harsher fashion, and probably would not have been released the first time.

I think he should be deported. I think people who come here who don't obey our laws shouldn't be here, regardless of the type of crime.

And I am sad for that little girl, and the other like her, too many.

thailandchani said...

Terry, I agree with your overall assessment. The Atavist quotes a couple of articles he found about creating public policy on emotion rather that logic. You might find it interesting. The link is on my sidebar.

In general though, I have to say that I never expect anything that doesn't have a profit motive to be a priority to policymakers.

And that's my bias. I understand how your work could be so frustrating.


Christine, the system is broken because the priorities are all screwed up.


QT, the reason I mentioned the subtext is because the very same things were said when John Mark Karr was the center of media attention last year. Somehow, it was okay to leave him in Thailand.. because, after all, it was just Thai kids at risk.

The whole thing makes me sick. Beyond the lack of priority to deal with it here, the inherent disregard for children in other countries just makes me sick.




Elizabeth Saxxon said...

No you are both 100% wrong. It IS shame on a whole country when the country, its people, its government and police officals tolerate, operate and condone child sex abuse.

Get your head out of your butts and stop just looking at the beautiful waters and beautiful landscapes of Thailand. There are
tens of thousands of babies and children that Thailand offers up every day to be raped and tortured for a few dollars.
and shame on you for being so ignortant and so blind to the children of the country you claim to love so much. It's heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

The reason the government is supposed to (but doesn't) deport people who rape children here is that it has a responsibility to protect the citizens it governs. The Thai government has a responsibility to protect it citizens *and* manage its sex offenders (such as those returned home after being convicted in a foreign nation). The pretext of your typical knee-jerk cry "racism" of racism is that the US government has a responsibility to protect the people of Thailand, a concept that is not compatible with your likely position against US strategic (war) guarantees abroad (which I also oppose). But the real mystery consists in your failure to acknowledge the anti-white racism implicit in the government's failure to deport him. In reality, the government fails to deport that vast majority of nonwhite immigrants guilty of violent crimes, but makes an *extremely* diligent effort to deport any and all European peoples guilty of nothing more than overstaying their visas. But the worst racism of all is the truth that you would rather he stayed to murder a little blonde girl than be deported to rape a little Thai girl. For in Thailand, it is far easier to simply commit the rape than to bother with concealing the evidence via murder. It is you who evokes the comparison of life values, and it is obvious where your typical ethnocentric sympathy lies. You couldn't care less about Linna Zinnik. In your mind, she is merely a child of the enemy.