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The irony of ironies in Tucson is that, had deranged killer Jared Lee Loughner looked Hispanic, he might have been stopped from his murderous rampage at the Safeway on Jan. 8.
That's because, early on that morning, he was stopped by an Arizona Fish and Wildlife officer for running a red light, and received a verbal warning. But under the draconian anti-Hispanic law promoted by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, which is probably unconstitutional, that officer would have been entitled to look further into Loughner's person and vehicle just in case he was an illegal alien. And had that officer done so, he probably would have found weapons and ammunition.
But, alas, Loughner was merely some weird white dude whose license and registration were in order, so no further action was appropriate and he was let go by that officer. Freed to carry out his bloody rampage against innocents.
Of course, this article does not endorse Arizona's selective policy of racial profiling directed against Hispanics. Far from it; that policy smacks of the Nazi era, when my own relatives in Poland were sent to Auschwitz for being part of the wrong minority group. Still, Loughner's blending in with Arizona's white population let him go out and kill.
So it is quite clear that draconian laws against certain individuals or groups are ineffective in stopping violence. Of course, that is not their intent, but the irony remains. These laws are probably also ineffective at dealing with illegal immigration issues but, they may give that appearance to some like Brewer, who prefer unjustified punitive sanctions violative of our constitutional rights to a meaningful solution to real immigration problems.
The final irony of ironies in the tragic Tucson shootings is that one of the most courageous people Jan. 8 was an intern for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who had only been on her volunteer staff for a week. Daniel Hernandez probably saved her life by taking emergency medical actions, including helping to staunch her loss of blood after being shot through the head by Loughner. He also provided vital encouragement and support to her in those minutes before an ambulance arrived.
If Brewer's stop-and-search Hispanics rule had been applied to him on that tragic day, he might well have been sitting in his vehicle while his papers were checked for no good reason, just racial profiling. Whether he would have been released in time to make the Congress on Your Corner event that sad morning can never be known.
What we must know, however, is that unless we learn from this tragedy, and unless and until that learning includes following our standards of fair and equitable treatment for all, America will not become what it can and should be: the home of the brave, of the free and of the lust!