Editor's Note: Townhall.com wanted to commemorate 2005 in a special way that recognized the people most responsible for advancing the causes of freedom, limited government, prosperity and traditional values. That's why we're proud to announce our first annual Citizen of the Year. During the week of December 26 we will run extensive features on three finalists, and on Friday, December 30 we will announce the Citizen of the Year as determined by your nominations and final decisions by the Townhall.com editorial staff. Check back all week. Enjoy!
It must have been close to midnight when we saw the fight breaking out in the crowded parking lot. Scott and I were hurrying to get back into my 1970 GTO, so we could speed home and beat the twelve o’clock curfew. Although it was July, it was a school night for me. I was in summer school for flunking English again. The year was 1982.
Bubba wasn’t your typical Bubba from Texas. He was a surfer and all the girls said he was a good-looking fellow. He must have been. Every one of his girlfriends was a knockout.
And for a surfer he packed a pretty mean punch himself. He won almost every time he fought. But, this time, he was breaking up a fight between two people he didn’t know. He was playing the Good Samaritan, and it almost cost him his life. He had only been out of high school for a few weeks.
Right after he stepped in between the two men, we saw him hit the ground like a sack of potatoes. It didn’t look like he had been hit by a punch. That’s when Kevin ran over and saw the blood coming out of his jugular tube. It was spurting out with every heartbeat. “He’s been cut,” he screamed. He screamed it several times.
Donnie was lightning fast getting the truck over to the spot where Bubba lay bleeding. Steve threw his body in the back and then he hopped in with him. I remember the sound of blood gurgling as he tried to hold on. But his life was slipping away. He was only eighteen.
Donnie drove the truck through a fence marking the boundaries of the drive-in movie theater in southeast Houston, Texas. Then he cut across a field to take Highway 3 to the hospital in Clear Lake.
Before we got into our car, Darrin flew into a rage. Although I considered him a friend, he was the most dangerous guy in our school. He mastered the art of biting off chunks of flesh in fights long before Mike Tyson did it to Evander Holyfield.
On this particular night, he knocked the switchblade out of the young Mexican’s hand and started dragging him to the nearest car. He bashed out four headlights with his skull before he left him laying on the ground bleeding. Then he followed us to the hospital.
Later that night, around the crack of dawn, the nurse came out to the parking lot to tell us the good news. It was touch-and-go all night, but our friend was strong. He was going to pull through.
Later that day, I found out that the man who tried to murder Bubba for making peace was an undocumented worker. Back then, we called them illegal aliens.
Since that night, I haven’t discussed the issue of illegal immigration very much. In fact, I didn’t discuss the gruesome stabbing in public for over twenty years. But in May of this year it came up during a conversation about the controversial Minuteman Project launched near our nation’s border in Arizona.
The conversation was taking place in the lobby of a hotel in Asheville, North Carolina. A fellow delegate to the North Carolina Republican convention praised the Minuteman Project. That’s when we were interrupted by a Democrat sitting (and eavesdropping) at the next table. The conversation went something like this:Democrat: I’m sorry to interrupt, but could you just tell me one bad thing a so-called illegal alien has done to justify your opposition to opening our borders to them? Could you just name one thing?
Adams: (recounts the 1982 stabbing incident).Democrat: (rolls his eyes and shrugs his shoulders).
Adams: Wait a second. I just described to you a horrific act of violence committed against an innocent 18 year old – one that almost cost him his life – and all you can do is shrug your shoulders? Do you mean to say you don’t care? What if the act of violence was rape? What if the victim was your daughter? Would you care then?Democrat: But all illegal aliens aren’t criminals.
Adams: Yes they are.Democrat: How so?
Adams: Do you have a dictionary handy?Democrat: No, do you?
Adams: Do you need a dictionary to understand the meaning of the term “illegal”?Democrat: Yes, I see your point. You are right, technically speaking.
Adams: Well, how about morally speaking? Do I stand on strong moral ground? Have I merely won by a technicality?Democrat: I’m sorry to have interrupted you. Never mind.
In case you didn’t notice, the most important aspect of that argument was not verbal; it was non-verbal. The rolling of the eyes and the shrugging of the shoulders provided an on-the-spot, concise summary of Democratic foreign policy toward Mexico. That said it all. They just don’t care.
But the more interesting question – and the one I did not ask the eavesdropping Democrat - is why? Why do so many Democrats not care if our borders are left open – even at the expense of national security and a rising crime rate? Surely, there must be more to the equation than pure apathy?
Of course, there is more to the equation. Put simply, they need the votes.
Democrats have lost control of the House, the Senate, and the White House. And those who have been watching the tactics of the Democratic Party over the past few years know that divisive racial politics are the last desperate hope of an increasingly powerless and irrelevant party. The Democrats know that the success of racial politics is related to the racial distribution of the American population.
That is why they need open borders. And that is why it is open season on the Minuteman Project, a group of concerned citizens who, in 2005, patrolled the Mexican border in hopes of curtailing illegal immigration. For accepting responsibility when government refused it, the Minutemen are one of Townhall.com's finalists for Citizen of the Year.
Some people have called the Minutemen racists. But not many have pressed that issue, because they know that the Minuteman Project requires personal interviews of each volunteer to ensure that he is motivated to serve by national security concerns, and not by racism. A racist can become a college professor (e.g., Cornel West) or a United States Senator (e.g., Robert Byrd), but he cannot become a member of the Minuteman Project.
So, out of desperation, the critics more often levy a charge of vigilantism.
But, just like the eavesdropping Democrat, those crying “vigilantism” are jumping into the argument without defining the basic terminology. And they secretly hope that no one within earshot is carrying a pocket dictionary.
I thought about those charges last week when I heard two young teenage boys across the street talking about unloading some merchandise at a local pawn shop. After I listened to them boast for a few moments, I realized they had just committed a felony. I went into the front bedroom, got out my Leupold binoculars and got a good physical description of the boys (and one of the vehicle, too).
A few days later, I spoke to the deputy as he hauled my young neighbor off to jail to be booked on charges of second degree burglary. As I shook the officer’s hand and thanked him, I offered to give sworn testimony at any proceedings against my 18-year-old neighbor.
Reflecting upon that scene raises a couple of questions: Am I a vigilante? And, more importantly, have I done anything different than what the Minutemen have done – and continue to do under much more dangerous circumstances?
If you want to read about vigilantism, go back and read the first part of this editorial about my friend Darrin. His actions were vigilantism – specifically, they constituted aggravated battery. And, needless to say, they represent an immoral way to combat illegal immigration.
But if you would rather read about true heroes, go to http://www.minutemanhq.com/hq. Or, better yet, join the fight by doing the job our cowardly politicians are unwilling to do themselves.