Saturday, October 29, 2011

Considering Correctness

Considering correctness

Originally published October 28, 2011
The Frederick News-Post

By Steven R. Berryman

(also, be sure to read the postscript at the end!)

Of course the words we choose define us, and reveal the messages we attempt to convey; isn't that what language is for? English has twice the number of available words to choose to enunciate our meaning as the next closest language, German. Although the context of usage is critical, we are being driven mad by the "political correctness" demands of a liberal education system.

Should a pejorative word with a political charge be chosen, is it fair to the targeted recipient and to the casual reader, especially as some become inflamed? For instance, we don't say "stimulus" anymore. [We say "jobs bill."]

In this week's Monday Advance section, FNP columnist Frankee Lyons passionately explored the word "illegals," treating readers of this paper to a fresh new discussion. The value of anonymous comments in response -- available to the online edition -- was clear as they peaked at 87 responses posted the next day.

Tracking comments is a good indication of the public mood.

These comments fell quite predictably along partisan lines, scribed by many with views already on record. Each response took one side or another quite distinctly; the long debate on what is undeniably the national dysfunction of uncontrolled borders still seethes.

Before I forget, Lyons is the freshest in age of the FNP columnists, and so is to be especially commended for learning how to strike such a resonant chord with so many readers. Despite views to the contrary, writing an opinion column is not about being absolutely right on any given issue, it's about generating the conversation. "'Illegals'?" was brilliant in this respect.

But that's just my opinion!

Followers of this column and my blog already know well my position on what I shall now call "the ongoing phenomenon of noncitizens breaking into America without visa or legal status of entry." This will keep me from the impolitic shorthand of "illegals."

Forming a position early on, my association with the group Help Save Maryland goes back a full year before this became such a hot topic. The enforced political correctness of those with a stake in the game -- immigration lawyers and CASA of Maryland, for instance, was instrumental in labeling my group both "nativist" and "extremist." This was formally pronounced by a group called the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Racist accusations are the ultimate in words that carry baggage for many; talk about words that carry a political charge! To inflict the damage, the charge need not even be true.

What gets lost in the semantic argument we choose is the argument itself. Is some false sense of "fairness" to those who made it over the fence more important than our national sovereignty as citizens with something to protect?

Very clearly in our public education system, the value of being a U.S. citizen has become subjugated to some Walt Disney version of fairness; we have a diverse culture, a history, and a heritage worth protecting.

Sticks and stones may break our bones ...


Steven R. Berryman

writes from Frederick.


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[Postscript: the next day, a prime example of why we use the force of words presented itself!]

Murder charges filed
Suspect ID'd in March shooting death at Burger King
Originally published October 29, 2011
Frederick News-Post

By Brian Englar
News-Post Staff

NEW! Click photo to view additional photos
Murder charges filed
Courtesy Photo


Frederick police have obtained an arrest warrant for a Salvadoran national wanted in the shooting death of a Burger King manager in March, Frederick County State's Attorney Charlie Smith said Friday.

Jose Reyes Mejia-Varela, 21, is in Baltimore in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service awaiting sentencing on charges of illegally re-entering the U.S. after he was deported.

Mejia-Varela is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jacinta "Patty" Ayala, 32, who was shot and killed in an apparent robbery as she was opening the Burger King on East Patrick Street in Frederick, where she was an assistant manager.

He faces additional charges of armed robbery, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and theft of between $1,000 and $10,000, according to Frederick police.

Smith said during a news conference Friday the warrant would be served after Mejia-Varela is sentenced on the federal charges. His office hopes to begin trying the case within six months after he is brought to Frederick.

Smith said that in the absence of eyewitnesses or a confession, cracking the case was a painstaking task requiring hundreds of hours of work by investigators. He described the case against Mejia-Varela as "very strong."

"This was a case that really took a lot of diligence looking at each and every piece of evidence possible," Smith said. "One piece of evidence that would be presented would reveal a need to investigate three, four, five different avenues."

Police would not release any details about the crime itself or say how Mejia-Varela -- a former employee at the Burger King -- was identified as a suspect.

Frederick police spokesman Lt. Clark Pennington said detectives interviewed Mejia-Varela during the original investigation but did not consider him a suspect at the time. Pennington said they discovered he was in the country illegally and reported him to immigration authorities.......ctd on link above...


Ref: Also, the column this refers to is here:


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