SB4 – Fears and Facts

SB4 - immigration status on a whim
Addressing Fear

Many Hispanics dread being stopped by police officers for fear of being profiled. SB 1074 specifically outlaws racial profiling. Read the full text: 2012 Texas Law on Racial Profiling

Specific to law enforcement officers: Art. 2.131. RACIAL PROFILING PROHIBITED. A peace officer may not engage in racial profiling.

Does racial profiling happen? Indeed, it does. Why? My best answer: human nature.

Unjust and unlawful profiling by some police officers affects people of all skin colors and all ages.

The vast majority of law enforcement officers are good citizens. They are not superhumans. Some – a few – are incarcerated in Texas prisons for murder, sex crimes, and other felonies. Some, thinking they are doing us all a favor, willfully disregard the prohibition against racial profiling.

I appreciate the fear. Over six decades of operating motor vehicles, a few police officers have unjustly stopped me on the pretext of alleged traffic violations. After checking my identity against lists of wanted persons, I’ve gone on my way without a ticket. An obvious conclusion is the officers profiled me because my vehicle or appearance closely matched another person.

Twice in my life, loaded handguns have been pointed my way.

The first time, it was when an angry Native American man in Minneapolis threatened to blow my brains out. He expressed his anger toward all white people. Obviously, he didn’t pull the trigger and this is a story for another day.

The second time, a police officer right here in Rockwall pulled his handgun on me in an attempt to cower me into giving him permission to search my place of business in downtown Rockwall. The rest of this story will also be for another time.

Born and raised in South Texas, I also knew Hispanics that were grossly mistreated by cops.

The fear of profiling is rational, if not necessarily realistic. Supporters of SB4 should respect the fear. Gun owners also have stories, well-documented stories, on incidences of unlawful profiling by police officers. I’ve been profiled by ICE solely because my name is one of 12,669 John Whites in this country.

Deleterious Dichotomy

On August 30, 2017, Orlando L. Garcia of United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio, an activist federal judge, issued a temporary injunction to pause enforcement of the law. NY Times: Federal Judge Blocks Texas’ Ban on ‘Sanctuary Cities’. (Grammarians will see right away the irony of the article’s title.)

Of note is the parallel between so-called sanctuary cities in Texas whose leaders claim to uphold civil rights and the hostile, un-civil behavior of local law enforcement in those cities toward lawful gun owners. For the record, the arrest and conviction rate of licensed Texas gun owners is less than the rate for law enforcement officers. It’s not a huge difference, but one that should teach uncivil chiefs of police like Art Acevedo (Houston), Brian Manley (Austin), and Dr. Joel Fitzgerald (Fort Worth) that their irrational profiling of gun owners actually violates state law.

The Bottom Line

The stated, legislated object of SB4 is to get criminals off the streets and into the hands of ICE.  As all law enforcement officers in Rockwall County have publicly stated, undocumented immigrants can freely report crimes without fear of deportation.

Action

  • LEARN – Know the law.
  • RESPECT – Be respectful of the opinions of SB4 opponents.
  • LISTEN – Dignify opponents of SB4 by listening with an intent to understand them.
  • SPEAK – Contact your State Senator and your Representative in the Texas Legislature to express your view of SB4.
  • PEACE – Be a peacemaker. Don’t set up lines of confrontation. Reason flies out the window when confrontation displaces peaceful debate.

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:9

  • PRAY – The Bible says we are to pray FOR, not AGAINST, all who are in authority.

Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.
1 Timothy 2:2

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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