Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

10 June 2008

Rage Against the Vile

If you've read this blog before, then you know that I write workplace safety information.

In the course of researching my work, I sometimes come across stories that leave me sick and cold at heart.

Such a one is the story of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez.

Maria was one of the millions of California farm labourers who pick crops for a living. On May 14th she collapsed in the late afternoon while working in a vineyard.

Her fiancé held her while the forman watched and did nothing. Eventually the foreman had the couple sent to town to buy rubbing alcohol to cool her off. When that didn't work he sent the van to the local clinic with instructions to tell medics the girl had fallen ill while exercising.

After her death, two days later, it turned out she was pregnant. Further investigation revealed that in defiance of California law her employer, Merced Farm Labor, had failed to provide proper access to water.

(The article states that workers are entitled to a quart of water per shift, but I'm certain that's wrong. I belive a more proper figure would be a quart per hour.)

But what drove me into a cold fury were the comments at the Sacramento Bee.

Among the outpourings of sympathy was some of the nastiest pathalogical nativist meanness I have ever seen.

In particular, one ©µ»7 called "a non ee moos" deserves to be keelhauled--but he's not alone.
I agree whole-heartedly that this is a sad, tragic story. It is sad on several levels, not the least of which is that a young girl trying to make a better world for herself died. I will not and cannot even begin to fathom how you can call this a "national shame". What is it exactly that we should be ashamed about? She was an undocumented worker, a term which has become a touchy-feely replacement of the correct term: Illegal alien. Now, TO BE FAIR, there is no way of knowing how the young lady got into the country. Statically nearly half of all undocumented workers are individuals who have overstayed their visa, a fact given by the National Assoc of Hispanic Journalists (www.nahj.org). For sure, that does not at all change the fact that it is terribly sad that this young girl lost her life, but in this situation, there is no "National Shame". There is no reason we as Americans should feel shameful about this immigration situation. We should be irate that we are being taken advantage of."
Irate ... that you were taken advantage of?

What

the

FUCK?

Let's get this straight: A 17-year old, pregnant, dies as a result of illegal conduct on behalf of her employer and your first thought is to complain that her passport wasn't stamped?

You ape.

You vile, paranoid, sad sack of monkey spunk.

You sad, twisted, inhuman, slack-jawed, defiled thing.

You symptom. You fungus growing between the toes of your society. You crack-brained hate-filled camel.
...

Here is my profoundest wish for you, you misanthropic, mesomorphic, filthy beast. And this goes for your brother and sister tumours like heatherc with her germane and sympathetic comment (title: "ILLEGALS GET OUT!"):

That sometime in the next couple of days, while you are enjoying a salad whose description of "dew-drenched" is code for "immigrant-sweat-soaked" and whose price is roughly twice the daily salary of the person picking it, you laugh, or inhale, at the wrong moment.

And I hope that a chunk of that delicious feast slides down and wedges in your windpipe.

And as you stand up and begin to stagger about the room, I pray that the only person in the restaurant who knows the Heimlich maneuver is a 17-year-old illegal immigrant.

May your own gods deliver you speedily into his/her hands.

If there's any real justice, the only person who knew the Heimlich will have been deported, just as you and your shrink-testicled, shrivelled-ovaried friends demand.

Side note:
For those who made an issue on a dead girl's comment thread that having sex at 17 is a crime, I'd like to borrow from George Carlin: "May you never ₤µ©λ again ... Naw, that's too cruel. May it hurt every time you ₤µ©λ."

A life is a life. If she were born in Omaha or Osaka her death would be equally tragic.

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8 Comments:

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Pugs said...

Hmmm. Maybe I'm so hardned by society that I have no feeling either way. The girl is an asshole for saying such insensitive things and the pregnant victim should have drank some fucking water, the foreman who was on duty should be castrated and beaten and the idiot who took her into town and didn't think to give her water should be dropkicked to the moon. Seems like a comedy of errors that wasn't very comedic...

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Metro said...

There's certainly more than one cause at work. But I think that to say the victim should simply have drunk some water makes some assumptions about the working conditions that aren't true.

In a reasonably-run operation, the water truck or cart travels with the pickers across the field so that they can avail themselves of it more-or-less at will. However, time off the line is pounds off your quota, and many fieldwork operations penalize for it.

In this case, the water cart was apparently a ten-minute walk away across the field. Why? I don't know. But I know that if it were my pay getting docked I'd probably stay on the line as long as possible.

And therin lies the danger, because dehydration deprives a person of both reason and bodily strength. Not only can you not properly form thoughts, you may not be able to act on the ones you can form.

Yet even if she'd insisted on dressing in a snowsuit and doing aerobics while guzzling salt by the pound, the issue isn't really her. It's about an abusive working environment.

And what I was writing about here was about the @$$#013s in the comment thread who couldn't chin themselves over their prejudice and ignorance to see that due to those abusive practices we lost a human being.

Two, in fact.

 
At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Metro:Man:

A pretty sad story, indeed. "Taken advantage of" is a rather disturbing term.

By the way, the Heimlich maneuver is no longer called as such, because the guy who invented it wanted to patent said maneuver and get paid everytime someone mentioned his name, or something to that effect. Kind of like a royalty for saving lives. How fkd is that? No gag (sic) either.

Later, man

CC

 
At 6:08 PM, Anonymous michaelm said...

Disturbing? God, yes.

And as you stand up and begin to stagger about the room, I pray that the only person in the restaurant who knows the Heimlich maneuver is a 17-year-old illegal immigrant.


Amen, Metro.
The mass is ended.
Great, emotional post.
Kudos . . .
~m

 
At 6:31 PM, Blogger The Nag said...

Shame! Did you see this: http://nagonthelake.blogspot.com/2008/05/working-wounded.html

 
At 6:47 PM, Blogger Metro said...

@CC:
"The-Maneuver-Formerly-Known-As-Heimlich"? Couldn't we just give it its own sigil?

@michaelm:
Yeah ... scuffs a foot listlessly ... I sometimes feel that the righteous rage just propels me further onto the reef. I mean, this really isn't me ... I'm normally pretty cerebral.

But after reading that stuff I couldn't find anything else to write with.

@Nag:

Saw it and admired it when you posted. I think I even worked it into work somehow.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Slave to the dogs said...

Erm, sex at 17 isn't a crime. Where in the hell did they get that from?

There's a ton of anti-immigrant sentiment in California, legal or otherwise. Seems to come from white natives. My response to it is that they shouldn't live in a state adjacent to Mexico if it's such an issue for them.

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Metro said...

@STTD:
Or indeed where the population is 36% Hispanic.

 

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