Who really killed Luis Ramirez?

Luis Ramirez died two days after being brutally beaten by three teenagers in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

Luis Ramirez died two days after being brutally beaten by three teenagers in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania

Like I promised, here is a more about the dehumanization of the Other and why it must stop.

This piece was written by Gabe Gonzalez, a veteran community organizers and the director of the Campaign for Community Values at the Center for Community Change.

A few days ago two teens, accused in the fatal beating of Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania were acquitted of all serious charges by an all white jury. Shortly after Ramirez was brutally murdered, his grieving fiancé had a premonition about the outcome of justice in the case saying, “I know they’re going to try to make him look like nothing, and try to justify what the kids did, even though there’s no way they could justify this. I know I’m not gonna get the justice I deserve, 10-1 these kids are going to get probation or a slap on the hand. Because he’s an illegal Mexican they don’t care, right away he’s less important.”

When I heard the verdict, I was taken back to a conversation from a couple of years ago when I stood aghast with all Americans as pictures rolled out from Abu Ghraib. I remember vividly talking with a friend of mine about it. He shook his head and said what we were all thinking, “Why did they do this?” It hit me hard, because I knew the answer. I shook my head with him and said quietly, “Because they could.”
When people mistreat others, when it happens systematically on a massive scale, like in Soviet Russia, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia, or Abu Ghraib, the questions are never how, but why. Why is it that people harm others like this? What is it that takes ordinary people and turns them to monsters?

Historians wrestle with it. Psychologists talk about national psychosis. Ordinary people construct millions of reasons. Always, we wrestle with why.

The answer never changes. It has been documented time and again. When we see others as less than human – killing them becomes less than a crime. When the attacked stop being seen as brothers, sons, fathers, mothers and sisters – torturing them becomes acceptable. When people are robbed of their humanity, turned into images, or beasts, they can be raped, robbed, enslaved.

When the other is not human, you can put prisoners on a box with electrodes taped to their hands. You can burn churches full of women and children. You can fill trains and lead them to gas chambers.

Again, our country must learn this lesson. The memory of Abu Ghraib is fresh in our mind, and James Byrd still mourned. Our history of anti-Semitism, anti-Irish, anti-Asian, anti-Black, anti-NOT ME still scars this country.  We must examine these scars, if we are to learn from our darkest moments.

On July 14, Luis Ramirez was murdered. Not solely because he was Mexican, or undocumented, or even something so trite as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Luis Ramirez was murdered because those who killed him could. And they could because, to them, he was not American, not human.

We as a country have to stop creating demons in our midst. We have to stop identifying one or another as less than human. The sentiment that killed Luis Ramirez was the same that killed James Byrd. “You don’t matter. You are less than human.”

The talk radio hosts and FOX news pundits who daily scream “illegal” are equally as guilty as the ones who threw the punches. Reporters who quote and therefore legitimize hate groups like FAIR have blood on their hands.  When Lou Dobbs says that the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce favor the export of American capital and production to Mexico and Mexico’s export of drugs and illegal aliens to the United States – he’s contributing to an intolerance that makes violence possible.  With the constant bombardment of vitriol, the hate mongers create an atmosphere in which people are no longer workers, children or sisters – they are illegals, beaners or spics.  In the words of Robert F. Kennedy, when we learn to “look at our bothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear – only a common desire to retreat from each other – only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force.”

We are one country, not fifty states. We are one people, not a thousand ethnicities. We worship one God. And we are all human. The rhetoric that permitted Luis Ramirez’s murder must stop. Our common destiny as human beings must prevail. With the death of Luis Ramirez, immigration is no longer a question of economic and political struggle.  It is now a struggle for the soul of America. One we must win.

What can you do?

Sign the MALDEF petition asking the DOJ to investigate the case.

13 responses to “Who really killed Luis Ramirez?

  1. You really should delete this ass-dribble commentary above. These humanoid-imitators are polluting the conversational stream.

  2. rachelfirm

    done and done. still figuring out the best way to handle the comments. thanks for stopping by, nezua!

  3. This is so sad, when will we learn that one life is not worth more then another.

  4. This may seem like a silly question but .. Is there no way for the Mexican government to follow up with charges on behalf of Mr. Remirez ?

  5. My question is? What is this Society coming to. Beside what did Mr. Ramirez to this teenage and why did they have to kill him. They need to be put away and let them pay for what they have done to this man. Leaving family beside to grieve. God Bless him and he’s family. However, I would like to see justice be server.

  6. I don’t understand how they aren’t being charged for murder when they were the ones who put him in the hostipal, it was a group of teenagers, they jumped him beaten so bad like be serious they derserve life in prison cause they didn’t just killl him they killed a son, a husband & a father. His death has left a wife widow and daughters without their father. He was young he was only 25 yrs old. But I bet if it was the other way around & the teens were hispanic & the man white they would have gotten life. Its sad how everyone want immigrants to come forward and report crimes yet there’s no point cause they don’t get justice, that’s why they take matters into their own hands cause then we know they will get payback. Im not saying it acceptable but an eye for an eye.

  7. What i dont understand is why everyone made this out to be the biggest thing. There are so many people getting killed in philly, chicago, boston, etc. but you point this out be cause he was Mexican. Get over it, im sure if you were in mexico you would have a high chance of getting murdered as well.. They are in prison, leave it go. Im sure it was also somewhat Luis’s fault, you do not know this man, and you dont know what he did at that time.. The town isnt the greatest anyway you dont know what happens there unless you know the area very well. Get over it. he is dead, you cant bring him back. Im sure people do miss him, but its hard to try to give someone respect and feel bad for him if you have no idea what his actions were at the time.

  8. infamouscyn

    Are you serious?

    Is was his fault? Get over it? Should we all just lay down and die. Like this is some isolated case , which it is not. This poor guy is dead, because some spoiled white kids decide that Luis was nothing more then a second class citizen, disposable. Ideas based on nothing but Hate, the same ideas perpetuated by the media, and hate groups alike. It’s nothing but xenophobia.

    If anything we should not get over this, we should be more out spoken about this. Not only for Luis, but for the others as well. For that poor child they shot dead in Arizona, for Marcelo Lucero, who was killed on long Island last year. For all the victims of the senseless and often violent raids, for the poor pregnant woman in Virginia who was tasered by police officers in front of a group of young children, last week.

    For my friends and family, who work 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week for 5 dollars an hour without complaint. They deserve the same opportunity and chance and respect as anyone else. Treat others as you would like to be treated. It seems like a simple task, but it seems to be one that is long forgotten.

  9. It is so sad that if you are white you can get anything, even murder and be free, this is so sad, Luis now is dead, but he have a family who suffer and remember the way he was killed by these white kid that hate hispanic, if the white kid was dead, and Luis was the one to kill him, he will be life in prison. I blame the judge, it look that he hate hispanic, that is the reason this white kids just got probation and 1 yr in prison, this is a shame, poor black or hispanic, they will live in jail but white people are save….

  10. This is very sad, This has to stop.
    When this racism going to STOP??????
    Have They forgotten That This country is made out of Immigrants????
    No body is worth more than any body.
    Native Americans, Asians, Africans, Caucasian, middle Astern, Europeans.
    Everyone are worth Just exactly the same as Humans.

  11. When is this “AMERICAN” Thing going to Stop???

    Everyone in The Continent Of America Are Americans!!!!

    The United States North Of America, is not The only Country in the Continent of America.




    All this country Are in the Continent Of America,

    I bet not everyone knows About the Continent Of America. When people say I am an “American” they sound very Funny.

  12. The writer is right. It’s when people see others as less than human when they think its okay to deal out violence.
    The presence of illegal immigrants offends many US Americans, but you don’t go beating them. The violent teens should’ve acknowledged Luis’ flesh and blood in humanity and done the right thing to resolve their political issue with him, going through the efforts to deport him.

  13. I in no way condone the brutal killing of Luis Ramirez or any cover up that followed. The resulting dismal of the most serious charges, by the “all white jury” is disappointing given the facts of the case, but am I to believe that all of Shenandoah PA is a racist enclave?

    Perhaps rather, they are reacting to changes they see in their community and country as a result of the ignoring of federal law. No one has stated whether Luis was here legally or illegally, but erring on the side of trusting to good journalism (yeah right), I will assume he was legal. But the way liberals dance around that subject speaks volumes and is a contributing factor in this incident. Nations have the right to regulate immigration across there borders. Mexico’s penalties

    the statement “The rhetoric that permitted Luis Ramirez’s murder must stop.” is true only if ALL of the rehtoric stops. Calling groups like FIRM hate based groups with blood on their hands ignores the positions and propaganda of groups like “La Raza”, which for all you non spanish speakers out there means THE RACE. Can you imagine a white advocacy group with a name like that? No, and theirin lies the hypocricy that also contributed to this tragedy.

    The notion the racism has only a white face is untrue. Racisim has a very prominent face of color. I have been subject to it. I live in Houston Texas, probably the most diverse urban community in the counrty. We have significant communities of Peoples from everywhere on the planet. That all racial groups tend to stick together and distrust others is universal to our general fear of others different from us. There will be friction, but to label ones speach as hate speech and another’s saying the same thing in a diiferent language as “Advocacy” is the kind of hypocricy that has to disappear from the discussion as well if there is to be true justice.

    Luis death is a terrible tragedy. Lets hope federall intervention will bring greater light on the situation and the proper punishment to those responsible, as that appears to have not happened to this point. But it is an important point that ALL LAWS ARE TO BE ENFORCED. The law applies to everyone, or it applies to no-one, as demonstrated here.

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