Illegal Immigration Claims A Cherished Life

Posted May 22, 2007 by Dave Ruthenberg
Categories: Entertainment, Immigration, Media, Movies, Murder

I am really not sure where to start. Often I have found that my writing is tied to my emotions. When something riles me up I tend to really let loose and the words seem to flow seamlessly. But this is different. I am at once angry, heart-broken, sickened and well, sad. Sad to the point that words seem to be failing me. But obviously I am going to give it a try since you are reading this.

Throughout my life I have always gravitated to the underdog. Whether it was music or sports or life in general. When I was in high school (many, many years ago), my favorite band was Thin Lizzy, an Irish band that scored minimal success in the United States but maintained a huge European following. In some ways I think I felt a bit superior by being able to claim a band as my favorite that most did not even know existed. Popularity after all does not equate with being good. Look at American Idol.

I have always been a sports nut too, especially when it comes to college football and basketball. Growing up in the Detroit area you were immediately expected to root for either Michigan or Michigan State and worship at the altar of the Big Ten. Not me. I found the greatest satisfaction in following the Mid-American Conference, a conference that is forever in the shadows of the Big Ten but whose member schools still scare the bejeezus out of the big boys to the point where they shy away from playing schools of the MAC unless it is on their terms. This led me to start up a website called MAC Report Online ( which today registers over 600,000 hits per month proving that I am not the only one who has a love for the underdog. 

Movie star worship was never my bag though. I couldn’t really ever point to a favorite actor until I saw a movie called “Trust” starring a charming, engaging young actress named Adrienne Shelly. I was completely blown away by this little dynamo whose presence on-screen was such that you could not take your eyes off of her. Of course the fact that she was pretty much a virtual unknown and appearing in low-budget indie films cemented the fact that she would become my favorite actor. She clearly qualified as an underdog.I never understood why she didn’t get bigger roles or become a star. She had the talent and certainly had the presence of a star. But the fact that she received little notice and the general movie-going public had no clue who she was only endeared her to me I guess. 

Adrienne Shelly made appearances in several independent films and I eagerly checked the Internet Movie Database (IMD) whenever IAdrienne Shelly could to check on her latest films. You see, living here in Detroit you really do not get much more than the usual Hollywood pablum of blockbusters so any movies that Shelly made had to be viewed by me either on cable or via DVD or VHS. I have never seen one of her films in an actual theater and she made many that were far superior to the garbage being churned out. Her 2001 effort in “Revolution #9” was harrowing just as her role in “Sudden Manhattan” was quirky and engaging. She really had a special charm and sweetness packed into her slight 5’2″ 100 pound frame. I guess I can concede that I have had a bit of a crush on her. 

So, why do I bring this up?  

The other night I was watching TV when an ad appeared for a movie titled “Waitress.” At first it did not catch my attention as it appeared to be another run of the mill chick flick. But out of the corner of my eye I saw this cute little red-head in the ad and thought ‘hey, that looks like Adrienne Shelly!’ Sure enough it was and even better, at the bottom of the ad it read “written and directed by Adrienne Shelly.” Wow. A movie by my favorite actor that would actually have a nation wide release.

I had lost track a bit of her career after being tied up with my own career change and focusing so much on sports writing. The next morning I decided to check the Internet to get more information about the upcoming movie and was stunned to see that Adrienne Shelly was dead. Not just dead, but murdered. Worse, it had happened over six months ago, on November 1 and I was just now finding out about this horrible news. How did I miss it? Well, it received coverage in the New York press and a brief mention here and there but since she was no Anna Nicole Smith, her passing was no big deal apparently. But the circumstances of her death were truly gruesome.

It seems Ms. Shelly had the misfortune of having a run-in with an illegal immigrant who decided it was better to murder her than risk having her call the police as he was afraid such a call would lead to his deportation. The sniveling little coward, Diego Pillco, a 19-year old illegal alien from Ecuador, now sits in prison awaiting trial on second-degree murder charges. Apparently Mr. Pillco, to quote the New York Post, told police he was “having a bad day,” when he decided to snuff out the life of 40-year old Adrienne Shelly,  a wife and mother of a 2-year old daughter. As best as I have been able to reconstruct it, here is the series of events that led to Ms. Shelly’s murder: 

On the morning of November 1, 2006, Adrienne’s husband, Andrew Ostroy, a marketing executive, dropped her off at a Greenwich Village apartment building where she used an apartment as an office. The apartment below her office was being renovated and the workers apparently were making a lot of noise. Ms Shelly went down to ask for some peace and quiet and Mr. Pillco was the only one present. Pillco reacted by slamming the door on Ms. Shelly, striking her with the door and then pushing her out of the apartment. Ms. Shelly had the audacity to call him a “son of a bitch” and proceeded to head back to her office. 

Pillco, fearing that she would call the police, then followed her back to her office where he overpowered her, struck her and she fell, hitting her head on a computer table. But she was not dead. Pillco though, in his confession, told police he thought he had killed her and now needed to make her “death” appear to be a suicide. 

The illegal immigrant, who paid smugglers $12,000 to get him across the US-Mexican border, dragged the unconscious Shelly to the bathroom by tying a bed sheet around her neck. He then slung the bedsheet over the shower curtain rod and hanged the still unconscious but not dead actress to make her death appear to be self-inflicted. An autopsy later showed she died from “manual strangulation” and would have survived the blow that had rendered her unconscious. 

Ms. Shelly’s lifeless body was discovered by her husband later that day as he had become worried that he could not reach her. At first police ruled her death a suicide but a footprint from an Alan Iverson Reebok sneaker tied Mr. Pillco to the crime scene and he later confessed. He of course has since pleaded not guilty and awaits trial. 

This horrible tragedy played out because once again we do not enforce our own immigration laws. Now, a talented actress, loving mother and wife’s murder can directly be related to the fact that this Pillco character was here illegally. It was his fear of deportation that led him to murder this lovely person who had never harmed a soul in her life.  

Spare me the bleating and rationalizing about illegal immigrants contributing to our society. This character came here illegally, a businessman, Louis Hernandez, hired him knowing he was illegal and many residents of the apartment building knew of his illegal status. Nobody though reported this to authorities. If one person would have stepped up, Adrienne Shelly would be with us today and her young daughter, Sofie, would be with her mother. All are culpable in this tragedy but that of course does not lessen Pillco’s guilt.  

Sadly, Adrienne Shelly will never know that the movie that she had just completed three days prior to her murder would be accepted at the Sundance Film Festival, receive many accolades and then get picked up for national distribution by Fox Searchlight. Or maybe it was because of her death that recognition will come her way. Sadly, it seems that the plaudits she deserved will only come her way now that she has suffered this horrible tragedy. Such is Hollywood, I guess. 

The entertainment industry can be callous to say the least. The hit series “Law and Order” already aired an episode based on Ms. Shelly’s murder. What makes this most distasteful is that Adrienne Shelly appeared in an episode of Law and Order back in 2000 making her the first actor to have appeared in a series and then be the real-life subject of a murder aired later on that same show.  

Shelly’s husband, Andy Ostroy, has started the Adrienne Shelly Foundation which will award grants to encourage women in film. It has already raised a substantial sum. People close to Ostroy have stated that they don’t know if he will ever get over her murder. In an April interview, Ostroy confided that he still cannot sleep following his wife’s death. The Foundation hopefully will ease some of the pain and Shelly’s legacy will be established for years to come. 

It is bitterly ironic that a subject that I have written on, stemming illegal immigration, would get so intertwined with the death of a little-known movie actor that I had come to admire. I will go see Ms. Shelly’s final film, “Waitress” this week when it opens here in Detroit. I may even shed a tear at the realization that Ms. Shelly will never appear in film again. Or maybe it’s because her daughter makes a cameo in the film and utters the words “bye mommy” on screen. Or maybe it’s because I just cannot fathom why we as a society have gotten to the point where we ignore our own laws to the point where our citizens have lost some of their basic rights, such as a right to live, while we coddle those who have no claim or business being here. 

So, if you are in a Detroit theater this weekend and see some guy with tears in his eyes at a chick flick, well, that’s me. Normally I wouldn’t tolerate such behavior from any guy, but I hope I can be forgiven and won’t have my man card revoked.  

Adrienne Shelly, RIP.  


Hey Kiddies, It’s Jihad Mickey

Posted May 11, 2007 by Dave Ruthenberg
Categories: Hamas, Islam, Israel, Jihad, Palestine, Politics, Terrorism, War on Terror

You have to to hand it to the Palestinians. They certainly understand the impact of early indoctrination and don’t hesitate to use it, no matter how repugnant.

From the same folks who routinely run a music video that features a real-life mother preparing to blow herself up in a suicide-bombing, while explaining to her daughter, who will never get to know her mommy, why she did this “heroic” deed, we now have a Mickey Mouse knockoff proclaiming to Palestinian school children that  “we are laying the foundation for the world to be led by Islamists” during a popular children’s TV show on Hamas TV.  Okay, hardly a catchy jingle, but the message is what is important here.

Hamas sponsored Al Aksa TV pulled the show but only when it came to light outside of the Middle East. If not for the negative publicity, one can rest assured that the program would have continued unabated. Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti called it a “mistaken approach” and stated that the TV network was placed “under review.” Yeah.

Jihad MickeyThe show featured a near Mickey Mouse lookalike (apparently Palestinians aren’t too concerned either about copyright infringement, which is a minor issue when you consider the greater goal of indoctrinating Palestinian youth into their army of homicide bombers) in a near Mickey Mouse voice, encouraging young viewers to call in and sing Hamas songs about defeating Israel and its Western allies.  The almost-Mickey would then heap praise upon the little callers for their enlightenment. What a country.

All of this should come as no surprise however from a region where official textbooks teach children that Jews are directly descended from pigs. Hatred seems to form the basis for life in Palestine and in other Middle East countries dedicated to the elimination of Israel and the United States. It is ingrained from the time children are able to crawl and reinforced through the glorification of suicide-bombers.  

It will take several lifetimes, if ever, to overcome the hateful thought being forcefed upon innocent children who grow up filled with ignorant hatred.

It is important that leaders of the free world understand the insidious nature of what we are up against in fighting such vile hatred.  

Why Do You Think They Call It “Illegal?”

Posted May 9, 2007 by Dave Ruthenberg
Categories: Immigration, Politics, Sociology

Maybe I just don’t get it. Or maybe I need to stop applying logic when trying to figure out the arguments of those arguing, no make that demanding, that illegal immigrants have rights and protections under U.S. laws. You see, to my way of thinking, if you made it to this country illegally then you broke the law and should not be here. Right? Simple. Slam dunk. End of argument. Goodnight!  Well, not quite apparently. 

Last week we were treated to the spectacle of rallies across the nation (although the rallies were significantly smaller than last year) from right here in Detroit to the apparent illegal immigration hotbed of Los Angeles. The marches featured the usual supply of left-wingers looking for a cause, any cause, so they could feel important. Which raised another thought, namely, are any of these professional protestors actually employed or am I supporting them with my tax money? Oh well, that is an issue for another day. 

The rally in Los Angeles received significant media attention when police were forced to use riot control methods to disperse the crowd which had initiated the confrontation by hurling rocks and bottles at the police. One organizer of that rally blamed it on “anarchists” who had infiltrated the rally. Should it not give pause to the rally’s organizers that their “cause” is attracting anarchists? Should this not be a signal that maybe it’s time to reevaluate your position? It seems to me that a lawless brigade of anarchists may not be the best vehicle for convincing Americans that illegal immigrants are simple, law-abiding, honest folks.  

I was also completely dumbstruck over the arguments being made by the protestors. The main point that these protestors seemed to be trying to drive home is that we should immediately grant citizenship to the thousands (millions?) of illegals because, well, they have families to support here (and elsewhere) and perform such a valuable service to our society. Really? 

They trotted out the tired argument that these illegal immigrants perform work that Americans choose not to perform. Of course there have never really been any verifiable studies to support such an assertion. I suspect that if the illegals were properly deported today that those jobs would indeed be taken up by the legal denizens of our nation. 

Our country is a nation of laws. We are expected to follow the laws or face the consequences. Granting citizenship to our illegal guests would only serve to further undermine the very fabric of what makes our nation so great. Yes, our nation was built on immigrants, no make that, legal immigrants. 

We have a defined methodology for becoming a United States citizen. I have seen the naturalization process at work and it really is a touching experience to watch the dedication that honest, hardworking immigrants put into becoming a citizen of our nation. The study and the dedication and the pure joy of taking the Oath of Citizenship is quite possibly one of the most emotionally satisfying moments someone can experience. Those who follow the legal methods of entry and citizenship should, and are, warmly embraced by our nation. 

In these post 9/11 days, it is mind-boggling to imagine people actually supporting illegal immigration and postulating that illegals have rights and protections under our law. The recent arrests of six Muslim extremists (boy does that sound redundant) who were planning attacks on our troops at Fort Dix should only bring this home further. It is believed that several of them were here illegally. 

Illegal immigration is one of the most pressing issues for society today. Not all illegal immigrants enter this country with the overt intention of inflicting harm on us, but illegal immigration does have a deleterious effect on our country no matter how it is parsed. From undermining our laws to the most overt threats, illegal immigration is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

We have the laws in place. The question becomes, do we have the courage to enforce our own laws?

Iraq Just Another Political Game To Dems

Posted May 1, 2007 by Dave Ruthenberg
Categories: Iraq, Politics, War on Terror

You have to admire the Democrats in Washington for their consistency if nothing else.  It’s all about power and elections for America’s party of the left and nothing more. In their world, whatever tactic is necessary will be pursued if it means reclaiming power and their media cohorts will be there to help them, marching in lockstep.

Today you will hear a lot of bleating from the party of the left about Iraq timetables, funding and “standing with the American people,” to quote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The reality is that the Democrats have cleverly timed the arrival of a supposed Iraq funding bill to arrive on President Bush’s desk exactly four years to the date after President Bush appeared on deck of a US Naval carrier in celebrated acknowledgment of the downfall of Saddam Hussein. Think the timing is coincidental? Hardly. Commercials are already running by Democratic party front groups making the connection between this misguided bill and the anniversary of the President’s appearance.

The bill itself of course is frought with danger. The bill attempts to hamstring our efforts in Iraq by placing a date on troop withdrawals and threatening to remove funding for our troops should these timetables not be met. Even during the height of the Vietnam War (the Democrats’ favorite bogeyman), Congress never removed funding while our troops were still in combat.

While we all can acknowledge a desire to see an end to the conflict in Iraq, setting a timetable would be catastrophic. The enemies of democracy, and those seeking revenge, would simply pull back and lay in wait, knowing the exact date when they could attack without fear of reprisal. What greater disservice could we provide the new government of Iraq than to abandon them to the mercy of the enemies of democracy? Well, give the enemies the exact date and time at which they can attack.

The war has not gone as well as anybody would have liked, but this is real life and a real war. This is not war waged on a Sony Playstation or on a computer. Real war means things do not go according to plan.

We need to maintain our resolve and not cut and run when things turn ugly. It means standing tall in the face of adversity, something the Democratic leaders in Washington seem to have forgotten, or more likely, never learned.

In recent weeks we have seen the spectacle of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi donning traditional Muslim head garb while telling the leader of Syria that Israel was willing to open diplomatic relations. This caused Israel to immediately refute Pelosi’s statement. Following hard on her heels, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared to America that the “war is lost.”

It seems that the Washington Democrats are more interested in undercutting the morale of our troops while cozying up to the enemies of democracy, all in an effort to appear to be appealing to the American public. Don’t be fooled.

In pushing the latest Iraq spending bill, which thankfully President Bush will veto, the Democrats have shown their true colors by stuffing it with over $20 billion in pork. They howl that their patriotism should not be questioned yet stand hand-in-hand with the enemies of freedom while pushing a dishonest bill. How else should they be judged?

Sometimes the mirror is the harshest critic. Right now the Democrats are avoiding the looking glass like a leftist avoids Fox News. But you can’t hide from the facts and the fact is that while the Democrats froth over potential political gains, our troops are being used as pawns for their own gain.

Just another game of politics.

Surviving Al Gore-aphobia

Posted April 24, 2007 by Dave Ruthenberg
Categories: Environment, Global Warming

Try as we may, we just can’t rid ourselves of Al Gore and if there was ever anybody who deserves to be left on history’s trash pile, it’s the esteemed former vice president. But the man who forced the phrase “hanging chad” into the American lexicon, and hence made a debacle of the 2000 US Presidential race, continues to be foisted upon us by a fawning cadre of left wing activists. 

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are no doubt aware that Gore is now being hailed as a near modern-day “prophet” as his qausi-documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” continues to gain notoriety despite its penchant for, well, treating the truth rather inconveniently.

Gore’s latest effort, which consists of trying to scare the daylights out of unsuspecting and gullible citizens into believing that we are in the midst of a cataclysmic global warming emergency, stands as a monument to an empty shell of a man desperate to be taken seriously. After all, Gore has had problems with the truth for many years. Facts, like the truth, Gore should have learned by now, can be not only inconvenient, but downright stubborn.

This is the same man, after all, who:

  • Declared during the 2000 presidential race that the soppy, but classic, novel “Love Story” was based on him and his wife Tipper. Author Eric Segal quickly refuted that ridiculous assertion.
  • Stated that legislation he supported while a US Senator in 1989 led to the development of the Internet. The Internet actually came into being back in 1969.
  • Claimed that as President his cabinet would reflect his Senate staff, which he stated consisted of 50% females, but when challenged could not initially name a single female member of his staff and then when he finally remembered, got her name wrong.

So should we be surprised therefore when his latest effort is basically loaded with lies and half-truths?

Gore claims in “An Inconvenient Truth” that a “sampling” of 928 scholarly scientific articles revealed 100% agreement on man made global warming. Hmmm…sure, anybody can cherry pick articles that support a position and then declare unanimous agreement. But tell that to Dr. Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at MIT and the lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Lindzen, a real expert on climate change, recently noted that “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exagerations of highly uncertain computer projections combine into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.” 

Dr. Lindzen’s point is well taken and points out the danger of making decisions based on junk science.

The world has experienced climate changes long before the industrialization and evil machinations of the United States. Did you ever hear of the Medieval Warm Period? Probably not but from 800-1300 AD the world experienced mild warming too but it is not likely that Leif Ericson was forced to give up his SUV. Also the world has experienced cooling periods, some considering the period of 1945-1975 such a recent time.  Of course you won’t find this mentioned in Gore’s deceptive little film. What you will find are scare tactics and downright lies.

The “highlight” of “An Inconvenient Truth” comes when two polar bears are seen drifting away on an ice float supposedly broken away from the polar ice caps that are melting. This is a complete fabrication. First, it is a computer generated graphic but even more damming, it is actually doctored from a 2004 photo when the bears climbed upon the supposed ice float which was actually created by the ocean’s waves. The bears safely explored it, climbed off and managed to swim back to their home. Go figure. But that little bit of trickery and deception has been enough to panic schoolchildren everywhere who are now being indoctrinated into the global warming temple of doom.

Schools are using Gore’s film to “teach” about global warming. Children are coming home crying because they think the polar bears are dying because mommy and daddy don’t care about what they are doing to the environment. Schools are sending kids home with “global warming worksheets” containing lectures on how they can be responsible global citizens.

Some point to the fact that Gore’s little effort won the Academy Award for Best Documentary as validation of its legitimacy. Sure, an award conferred upon it by Hollywood, the land of make believe and plastic surgery is a sign of validation.  Actually, that is quite appropriate after all.

Fortunately, some schools and parents are fighting back. The National Science Teachers Association recently rejected 50,000 free copies of “An Inconvenient Truth” because it recognizes it for what it is, primarily a propaganda piece for the radical environmental crowd. One student even recently took matters into his own hands when his school was presenting the film, bringing a universal remote control to school to disrupt the show.  There is hope.

But in the meantime we have to put up with the endless drone of the environmental activists telling us how evil we are and that we in the United States are nearly the sole cause of supposed global warming. Just ask singer Sheryl Crow.

Crow is currently doing the college tour, performing and lecturing about global warming. She has not addressed the fact however that her tour consists of three diesel fuel churning tractor trailers, four buses and six cars in her cross-country caravan, all, according to the global warming mainfesto, key contributors to global warming.

Hypocrisy is apparently a primary tenet of environmental activism. Well suited to the likes of Al Gore. 

Honoring A Hero, Despite the Chicken Little Crowd

Posted April 11, 2007 by Dave Ruthenberg
Categories: Afghanistan, Guns, War on Terror

Danny P. Dietz of Littleton, Colorado grew up to be the kind of young man any American parent would be proud to call a son.

 Dietz, after graduating high school, decided to serve his country and joined the United States Navy. Dietz and the Navy proved to be a solid combination as the young Colorado native trained hard and became a Navy SEAL. It meant of course that Dietz would likely find himself in harm’s way as the SEALS are the Navy’s Special Operations Forces, highly skilled and trained in counter-terrorism and other more unconventional means of warfare. Only the best of the best make it through SEALS training. Statue of Navy SEAL Danny Dietz

Dispatched to Afghanistan, Dietz found himself in the middle of an ambush in June, 2005 and performed heroically in combat. Right up to his death.  

Tipped off by anti-coalition Taliban sympathizers of their location, Dietz and another member of the SEALS, Matthew Axelson of Cuppertino, California, were flanked on all sides by Taliban fighters.  

The SEALS’ mission had been to locate a central figure in the Taliban leadership in the mountains of Asadabad. Instead the fighters had found Dietz and Axelson and were pummeling the two Americans who called for assistance. The Chinook helicopter dispatched to aid the courageous SEALS never made it as it was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. In all, eight SEALS and another eight Army Nighthawks lost their lives in what would be the worst single combat loss for the Navy SEALS since Vietnam. Accounts from the battle indicated that Dietz fought until his last dying breath. 

Dietz was awarded the Navy Cross, this country’s second-highest military honor. His SEALS teammate, Matthew Axelson also was so honored. Dietz’s widow and parents received the posthumous award on his behalf in a ceremony on September 13 at the US Navy War Memorial in Washington, DC.   

Dietz’s hometown was also justly proud and wanted to honor this brave young man, commissioning a statue of Dietz that would reside in a municipal park. The statue, of a crouching Dietz in battle gear with his rifle at the ready, was commissioned and the city pushed forward in its efforts to honor its fallen hero. 

If the town of Littleton, Colorado sounds familiar, that’s because 8 years earlier, in 1999, the Colorado enclave made worldwide news thanks to the wanton, senseless slaughter at Columbine High School when two misfits murdered twelve of their fellow classmates before literally turning their guns on themselves. Here though was a chance for the community to rally around a hero with a gun, instead of being remembered for a couple of thugs. 

The statue of Dietz will be near Littleton Middle School, in Berry Park, which happens to also be near a couple of other schools (really, in a city the size of Littleton, what isn’t near a park or a school?) which seems to bother some misguided souls who seem to believe that a statue of an American hero is a bad message for the children.  

“After our experience with Columbine and the clear message that we teach within the Littleton schools…what were we thinking?” stated Emily Cassidy Fuchs to the Rocky Mountain News. Which makes one wonder what is being taught in the Littleton schools. Fuchs was part of a coalition of parents who were distributing flyers objecting to both the design and placement of the statue. “If I’ve got my 4-year old at the playground, I feel it would be a threatening image that would frighten her,” Fuchs amazingly added, apparently unable to explain to her child that the man in the statue with the M4A1 assault rifle and grenade launcher was there to protect her. 

But Dietz’s widow, Patsy, had a ready answer in her response according to the same newspaper account when she said comparing the guns used in Columbine to her husband’s weapon was like comparing a criminal’s use of a knife to a surgeon’s scalpel. “One is used to take lives…and the other is used to save them,” she told the Rocky Mountain News. Dietz’s mother, Cindy, also, thankfully was able to bring this silliness into perspective when she told the paper that the statue “is about a hero. It’s not about war, and it’s definitely not about a gun.”  

Thankfully Littleton has already made the decision to proceed with the statue as planned.   

Despite the small but rabid chicken little crowd, a hero gets his just due.

Intolerance and Petulance on Campus

Posted April 7, 2007 by Dave Ruthenberg
Categories: Free Speech, Immigration, Sociology

One of the great misnomers is the idea that free speech is embraced and welcomed at some of our nation’s largest and most prestigious universities. From “speech codes” to out and out attempts to silence the views of those not considered enlightened by today’s intelligentsia, campuses have become a hovel for petulent, impertinent adolscents who desperately need guidance from grown-ups. Unfortuantely, those masquerading around on campus these days as the grown-ups only instill such behavior.

Our campuses after all are now run by the same people who were the radicals from the 1960s but the difference from them and most of the people who grew up in that tumultuous era is that they never really got out into the real world. These people stayed in their cloistered little world of academia, apparently oblivious to the real world surrounding them. They see every little temper tantrum from today’s students as a throwback to their era. 

This has never been more evident than in the brouhaha that transpired at Columbia University this past October when an unruly mob stormed a stage and successfully shut down a speech by Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist who was invited by Columbia’s chapter of the College Republicans, an officially recognzied campus organization. Gilchrist was there to speak on the hot-button topic of illegal immigration and his views did not set well with the various and sundry group of radical student groups who apparently feel that it is more important to shut down the opposition than to engage in meaningful discourse. Or maybe they are simply incapable of such discourse. But should not we expect more of students at an Ivy League school like Columbia?

Just 45 seconds into his presentation, Gilchrist was confronted onstage by several members of this angry mob which proceeded to destroy the lectern, trash the stage and hoist a banner reading “Minutemen, Nazis, KKK, Racists, Facists Go Away.” Several people rush the stage, fistfights ensue and according to one report a female student is kicked in the head.  Security appears, the curtain goes down and the melee appears to be over, but not quite.

Outside, a student who had the audacity to be a supporter of the Minutemen, is encricled by the mob, shouting “racist go home,” before security again arrives on the scene to break things up. The mob though is clearly pleased with itself, chanting, according to another report, ” Asian, Black, Brown and White, we smashed the Minutemen tonight!” Intolerant diversity in action. Such a moment of pride.

Nearly six months after this incident, Columbia finally decided to issue so-called “punishment” to the ringleaders. Befitting a University that has seen its prestige level crash and burn under the leadership of Lee Bollinger, the school issued the lightest punishment possible, almost the equivalent of the now infamous “double secret probation” punishment issued by Dean Wormer at Faber College.

The once credible school initially gave only “warnings to three students” which is the lowest level of discipline as such a “warning” only means that it will be noted on students’ transcripts and that any “future violations will be treated more seriously.” Only after this information became public, these students’ punishment was “upgraded” to censure which means that if the student gets a second warning, they will be suspended.

One of the organizers of the chaos that ensued that October night recognized it for what it was “a light punishment.” Monique Dols called it a “slap on the wrist. It’s a victory for free speech and anti-racism.” Another student, Andrew Tillett-Saks, was determined to have engaged in “conduct that places another in danger of bodily harm.” Some places would consider that to be assault. But on the glorious ivy league campus of Columbia, it’s all perspective. After all, that other person was just a racist, anti-immigrant neanderthal. No need to get worked up over those types!

Anybody who was ever young knows how convinced they were at that age that they were right and nothing could convince one otherwise. These young people on campus are being ill-served by the very people who are supposed to be the ones shaping our future leaders. Without guidance, direction and backbone, our campuses have become home to the kind of behavior most would consider intolerable at a day care center.