Commander Carliss R. Such, USNR (Ret.), writes an open letter to President Trump concerning the death of an 8-year-old in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol on Christmas Day (Dec. 28).
To untangle the whole net of incomprehension woven by Commander Such seems like a job for Thomas Aquinas or Peter Canisius. I’ll address only a few salient points.
Commander Such appears to labor under the misapprehension that the Holy Family, fleeing into Egypt, were refugees. They weren’t. A refugee flees from one country into another. When the Holy Family fled into Egypt, all the lands around the Mediterranean were one big country. Perhaps Commander Such has heard of it. We call it the Roman Empire. Bible readers will understand this concept from the Acts of the Apostles, in which St. Paul travels all over the Mediterranean and never encounters a single border agent.
Most of the people illegally crossing our southern border aren’t refugees, either. Members of the current caravans have admitted as much: they’re mostly economic migrants. There may be a sprinkling of actual refugees among them, but there is also more than a sprinkling of gang members and human traffickers.
One current caravan was offered asylum and employment in Mexico. But several U.S. states offer superior welfare benefits, so the caravan pressed on.
There is absolutely no evidence that the 8-year-old who died on Christmas Day received substandard medical care. He was referred to hospital and given antibiotic and anti-febrile medication. Tests indicate that he may have died of the flu.
During the last flu season, up to 4,000 Americans per week, mostly outside federal custody, died of the flu. A lot of these were young children. Was the Mean Orange Man responsible for these deaths, too? Don’t you think that maybe the victim’s immune system may have been compromised by exhaustion on the long trek north? Is it really wise to encourage yet more treks?
Finally, I’m a little curious about the open letter format employed by Commander Such. Did he send a copy of the letter to the White House? If he didn’t, his letter to the paper constitutes nothing but virtue signaling. Even if he did, it’s 50 percent virtue signaling.
I’ll grant Commander Such the attention he appears to crave for the virtue of compassion – but here once again a caveat arises. If Commander Such is not opening his own house to immigrants claiming asylum, his compassion is as flimsy as Jim Comey’s excuse for not recommending charges against Mrs. Clinton.
After all, the Scriptural admonition is to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, invite the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit the prisoner (Matt. 25: 34-36) – not to assign the state to do these things for you. And compassion is not the only virtue. Prudence is an important virtue, too.
Please give that one a try, Commander.