Choking to Death on the Alphabet Soup.

So the other day I was at a truck stop diner eating breakfast, when I was totally not eavesdropping on the table next to mine, when I heard maybe the most incredulous story I'd heard in quite a long god damned time.

It seems that in Tuscaloosa, Alabama an officer-friendly pulled over one of the mighty road mavericks, a truck driver.

Manuel Castillo was pulled over, and felt he was conversing quite well (and friendly) with this police officer, when at the end of the conversation he was slapped with a $500 dollar ticket.

You'd assume this rogue driver was speeding, tossing bottles out the window, flipping babies off, riding in the middle lane, and...of course littering. You'd assume that, I'm sure. However, (http://www.theledger.com/article/20080718/NEWS/807180467) it appears he didn't speak English well enough.

Now, I'd be more shocked if something like this hadn't happened in Tuscaloosa, Alabama of all places, but...I mean, let's face it. It's Alabama. Up until four weeks ago, I think slavery was still completely legal. Even now, I think they don't mind turning a blind eye to a weekly lynching (three a week in the Summer when the Monsoon hit's and the electricity goes out...just to pass the time.) but what actually strikes me is when you read the article, and Senor Castillo says, "It just doesn't seem fair to be ticketed if I wasn't doing anything dangerous on the road..."

He wasn't ticketed for anything else. Nothing whatsoever, which begs the question...why was he pulled out in the first place? I realize Hispanics aren't necessarily as common as trailer parks and swamps in Alabama, but I'd really like to know what caused the initial stop. I'm pretty sure it wasn't random.

Alabama, listen to me...you're one step away from the United States trading you to the French. You got that? You're making the rest of us look bad.

But further more, I had no idea that was a fucking law. I mean...really? If you can't speak English well enough, you get ticketed 500 bones? Is this something only in the South? Because in the West, it's enough to let you become the Governator. Secondly, if this is the case, why isn't Louisiana the richest State in the Continental U.S? Have you ever tried to hold yourself a conversation with someone from the Bayou? It isn't happening without you wanting to wear a pair of Depends afterwards.

Alabama might be teaming with nothing but microbial action. Years of inbreeding, moonshine and white skin has left that portion of America eerily reminiscent of the scene in "Children of Men"when the community of refuges are hiding. It's dilapidated, desolate, and the air has a sweet, sweet scent of despair.

If the South assumes it will rise again, apparently they haven't realized that the rest of the country has a little something called the Internet, and electricity. Maybe the first step isn't spending tax dollars on haranguing Mexicans when a bunch of White Suburban Kids have just reinvented the wheel in the Meth game, and have added just a hint of Raspberry. You know, just to mask the aftertaste of Bleach and Anti-freeze.

This is America. These problems do need to be faced with straight-laced decency from the common folk, because these things aren't o-fucking-kay. It isn't alright to stop someone on the basis of their skin. It isn't alright to suspect someone because they might not speak the same language, and it especially isn't right to punish them for being different.

As a Nation of immigrants, I feel that those idealisms of our forefathers has been forgotten and overlooked. We're the Bastards of the world, the kids no other Country could tolerate. The losers, the nobodies, and the lepers. Yet, no we're the one country that's somehow thrived with that. And if you at all feel that this cop is deserving of vindication for slapping that Hispanic with a ticket because of his grasp of the English language, well...the only ones that have the right to make that call are the ones who were here first. The rest of us really should just fuck off.

It'd be different maybe, if Mr. Castillo wasn't a legal citizen. But this is a man who's went by things legally. He works here legally, he lives here legally, he's jumped through the hoops...theres not reason to reward that with a fine.

So I'd highly suggest anyone who reads this and is a little irate at what's happened, that they contact the Tuscaloosa P.D, and share your concerns. (Phone: (205) 349-2121) or write in at:

City Hall
2201 University Blvd
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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