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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Humanitarians Or Criminals?

Drudge links to a story about vandals that are emptying jugs of water that a humanitarian group had placed in the desert near the border. It seems that lots of Mexicans die of dehydration while trying to cross the border, so Humane Borders volunteers are trying to keep them alive. The "vandals" don't like what the volunteers are doing.

So are these volunteers humanitarians or criminals. On one hand, they are definitely saving people's lives. On the other hand, they are aiding and abetting a criminal activity. Why is this any different then handing out maps or distracting the border patrol?

13 Comments:

I think the difference is anlagous to the difference between providing medical care to a criminal who was injured in commission of a crime, and helping him commit it in the first place. Keeping people from dying is different than helping them commit the crime.
Not a good analogy- it would be like providing medical care so he can continue committing the crime.
What if I have the choice of providing care and letting him go afterward, or providing no care at all and letting him die (and assume the crime in question poses no serious threat to others - petty theft, jaywalking, whatever)? Doesn't saving lives push the usual imperative to follow the law to the side?
Yes, it should. But that's not the case here. They set up water jugs along the popular routes. The illegals know that the jugs will be there. They are basically aiding them in crossing the border.
A valid point. I guess to me it matters if they were crossing there beforehand anyhow, and also whether the groups doing this are otherwise involved in helping smuggle in illegals.
CWY - Part of your argument though is the presumption that the illegals wouldn't cross if the water wasn't there. Almost like a chicken/egg problem.

I think from their perspective, they see illegals dying along the way, and feel a moral imperative to help humans beings survive.
noyam - I wonder about that second part, whether the suppliers of the water are not part of a larger program to assist the illegal crossings, as opposed to just saving lives. It seems that the people who are putting in the effort to set up these water supplies are likely driven by sympathy with the illegals generally.
What if, instead of providing water, they dug tunnels for them? I don't think it matters if illegals are going to cross anyways.
Water aids in the crossing by preventing it from being stopped by the death of the migrant. Tunnels aid the crossing by preventing the migrant from being spotted by the border patrol.

Actually, the existence of the water could really be an aid to enforcement (if we were serious about it), because the Border Patrol could just keep an eye on the water jugs and arrest those who come to use them.
Yes and then you could pit gps tracking devices in the water jugs and the illegals would
swallow them and you could track them down...
Check out www.toughjews.blogspot.com
I mean, yes, you are helping them survive and therefore they will continue crossing the border. But a life is a life even if it is illegally in the U.S. If an illegal immigrant who was already here was starving, would you deprive him of food because if you gave him food you'd be aiding his living in this country illegally?
False dichotomy. One can be a humanitarian and a criminal at the same time. Your error is in assuming that the law is always moral. If they were providing jugs of water specifically for terrorists or hitmen crossing the border, they would be criminal and wrong. Providing water for people simply seeking a better life, albeit illegally, criminal and possibly right.

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