Sterling Citizen Responds to Sheriff Simpson
Today's Post has a feature story on the situation in Sterling that is pretty good ... for the Post. Which is a significant qualification.
But in truth Sandhya, the reporter, is one of the better ones on the issue of the illegal alien problem and if the media as a whole covered the issue in as balanced a manner as she does Americans would have a much better understanding of what is really happening.
In the story, a few residents were interviewed along with some activists from the pro-illegal side. I recommend everyone read it because it gives a partial picture of the local situation.
The article reflects a bit of naivete, repeating zoning department reports that overcrowding inspections often "found Bible study groups." Conversations with locals familiar with zoning violation reporting could have revealed how extraordinarily common such Bible study sessions are claimed to be taking place in houses full of migrant workers. The conversations would have been punctuated with guffaws.
Also, the identification of one gentleman as "a remodeling contractor" would have been slightly more accurate if he were labeled a "former remodeling contractor who was driven out of the business some years ago by corrupt competitors using illegal workers." I happen to know he next tried to build a livelihood as a landscaping contractor - with a similar final result.
But the point that jumped out at me was the sheriff's office report that "only one in 20 gang members in the county is in the country illegally, and most are U.S. citizens." The sheriff himself made this point at a Help Save Loudoun meeting earlier this year, contradicting a report at another meeting in which deputies in the Loudoun Gang Intelligence Unit told our audience that the gang population is largely composed of illegals, and the growth in gang activity parallels the influx of illegal aliens into the area.
The story also repeats Sheriff Steve Simpson's statement from a debate a few months ago in which he told a questioner asking what he would say to Sterling Park residents who felt their neighborhood was becoming less safe, that "the crime rate is going down." In several public events where Sterling residents asked what he intended to do about the increasing problems in the community, I heard the sheriff tell constituents, we are doing everything we can. In effect, he has promised that things are only going to get worse, despite the fact that citizens had laid out a number of initiatives he could pursue to make Loudoun County less hospitable to criminal aliens - and no one had ruled out demanding the Board of Supervisors allocate more funds to do so.
This is known as the "tin ear" approach to dealing with one's consituents, and explains in large part why the sheriff was demolished by his Republican convention opponent, Greg Ahlemann, in a major upset, by a margin of over 2-1.
Well, I have just received a copy of an open letter to Sheriff Simpson, in reaction to the Post article, sent by one of his Sterling constituents to the Board of Supervisors. The letter helps fill in some of the holes in the article:
Dear Sheriff Simpson,
I can't tell you how relieved I am to read in today's Washington Post front page article about Sterling that "only one in 20 gang members in the county is in the country illegally, and most are U.S. citizens."
So the next time my neighbors are assaulted while strolling on the sidewalk, shot at through the walls of their home while they sleep, dodging bullets in the parking lot of the Sterling Safeway, or reporting another theft from their garages, I'll remind them that statistically, their safety is being threatened by fellow citizens, not illegal aliens.
I'll comfort them by quoting your assurances that increasing crime in Sterling is merely "a widespread perception" unsupported by data, and that we're probably overreacting to "a few high-profile shootings and gang-related incidents."
Maybe that information might have stopped my neighbor from moving out of Sterling this summer if he knew that the gang members who bullied his daughter at the middle school last spring are here legally. Now that the Post has widely publicized this important distinction, maybe my neighbors can put their unsold houses back on the market and try for an expensive second time to sell and move away.
I, for one, will feel a deeper sense of pride when I spend yet another Saturday morning picking up hundreds of empty and shattered beer bottles from the corners of my neighborhood streets, knowing that most of this litter was probably created by good old U.S. citizens.
Thanks for your clearly heartfelt concern for the citizens of eastern Loudoun.
As a side note, we don't tend to see much of Sheriff Simpson, at public events, here in Sterling. My guess is this end of the county has been written off in his campaign strategy, such as it is.
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