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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Weekend editorials: Humanity, and threats to same ...

Above: Paddy Reilly sings "All they will call you will be deportees."

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- Terms of debate: Humanity knows no boundaries - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

... People who live in the United States are now debating what words we should use to refer to human beings who are residing in this country in violation of one or another section of the voluminous laws that govern immigration, citizenship and travel across our borders.

The term generally favored by serious journalists — taking their cue, as always, from the Associated Press Stylebook — is "illegal immigrant." Respectable news organizations, though, generally will not boil it down so much as to refer to a person as an "illegal." And not only because we are bothered by the sloppiness of turning an adjective into a noun. ...

... Language evolves. Trends change. What was once common and polite becomes dated and embarrassing.

One thing should remain constant. Any illegal immigrant, undocumented worker, unauthorized alien, is, and will forever remain, a person. And, under the really important words of the U.S. Constitution, the protections of law and due process belong to all persons, not just citizens. In fact, the word "citizen" in the Constitution is basically confined to the bits about qualifications for public office. The word doesn’t make it past Article IV of the original document and cannot be found at all in the Bill of Rights.

That means that people who stand accused of violating our laws, including immigration laws, are never anything less than persons, who must be afforded the full rights that accompany not citizenship, but humanity.

- Should ‘illegal’ be out of bounds? - Vic Flemmin, The Nashville Ledger

- The challenging, diverse topic of immigration - Daily Nebraskan Editorial

Illegal immigration is a national problem. But the human side — the actual immigrant population — often remains ignored. ...

- Playing cop: Leave policing to the police - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

A permit to carry a concealed gun does not make you a cop. Utah’s "stand your ground" law is not a license to use deadly force in self-defense except in very narrow circumstances. People who carry firearms in Utah should remember those things.

We mention this in light of the sad case of Trayvon Martin, which has focused attention on "stand your ground" laws in Florida and elsewhere. He’s the 17-year-old Florida kid who was shot to death in February by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch member with a concealed carry permit. Zimmerman believed that Martin looked suspicious. He followed Martin, who was walking. A confrontation occurred, and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. ...

... To determine whether a use of force was lawful, a court will take its time to carefully weigh these circumstances. A person in an armed confrontation, by contrast, will have to make this decision in seconds or fractions of seconds.

Reasonable people will not deliberately place themselves in that situation. They will not act like George Zimmerman.

- Trayvon Martin's killing prompts parents to have 'The Talk' with their sons - Lynne Varner, The Seattle Times

... In some families that would refer to lessons about the birds and the bees. In African American families, it is an important conversation about racism. ...

- The death of Trayvon Martin - Virginian-Pilot Editorial

... Here's what's true and indisputable:

Stand Your Ground lowers the threshold for the use of deadly force. Its deadly stakes raise the threshold for those examining a claim of self defense. The fury over Trayvon Martin's death swirls because only one standard - the one that left him dead - seems to apply.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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