Kansas lawmaker’s immigration comments draw gasps

Kansas Republican lawmaker Virgil Peck suggested it might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled -- with hunters shooting from helicopters.

Kansas State Rep. Virgil Peck said he was just joking Monday.

The Tyro Republican suggested it might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled — with hunters shooting from helicopters.

“Looks like to me, if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem,” said Peck.  Click here to listen to Rep. Peck’s comments.

Bad joke Virgil.  Racist joke Virgil.

I wonder if Mrs. Peck approves? Or your family and friends?   My guess is that most people aren’t laughing.

A century ago, some folks thought it was funny when they suggested lynching blacks in America. It wasn’t funny then. It’s not funny now.

Rep. Peck’s comments came during a discussion by the Kansas House Appropriations Committee on state spending for controlling the state’s feral swine population. According to the Kansas City Star, several people in the hearing room gasped after Peck’s remarks. Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades later said: “I know that the preface to your question was an attempt at humor, but I would ask that in the future you refrain from comments that could be deemed inappropriate.”

Afterwards, Peck told the Lawrence Journal World he was just joking, but that his comment did reflect frustration with the problem of illegal immigration.  Added Peck: “I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person.”

I’m guessing there are quite a few folks from southeast Kansas who would disagree with that comment too.

Peck said he didn’t expect further controversy over his comment. “I think it’s over,” he said.

As of Monday evening, Rep. Peck’s comments were circulating nationally. They’ve drawn criticism from groups like the Somos Republicans in Arizona.  Somos Republicans call themselves the largest Hispanic Republican grassroots organization in the nation and are “pro immigration reform. In a press release this evening group commented:

“There are people advocating to shoot the heads off of “illegal Mexicans”, and Peck’s behavior is extremely violent and inappropriate ..We are sick and tired of the bigotry from state legislators who would rather advocate for violence and shooting people than to focus on reasonable solutions. “

Closer to home Topeka Capital-Journal blogger Tim Carpenter gave his two-cents worth;

“If honestly framed as a joke, this legislator is not ready for a stand-up comedy gig. Certainly, his subsequent explanation stands as the type of sweeping analysis that fails to reflect nuanced reality of public opinion.”

I don’t think this is the last you’ve heard about your immigration comments Virgil.  After all, it’s one thing to say something like this in private.  It’s another thing to say it when you’re an elected official.

My bet-  That you’ll realize the political damage this might cause your career and make an apology sometime soon.  But, will you really mean it?


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