Solamente en ingles

9 May

First and foremost, please forgive my inappropriately accented Spanish.  I have no idea how to make an accent mark in WordPress but, for those of you who care to know, there should be an accent over the “e” in “ingles.”  And now, on to the real purpose of this post.

Last night before bed I was perusing the New York Times on my phone when I came across this article about the mysterious death of a groom at Churchill Downs.  In the interest of full disclosure, I would just like to say that when I initially read the title and, in fact, the reason that I continued on to read the article at all was because I thought it referred to a bridegroom, not someone hired to care for horses.  Like most people, I am always interested in something tragic.  Not to say that the death of this man isn’t a tragedy, but there is something especially upsetting about the death of someone right before or right after marriage, or some other important life event.  It’s like, you have made a decision to do something big and important with the future in mind, and then bam.  Dead.  Anyway, as I was reading the article (I had committed to it, after all) I came across the following few paragraphs:

Officials said Mr. Pérez, a Guatemalan immigrant, was living in the stables at Churchill Downs at the time of his death. His son, Wilson Pérez, 19, identified his body. He had been licensed by the racing commission as a groom in 2008, Mr. Brown said.

Police officers worked to establish the facts of the case on Monday, hobbled in part by the fact that Mr. Pérez’s son does not speak English.

“It is sort of a barrier that you can’t get the information firsthand,” said Lt. Barry Wilkerson of the Louisville Metro Police Department, who spoke at a news conference on Monday.

Okay, people, we are talking about Spanish, here, right?  Not like, Malayalam or Welsh.  According to the US Census, as of 2010 16.3% of the overall population, and 3.1% of the population of Kentucky, identified themselves as being of “Hispanic or Latino origin.”  I know that not everyone who identifies as being of Hispanic or Latino origin speaks Spanish, but I also know there are plenty of people of other backgrounds that do speak Spanish.  Also, weren’t there all kinds of people there for the Kentucky Derby?  Maybe one of them speaks Spanish.   I don’t know, maybe having lived in New York for all these years has blinded me to the fact that there are some more linguistically homogenous areas of the country, but I can’t imagine how trying to get information out of a Spanish speaker would be especially “hobbling” to a murder investigation.  We’ve got plenty of Spanish-speaking police officers up here in NYC, maybe one of them would be willing to help.  It’d be a nice vacation from the rain.

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