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Opinion: The most dangerous game

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Most organizations play it rather close to the chest as to whether or nor their end goal is to commit crimes against humanity, but thankfully there are groups like the Young Conservatives of Texas who just put it all out there.

The saga of the Young Conservatives of Texas is brief, yet so epic that it deserves oh so much repetition. On Monday, the YCT chapter at the University of Texas in Austin announced that it would play a game on Wednesday, Nov. 20. As part of the game, members of YCT would walk around campus wearing signs that read “Illegal Immigrant.” According to the Facebook event, “Any UT student who catches one of these ‘illegal immigrants’ and brings them back to our table will receive a $25 gift card.”

The point of this game was allegedly to “spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration, and how it affects our everyday lives.” The “discussion” having been sparked, the game resembles more of a training exercise rather than a playful conversation piece. It stands to reason that this is how members of the YCT expect their fellow students to behave in their “everyday lives.”

According to the rules of the YCT game, Texas students are expected to hunt for illegal immigrants in exchange for monetary rewards, bounty hunting for a fistful of gift cards. Of course, real illegal immigrants tend not to wear labels that say “illegal immigrant” – they’re suspiciously crafty like that. Instead, one can only suppose that outside of the game, the Young Conservatives of Texas must catch and detain these random individuals based on other factors like skin color, language or economic class. In real life, of course, these “suspected” illegal immigrants “going about” their “daily lives” might resist, even violently, against abduction by someone who plans to sell them for a $25 gift card. Luckily, YCT members are protected in such a situation by Texas’ “Stand Your Ground” law.

On Tuesday, the YCT chose to cancel the game and chapter chairman Lorenzo Garcia released a statement about why. Early in the statement, Garcia makes it clear that the principle reason he and the YCT chose to shut down the game was not because it invited students to play at vigilantism, or more accurately, lynching, but because they feared their university might “retaliate against them” or because protests of the event might “create a safety issue for our volunteers.”

It cannot be emphasized enough that Garcia is referencing the safety of the volunteers who are pretending to be illegal immigrants rather than the real people who are really illegal immigrants.

Garcia goes on to admit that “issuing $25 gift cards during the event was misguided,” which bewilderingly implies that there was any part of this plan that wasn’t misguided. He goes on to lament that student groups like his should be “silenced when they attempt to make their voices heard about an issue that is so important to our futures.” Garcia might want to keep in mind that it isn’t so much the voices that people have a problem with, so much as the simulated kidnapping.

Garcia is right to point out that these issues are “so important to our futures.” Perhaps when looking at Garcia, we are seeing the future. The future of radical American conservatism – blatant disregard for rule of law, human rights, human dignity and basic humanity, all wrapped up as a fun game you can play with your friends. Still, it would be silly to claim that all American conservative groups share the end goal of casually hunting human beings and selling them for cash.

But it was a lot sillier before any of us had heard of the Young Conservatives of Texas.

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