Friday, October 15, 2004

No, actually, they wouldn't have noticed.

On Thursday night, there was a story on KSN about a farm in far southwestern Kansas being searched by various law enforcement agencies. The rumor is that the farm's owner killed several migrant workers and buried them on the land. In the TV version of that story, a woman of the town said that surely, someone would have noticed such a thing.

No, no they wouldn't. Migrant workers in our society are invisible unpeople. They don't have a set residence, many don't speak English, many aren't in this country legally. Migrants don't work at the same place every day. Their children frequently don't attend school. They live in a community of other migrants. That is to say, they don't exist as far as larger societies go. No safety net for the unpeople.

Now, say you are a serial killer. You want to kill for fun, and you want to do it for as long as you can. You're going to pick your victims- you want people who won't be missed. Migrant workers fit the bill. If anyone notices, it's going to be other migrants, who aren't going to go to the cops. That might get the workers themselves arrested, after all. A migrant doesn't have neighbors to look in on her. The person who hires a migrant is the boss, so no worries about the victim not showing up for work. No one cares about an unperson.

I really hope this rumor is just that, a rumor. But the woman in Elkhart really, really got to me.


At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly true. The only way Migrants get noticed is if they happen to be on state support. meaning they have to be legals... Though his family would likely have noticed. The people living there. Being from farming people, you get used to seeing the same faces helping out with the crops. When one disappears, or even several, it stands out. The migrants my family deals with tend to go to the same farms every year, in something of a cycle, as the different crops they plant change, so Grandpa would see the same families come bean time each year, more or less.


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