The disastrous situation unfolding at the Mexican-American border has captured a great deal of public attention lately, particularly given that so many of those fleeing into America are children. Naturally, the story has inflamed passions on all sides of the immigration debate. And, naturally, idiotic mistakes have been made in the course of this discussion.
One of those errors came from Adam Kwasman, an Arizona State Representative (R-Oro Valley) who is running for Congress in Arizona’s 1st District. Kwasman was joining a group of tea party protesters at the border when they saw a bus filled with children. Kwasman and others assumed the bus was filled with illegal immigrants.
As noted by King5 news:
The children on the bus were not migrants, and there was no fear on their faces. The children from the Marana school district heading to the YMCA’s Triangle Y Camp, not far from the Rite of Passage shelter for the migrants, at the base of Mt. Lemmon.
Kwasman also had said this to a reporter:
I was able to actually see some of the children on the buses, and the fear on their faces. This is not compassion.
Upon learning the truth, Kwansman deleted the tweet two hours later and sent out this tweet instead:
This is a great warning story for anyone who tweets in the heat of the moment: you absolutely have to fact check anything that you say before you say it. Indeed, one of the biggest problems with using Twitter just this – if you fail to take a breath, think about what you are saying and confirm it’s veracity, you can get yourself into trouble.
I would argue that Twitter itself isn’t responsible for an error like this. That responsibility, I believe, falls directly on the shoulders of Representative Kwasman. This is already a heated, inflamed issue, and all parties involved have an obligation to ensure that they are speaking the truth. Kwasman failed that here.