Three men walked into a wooded area last Saturday. Only two walked out. During the short time they were there, the third man was beaten to death. His body was discovered in the brush Sunday by a relative. He was 53.
The area, a half-mile from my home in Mount Kisco, is a known drinking spot to immigrant day laborers who have migrated to the village in recent years. Shanty huts, invisible to the road, were erected there as ramshackle residences at some point, but the police knocked them down.
A suspect was arrested Monday, a Guatemalan national named Freddy Coronado-Mendez. Mr. Coronado-Mendez, 32, has been deported from the U.S. twice, according to news reports, and he has a history of violent crimes that includes assault with a deadly weapon. The second suspect, Milton Ventura, 35, was arrested Wednesday. His immigration status wasn't immediately announced.
The killing occurred three days after a highly publicized slaying in San Francisco involving another immigrant illegally in the United States. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 45, shot and killed a young woman named Kate Steinle last week she was strolling along Pier 14 with her father. Lopez-Sanchez confessed to the shooting this week and claims it was an accident. He has been deported from the United States five times.
These incidents occur just as the political world is absorbing jarring remarks made in June by developer Donald Trump in which he called Mexican immigrants criminals, drug dealers, and rapists.
It was Trump at his worst or best, depending on how one feels about him, and it elicited the desired reaction: media attention. Most of it was negative, but Trump, who's used to manipulating the public spotlight to his advantage, was undeterred. Tragedy then lent itself to his narrative.
Trump doubled down on his controversial statement following the San Francisco shooting, and it's now earning him praise in many quarters.
Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor, and not a Trump supporter, grudgingly said of Trump this week, "it's good to have some unconventional voices in the race." Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan said Trump's message will "resonate to an awful lot of people."
It already has. Meanwhile, what's become of the other Republican candidates? What were their names, again?
Like I said, classic Trump.
At the same time, Trump is onto something real and the other Republican candidates are going to have to deal with it. Trump has struck a nerve as only he can.
He's given voice to a large number of Americans, including some in my hometown presumably, who are genuinely alarmed about illegal immigration and don't see Washington or statehouses doing anything about it, other than working to normalize illegality. It just about guarantees Trump a spot in the early Republican primary debates next month, when his shoot-from-the-hip style will assuredly overshadow at least half the stage.
Trump has as much chance of capturing the Republican presidential nomination at the end of the day as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has of winning the Democratic primary -- pretty much none. But already Trump is driving the national debate, however recklessly.
The other Republican candidates are going to have to figure out soon how to deal with him. There's only so much ink available in a political race, and right now, The Donald is doing the backstroke in it.