After September 11, the word blowback was frequently heard.  It is a CIA term describing operations that come back to haunt the agency (e.g., Afghanistan).  Unlimited immigration has its own form of blowback: people like Chai Vang, who, on the afternoon of November 21, 2004, shot eight deer hunters in the northwoods of the Indianhead region of Wisconsin just outside the town of Birchwood, killing six of them, including a female hunter.

Interestingly, one of the worst incidents of mass murder in Wisconsin history has its origins with the CIA itself.  During the Vietnam War, CIA agents recruited and organized Hmong tribesmen like Mr. Vang (although he himself immigrated to the United States in 1980 at a young age) to fight both the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which snaked through the mountainous highlands of Laos where the Hmong live.  They also fought the Pathet Lao, a communist rebel group.  In 1975, the Pathet Lao triumphed against the Royal Laotian government forces and turned against the Hmong with genocidal fury, reportedly dropping chemical bombs on Hmong villages.  The Hmong fled in terror to refugee camps in Thailand.  Having no desire to integrate the Hmong, who are despised by the lowland Southeast Asian ethnic groups, and also having no desire to become another Burma, with ethnic armies on her jungle borders dealing opium, the Thais decided (with some justification) that the Hmong were an American problem and demanded that the United States allow them in.

Many Lutheran and Catholic organizations in the Upper Midwest agreed with the Thais.  The plight of the Hmong became their cause in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, and they helped thousands of Hmong to emigrate to America.  These refugees soon began to sponsor family members who, in turn, sponsored other relatives.  Today, there are more Hmong in the United States than in Southeast Asia.  Although most Hmong live in California, many decided to immigrate to the Upper Midwest, refusing to let the harsher climate stop them from taking advantage of better welfare services and numerous job opportunities.  They also served as a diversifying factor for those multiculturalists who think that having the descendants of Germans and Scandinavians living side by side is not enough.

The Hmong did not have a written form of their language until a few decades ago.  They were no more suited to assimilate into modern American life, with all of its complexities, than any headhunter tribe in the jungles of Borneo would be.  Pat Buchanan was attacked back in 1992 when he honestly answered the question: Who would assimilate better into Virginia, a million Zulus or a million Britons?  Had someone bothered to ask this when the immigration of the Hmong was proposed, perhaps the struggles that many Hmong adults go through—the conflicts between the primitive tribal and honor-bound world of the past and the postmodern world of today—would not be as soul-wrenching or, in some cases, as deadly.

Mr. Vang, like many Hmong, lived on the east side of St. Paul, Minnesota, with his family of six.  Apparently, he had some run-ins with the Twin Cities police for domestic violence.  Domestic disputes in which Hmong men kill their family members are not uncommon.  And, as in many immigrant communities past and present, crime is also not uncommon among the Hmong.  As Samuel Francis pointed out in a recent syndicated column,

Ten years ago, immigration expert Roy Beck wrote a path-breaking article in the Atlantic Monthly about the Hmong immigrants in Wausau, Wisc.—a discussion he repeated in his later book, The Case Against Immigration.


[Beck said that] “The number of Southeast Asians burgeoned, and the city’s ability to welcome, nurture, accommodate and assimilate the larger numbers shrank.  Most immigrants were unable to enter the mainstream of the economy.  Residents resented the social costs of caring for many more newcomers than anybody had been led to believe would arrive. . . . Inter-ethnic violence and other tensions proliferated in the schools and in the parks and streets of a town that formerly had been virtually free of social tensions and violence.”

Prearranged marriages, adolescent prostitution, honor killings, and ritual slaughter of animals in the backyard are just some of the points of conflict between the world the Hmong once knew and the world they now inhabit.  Of course, not all Hmong are like Mr. Vang.  Among the young, assimilation is slowly taking place, causing conflict between generations in the Hmong community.  And most Upper Midwesterners were coming to terms with the Hmong presence in their communities before this incident.

In fact, hunting and fishing are shared values between whites and the Hmong.  The wooded landscape, with thousands of lakes and streams and forested hills, reminds the Hmong of home.  The Hmong, however, are not used to such concepts as private property, bag limits, and “No Trespassing” signs, because they could hunt and fish wherever they wanted to, and as much as they wanted to, back in the old country.  So clashes take place between white hunters who follow the rules and Hmong who do not understand them.  Such was the case with Mr. Vang and the unfortunate deer-hunting victims.

People cannot believe that a man could snap like that and kill so many.  Yet snap is exactly what he did.  Confronted when he was found in a tree stand on private property and asked to leave, Mr. Vang, according to Sawyer County sheriff’s reports taken from the surviving victims, climbed down from the stand, took the scope off of his ASK Chinese-made semiautomatic rifle, walked about 40 yards back, turned around, and opened fire.  One of the injured men radioed back to his buddies at a deer camp, asking them to come to his assistance.  When they did, Mr. Vang (who claimed that the hunters taunted him with racial slurs and that one of their party fired at him first) picked them off at distances of 40 to 70 yards away, betraying the fact that he had some military training.  (He was in the U.S. Army.)  People who argue that this incident shows that the Hmong have no respect for human life do not realize that Mr. Vang comes from a place where revenge killing and genocide against the Hmong people by the communist Pathet Lao were almost everyday occurrences.  Regard for the lives of strangers is probably not on the top of the list of Hmong values, but ensuring the survival of oneself and one’s family is.

St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly has spent taxpayer dollars to travel to Hmong camps in Thailand to ask more Hmong to come to his city.  Now, it is clear that more Hmong immigration will have costs that are not merely fiscal (more spending on social services and schools during tight times).  Of course, the human cost was ignored when it involved Hmong killing one another in gang and domestic violence.  Now that the violence has spilled over, people are finally asking why they should tolerate it.  They should go to their church leaders who celebrate “diversity,” their business leaders looking for cheap labor and docile employees, and their politicians seeking more tax revenue.  They are the ones who have conducted social-engineering experiments on the Hmong as though they were lab rats.  Get the answers from them.