July 28th, 2008

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This is what terrorism looks like.

Yesterday I got a phone call from my father about the church shooting in Knoxville.

He called me because he's affiliated, though slightly removed of late, with the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (which is the one which was shot up). He might have been worried I would think he was present, and worry he'd been shot.

The freepers of the world might not be have been able to crow about the need for more guns in churches (my dad has a CCW, from his days as a deputy sherrif, and carries). I say might because the people in the church reacted with gratifying speed and had the shooter disarmed and pinned within something like 15 seconds. My father (who was in the Marines, as well as having been a cop) might have pulled his piece, but I don't really think he'd have had a clear shot. Which would have been worth it, just to watch the freeperis' heads wrestle the cognitive dissonance of a guy with a gun being helpless in the face of concerted action by peaceful, "liberal" types (and, lest anyone think having a CCW and carrying a pistol all the time is something liberals can't do... my father didn't vote for Clinton in '92, he voted for Jesse Jackson).

All of, that, however, is by the boards. What really matters (and is going to be glossed) is hinted at in the headline for that piece I linked to.

Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity on accused shooter's reading list

The letter this guy (who appears, to have been planning suicide by cop, as well as the political statement) wrote make it, at the very least a hate crime. But as Orcinus has been pointing out for years, this is really terrorism, and of the sort we ought to be expecting; and trying to stop, because it is the most common sort.

The letter found in this guy's car said he hated liberals, because of how they were ruining the country, and that he couldn't get at the people they elected, so he was going after the ones who voted.

People like Medved, Micheal Reagan, O'Reilly, Coulter, Limbaugh, etc. have been saying this sort of thing for years. They get glossed with the nasty little rubric that it's humor, comedy, social commentary. All the while they spout that any liberal who says the least little thing they dislike is corrupting the youth/nation/world with terrible efficiency.

No liberal can make harmless jokes (or social commentary) but "C"onservatives who say that liberals need to be killed, (save for a couple kept pets in colleges to show how pathetic/dangerous they are) or the only way to talk to them is with baseball bats, or their candidates for office ought to be hanged for treason, or... well the list goes on, and I don't want to get more tedious; "C"onservatives who say such things aren't to be taken seriously.

They are only making jokes.

Well... the people who listen to those jokes, are taking up terrorism. The lone wolf style (as with Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph) which is hardest to stop.

But, as the Terrorism threat level is raised (hey.... it's an election year, have to keep people scared; so they will vote for Daddy, who promises he can beat up the monsters under the bed) the focus isn't on nativist bastards who want to bring on the Day of the Rope, and hang all the liberals from the nearest telephone lines and make examples for the rest of the nation.

No, we shall instead be told about all those nasty brown people who, "hate our way of life" and "despise us for our 'Freedom'™" rather than the homegrown types who are actually trying to supress our freedom, and destroy our way of life.

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What the Fuck.

I kept trying to find something more useful as a title to this. Some clever turn of phrase, or pithy aphorism to countepoise the content to follow and put it in perspective.

That was the best I could do when I read this chunk of editorial from the Washington Post:

...modern realities strongly argue against using the federal courts as the exclusive arena to hold or try all terrorism suspects. Most terrorism prosecutions, including the 1993 World Trade Center case, are brought after terrorists have struck. The first priority of a president must be to protect the country from attack. The president must have the legal flexibility to detain those against whom there is credible, actionable intelligence but not enough evidence to bring charges.

As if that weren't enough: The protections afforded to defendants in federal court -- including the right against self-incrimination -- work against legitimate intelligence-gathering interests.

Who writes this stuff? Do they think about what they are saying? Detain those against whom a case can't be brought... because there isn't enough evidence.

To quote myself quoting Winston Churchill (that paragon the incipient fascists in our midst, the ones morons like the Editoral Staff at the WashPost are so fond of using to justify their brave support of the War in Iraq, and attacks on Iran; lest we be appeasers):

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."

So, not enough evidence... have a secret court Traditional federal court proceedings also present security challenges. Although the most sensitive national security information could be shielded from public consumption through existing laws, the openness of federal court proceedings risks handing unclassified but valuable information to those who would harm this country... so we can't let the people see what we are doing, besides... recall that pesky litle problem of the Constitution not requiring people to incriminate themselves?

The separate trial scheme for detainees later charged with crimes should feature slightly more relaxed evidentiary standards than those that prevail in federal court, but there should be robust defenses. It is highly unlikely that national security detainees could be tried in conventional federal court, in part because they would not have been afforded some of the procedural rights guaranteed to conventional defendants, such as the right to remain silent.

Why do we need to have these more lax standards?

without a new trial regime under the auspices of a national security court, the government would have a perverse incentive to hold detainees indefinitely without charge.

Just in case you were worried those special courts (with the "relaxed" standards of evidence) might make mistakes, or hand out sentences to meet an agenda, never fear, " Trials under a national security court would also be heard by a panel of Senate-confirmed federal judges; trial matters could be appealed to a special appellate panel..

We've seen how good the Senate is at making sure the President doesn't get to pack courts with reactionary types.

I dom't even know what to say about the idea that the courts are part of the intelligence collection efforts (that whole self-incrimination works against collecting efforts). That's just bizzaro world.

When you remember a federal court has said the power of the president to "dissapear someone" extends to US citizens, and wonder just what the Washington Post is arguing for.

It can happen here. If we don't agitate against it, it will happen here.

Your, "Liberal" media at work.

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