The crazies are coming out of the woodwork. Incomprehensible (H/T Twitchy):
April 21, 2013
"Stand for what you believe in even if you're standing alone."— Justice For Jahar (@ForJahar) April 21, 2013
Wats not yet being reportd by mainstream media is dat a 'controlled explosion' was underway on same day as marathon explosion. #freejahar— Fanaa™ (@fannaforu) April 21, 2013
so the ppl that know jahar are saying that he was nice and would never do something like this......— slim shady (@pinkwigthickass) April 19, 2013
First of all, a lot of people that apparently knew Dzhokhar keep saying how nice he was and they just can’t believe the news. Yes, a “true angel”. As Greg Gutfeld points out, however, evil people can still smile, hit the gym and apparently go to parties after killing three people and injuring more than 170 others. Ted Bundy was a nice guy, too.
Secondly, a government set up? Really? It’s not as though police found and arrested the Tsarnaevs solely based on footage of Dzhokhar dropping off a backpack near eight-year-old Martin Richard without further incident. No, no, no. Surveillance video shows Dzhokhar taking his backpack off, placing it down, not reacting to the first explosion and dodging the second. The brothers also murdered an MIT police officer, hijacked a car and bragged to the car owner that they were the bombers. A car chase with police ensued during which the Tsarnaevs threw explosives at them while making their way into Watertown...and then this happened (emphasis mine):
After more than 200 rounds were traded over several minutes, some officers were out of ammunition and charged the brothers’ position with their police car. The vehicle was disabled by gunfire from the Mercedes. Kitzenberg said he saw one of the shooters toss a metallic object — possibly a pressure-cooker bomb similar to the ones used in the marathon attack — in the direction of the police line. It rolled a few yards before detonating harmlessly.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, now out of his car, attempted to lob a makeshift bomb at police, but the device exploded in his hand. While Tamerlan Tsarnaev was firing a pistol with the other hand, police tackled and tried to subdue the 200-pound amateur boxer.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, apparently intending to help his brother, tried to ram the officers with the Mercedes. Instead, the officers lunged out of the vehicle’s path and he ran over his brother and dragged him along the street before speeding off with police in pursuit. ….
There are countless witnesses to these events and evidence suggests that the brothers were planning more attacks:
“Handguns, a rifle and at least six bombs, three of which detonated were fond at the scene on Friday after officers had their first showdown with the Boston bombing brothers in Watertown, Mass.”
#FreeJahar? How about this:
Dear FBI, check out the #freejahar hashtag for terrorist sympathizers. Please deport them to their country of choice.— Tish(@KamaainaInOC) April 21, 2013
New Jersey has the second toughest gun laws in the nation—it’s one of seven states with an “assault-weapons ban,” one of three with a one-gun-a-month law and gun shows are not permitted. But on Friday when the nation was fixated on the events in Boston, Gov. Chris Christie was pushing for even more gun control.
The governor is embracing many of the recommendations put forth by the task force on gun violence he created in the wake of the Newtown massacre and is also introducing some measures of his own:
The proposal calls for expanding government-funded mental health treatment, requiring parental sign-off before minors can buy or rent violent video games and mandating would-be gun owners show government-issued IDs.
The New Jersey governor also recommended banning the sale of Barrett .50-caliber semi-automatic sniper rifles. But his plan doesn’t address classroom security or propose limits on magazine capacity.
The mental health aspect is a slippery slope, however. Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air weighs in:
The mental health angle, more vulnerable to abuse than all the rest, is precisely the one that Cuomo used in NY to begin scouring the medical records of people who were prescribed anxiety or depression medicine and sending out the troops to confiscate their weapons. One would think that Christie would have the sense and the political survival skills to look at this particular pond much more closely before diving in.
Christie 2016? Hmm…
So what’s next for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? President Obama declared the Boston Marathon bombings an “act of terrorism” but seems keen on granting Tsarnaev a civilian criminal trial. Others, including Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain think he should be held as a potential enemy combatant, which would deny him a court-appointed attorney, among other rights, under the ‘law of war’. The case for the former, via Ken Klukowski:
According to reports, Tsarnaev became a U.S. citizen in Sept. 2012. He was captured on U.S. soil by federal law enforcement officers (not military). This was not a battlefield setting, and at this point it appears Tsarnaev was not working for a foreign government or terrorist organization with which we are at war.
Tsarnaev is now in federal custody and will be prosecuted in federal court by the U.S. Department of Justice through Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
If all those facts are correct, then Tsarnaev is entitled to a full-dress criminal prosecution and able to assert all the rights of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
Makes sense, but Rep. Peter King and Sens. Graham, McCain and Kelly Ayotte see the situation differently. “It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city. The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorists trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans,” their joint statement reads. “The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent.”
A high value detainee interrogation team will question Tsarnaev without reading him Miranda rights as allowed under the “public safety” exception. The lawmakers commend this decision but have concerns given its restrictions. “…limiting this investigation to 48 hours and exclusively relying on the public safety exception to Miranda, could very well be a national security mistake. It could severely limit our ability to gather critical information about future attacks from this suspect,” the lawmakers said.
“We continue to face threats from radical Islamists in small cells and large groups throughout the world. They have, as their primary focus, killing as many Americans as possible, preferably within the United States. We must never lose sight of this fact and act appropriately within our laws and values.” As a result, the lawmakers urge the administration to consider enemy combatant status as allowed by national security statutes and US Supreme Court decisions, rather than a domestic criminal trial that could take years to complete.
What do you think?
It was a jubilant scene in Watertown last night after authorities finally captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and took him into custody. But at the press conference afterward, US Attorney Miranda Ortiz stressed that this isn’t the end. "Although for some of you tonight is a closure, for me the journey continues. And so this will continue to be an ongoing and active investigation as we sort all the details, continue to evaluate a tremendous amount of evidence and file our formal charges,” she said. But as the investigation moves forward, attention will also be shifted to the holes in our system and figuring out how these young men were seemingly able to fly under the radar, or not:
The FBI admitted Friday they interviewed the now-deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years ago and failed to find any incriminating information about him.
As first reported by CBS News correspondent Bob Orr, the FBI interviewed Tsarnaev, the elder brother of at-large bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, at the request of a foreign government to see if he had any extremist ties, but failed to find any linkage. […]
CBS News correspondent John Miller reports it is likely Russia asked to have the elder Tsarnaev vetted because of suspected ties to Chechen extremists.
The FBI is likely to have run a background check, running his name through all the relevant databases, including those of other agencies, checking on his communications and all of his overseas travel. Miller reports that culminated in a sit-down interview where they probably asked him a lot of questions about his life, his contacts, his surroundings. All of this was then written in a report and sent it to the requesting government.
This is an issue they've had in the past. They interviewed Carlos Bledsoe in Little Rock, Ark., before he shot up an Army recruiting station in 2009. They were also looking into Major Hasan Nadal before the Fort Hood shootings.
However, the FBI has maintained in those incidents that they took all the steps they were asked to and were allowed to under the law.
Hmm. If a foreign government reached out to the FBI about an individual with possible extremist ties, they shouldn't have just let it go if they found nothing right off the bat. And an interview should not be the culmination of the investigative process—far from it. If the FBI had kept tabs on Tamerlan, perhaps his six-month trip to Russia in January 2012 would have raised some red flags. After all, a vacation doesn’t last six months. What was he doing there? Where did he stay? With whom did he develop relationships?
Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but this isn’t the first time the FBI has missed the boat. The CBS article mentions two previous incidents but don’t forget about their intelligence failures leading up to 9/11. This act of terrorism and subsequent shutdown of a major US city for a manhunt (which costs roughly $333 million per day in Boston) will certainly force lawmakers, government officials and the public to reevaluate our counterterrorism strategies--and for good reason.
The “compromise” proposal on extended background checks by Sens. Manchin and Toomey failed Wednesday by six votes, prompting a firestorm of outrage from gun rights activists. Sen. Harry Reid blasted Senate Republicans for ‘ignoring the voices of an overwhelming majority of Americans’ and President Obama condemned the Senate’s failure to pass reform as “shameful.” Many pledged that the fight isn’t over, however, including Sen. Manchin:
“We’re gonna pass this,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told gun-control-backing MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on “Morning Joe.” “Don’t you give up. Don’t you give up.”
“These are good people,” Manchin said of other conservative Democrats who opposed the legislation. “I’ve got to sit down. There’s more work I’ve got to do. I’ve got to sit down and work with my colleagues. Heidi Heitkamp is my friend. I’m just so tickled to death she is there. I got to get Heidi comfortable so the people in North Dakota know how good she is and what we can do to make her feel comfortable that we represented the people. … I’m not going to allow a criminal or an Al Qaeda terrorist to be able to go to the gun show like he advertised to pick up guns but if there is some language that is uncomfortable, I’ve got to work harder to make them comfortable. … If the NRA didn’t score this, we would’ve had 15 more votes.”
Throughout the gun-control debate activists have repeated the mantra that 40 percent of all gun purchases at gun shows are private sales and thus, not subject to a background check. This simply isn’t true—the figure is based on extremely outdated and exaggerated statistics. Moreover, the al Qaeda reference Manchin pointed to is ridiculous and based on a resurfaced 2011 video of American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn talking about how easy it is to get a firearm in America. The video is full of falsehoods, however. But most importantly, the Manchin/Toomey background check proposal would not have prevented what happened in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson.
While Democrats and the media portray gun control as the most pressing issue in America, a recent Gallup poll shows that only 4 percent of Americans agree. In the same poll, 24 percent say the economy in general is the most important problem facing this country, which is exactly what Sen. Toomey is shifting his focus to:
“We have a lot of other issues we have to deal with,” Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey told the Allentown Morning Call. “Chief among them is getting our fiscal house in order. I’ll be getting back to that.” […]
Despite his desire to return to his signature economic issues, Toomey said he doesn’t regret working with Manchin on the bill.
“I did the best I could. I wish it had passed, but the Senate has spoken and these things happen,” he told the paper. “It’s always worth it to do the right thing … no regrets.”
The Senate will take up a series of gun votes today, including the Manchin/Toomey proposal for extending background checks. As of Tuesday evening, however, gun-control advocates weren’t even sure they’d have enough votes to pass expanded background checks. One Democratic aide told The Hill, “We don’t know if we have 60 votes, but we don’t know that we don’t have 60…it will be very close.”
The majority doesn’t have the votes to pass their own amendment, so we’re not voting,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “If we turn to assault weapons or magazines, then it’s clear to all that the majority knows the votes aren’t going to be there.”
The Senate last week agreed to bring the gun bill to the chamber floor, with many Republicans supportive of that move. Since then, however, the bill has stalled and lawmakers have not voted on any amendments.
Earlier in the day, Democrats got a boost from the presence of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Democrat, who was gravely wounded when a gunman opened fire at an outdoor town hall she was holding in Tucson in 2011. Democrats also heard an emotional plea for action from Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a co-sponsor of the background check compromise, as well as Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy of Connecticut and Tim Kaine of Virginia, who was governor of the state at the time of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007.
The underlying bill has language on background checks that the compromise is supposed to replace.
For this reason, some pro-gun groups, such as the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, are *supportive of the Manchin/Toomey bill:
These advances for gun rights cannot be made unless we win the Senate vote to substitute the Manchin-Toomey language for Schumer’s invasive, terrible and overreaching background check that is in the current version of the bill.
If you read the proposed substitute bill, you can see the numerous advances for our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms that it contains: interstate sales of handguns, veteran gun rights restoration, travel with firearms protection, civil and criminal immunity lawsuit protection if you sell a gun plus more. It also exempts the sale or transfer of firearms between family members and friends as well as sales outside a commercial venue from a background check. If you have any kind of current state permit to own, use or carry no additional background check is done.
The NRA is not supportive of the proposal, however. And so far, only four of the 16 GOP senators that voted to bring the bill to the floor have expressed support or are leaning towards voting yes on the background check proposal: Sens. Toomey, Mark Kirk, Susan Collins and John McCain—though he’s not a definite yes.
Republican amendments could also make the background check bill all the more difficult to pass:
Mr. Grassley, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and other co-sponsors plan to unveil their substitute amendment Wednesday morning that makes changes to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, provides resources to help address mental health and school safety, protects veterans from false health determinations, and addresses gun trafficking and straw purchasing.
In addition to expanded background checks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled votes on at least eight other amendments, including bans on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines.
Update: Manchin says they will not get the votes today.
*CCRKBA has withdrawn its support: "The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has withdrawn its support for the Manchin-Toomey alternative background check measure because a key amendment for restoration of firearms rights is not being considered."
When a ban on “assault weapons” was completely dropped from the Senate’s gun control package, anti-gun advocates shifted their focus to more attainable measures, such as universal background checks. The bipartisan Manchin/Toomey ‘comprise’ proposal provided a glimmer of hope for gun-control advocates (and even some pro-gun groups), but Politico is reporting that even this has little chance of passing:
This bipartisan proposal, which expands background checks and closes the controversial “gun show” loophole, is gaining nearly no steam in the House, and in the Senate, it’s no better.
Senate Democratic leadership considered pushing back the vote to Thursday or later. Manchin and Toomey said Monday evening that they were short of the votes they needed.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Toomey said. “We’re not there at the moment, but we’re were working on it.”
Manchin said he is “talking to everybody” about supporting the bill. […]
If Democrats cannot overcome a GOP filibuster on the background checks bill, any chances for major gun control legislation being enacted in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting would diminish dramatically.
With Republicans filibustering the Manchin-Toomey proposal, a cloture vote on the bill is likely to take place on Thursday at the earliest.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, endorsed the Manchin/Toomey background check bill on Sunday in anticipation of a Senate vote this week. “Believe me-- I’m solidly 100 percent pro-gun, but we get back, in return for a meaningless background check, which I admit will not solve the problem, criminals will still get their guns anyway, we get back a whole bunch of things we don’t have right now. We get more rights and more freedom. To me that’s a win,” he said. A statement was also released on the organization’s website further explaining CCRKBA’s position.
Not everyone is as supportive, however. Last week Sen. Tom Coburn expressed concern that the background check proposal amounts to a new tax on guns. Additionally, at least nine of the 16 GOP senators who voted to advance the bill say they oppose the background check compromise. The NRA also criticized the measure.
"It's an open question as to whether or not we have the votes," Toomey said on CNN over the weekend. "I think it's going to be close."
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the “act of terrorism” at the Boston Marathon yesterday, there is a person of interest in the case, a 20-year-old Saudi national who entered the U.S. on a student visa. He is the same person of interest being guarded at a local hospital.
His apartment in a nearby Boston suburb was searched late last night:
Investigators were seen leaving the Revere house early Tuesday carrying brown paper bags, plastic trash bags and a duffel bag, according to the Associated Press.
The Pakistani Taliban, which has threatened attacks in the United States because of its support for the Pakistani government, denied any role in the marathon bombings Tuesday.
The group's spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, denied involvement in a telephone call with The Associated Press. He spoke from an undisclosed location.
Federal investigators said Monday no one had claimed responsibility for the devastating attack on one of the city's most famous civic holidays, Patriots Day.
The student's name did not appear on any terror watch lists, according to Fox News’ sources, and he is just “one of multiple leads.”
Since ball bearings were used in the bombs as a way to inflict as many casualties as possible, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge says they can already be associated with the crude IEDs we see overseas. But more information will develop about a suspect(s) as evidence from the bombs is gathered from the crime scene. Authorities will be looking for what type of explosive was used, what materials were used to build it, how they detonated it and, of course, their tactics. I had the opportunity to get an in-depth look at how military Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams operate for the January issue of Townhall Magazine. More information about IEDs and how these teams analyze and defeat them is available here.
There will be a press conference this morning at 9:30 ET and a briefing will be held on Capitol Hill today by the National Counterterrorism Center.
Update: Watch the FBI press conference LIVE here.
Update: The FBI press conference did not shed much new light on the marathon bombings. Law enforcement officials confirmed that only two devices were found—additional devices being reported yesterday were merely 'suspect packages that were disrupted.' Officials also said there are no known additional threats.
"This will be a worldwide investigation," Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI's Boston Field Office Richard DesLauriers said at a Tuesday morning news conference, adding that investigators will go "wherever the leads take us."
"We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the suspects responsible for this despicable crime," he added.
It remained unclear if the bombs were the work of a homegrown or foreign threat, but in Washington, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called the attack "a cruel act of terror."
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis appealed to the public to come forward with any information or photographic evidence that might help authorities zero in on the killers.
"We’re looking to bring the individuals responsible for this heinous crime to justice," he said.
Update: Watch President Obama deliver a statement on the bombings LIVE here.
Sens. Manchin and Toomey announced their ‘compromise’ on expanding background checks Wednesday, which, among other things, closes the “gun show loophole.” By law, all federal firearms licensees are required to conduct background checks for firearms transactions—even at a gun show. But gun control advocates repeatedly say that 40 percent of all gun purchases at gun shows are private sales and thus, not subject to a background check. Where are they getting this figure from and is it true? Heritage weighs in:
As The Washington Post has pointed out, this 40 percent figure comes from a 1997 report by the National Institute of Justice, a research agency within the Department of Justice, and was based on a telephone survey sample of just 251 people who acquired firearms in 1993 and 1994. This was years before the NICS system went into effect. Of the 251 participants, 35.7 percent said that they didn’t or “probably” didn’t obtain their gun from a licensed firearms dealer. Because the margin of error was +/– 6 percentage points, it was rounded up to 40 percent, although it could just as easily and legitimately have been rounded down below 30 percent.
In addition, if you subtract people who said they got their gun as a gift, inheritance, or prize, the number dropped from 35.7 percent to 26.4 percent. And, in terms of how many people actually buy firearms at gun shows, the data from this same survey indicated that in 1994, only 3.9 percent of firearms purchases were made at gun shows.
So not only is this statistic extremely outdated, it’s also terribly exaggerated. NRA News commentator Colion Noir says the “gun show loophole” is just a red herring.
“Think about it,” he says. “Why would a vendor pay to set up shop at a gun show surrounded by competition if 40 percent of the people coming to the show are merely coming to the show to buy guns privately? I’ll tell you why—because it’s not true.” Continuing to use outdated and exaggerated data is not an argument, he says—it’s an agenda.
Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin(D-WV) have reached a deal on expanding background checks. Firearms purchases at guns shows, on the internet or “any circumstance involving paid advertising” would be subject to background checks but there would be important exemptions, such as temporary transfers and between close relatives.
“Under the terms of the Manchin-Toomey deal all background checks would be conducted by federally licensed gun firearm dealers, who would need to verify the validity of a purchaser’s gun license and record that a check was performed. Background checks would need to be completed within three days, except at gun shows, where they would have to be completed within two days for the next four years, and then within 24 hours. In order to avoid processing delays, the FBI would be required to complete background checks requested at gun shows before those requested elsewhere. […]
A precise list of which transactions would be covered by the background check deal was not immediately available. One person familiar with the discussions said the proposed legislation would likely require background checks on all advertised transactions, including those posted on Internet sale sites. It was unlikely, the person said, that sales conducted through an individual, private email exchange would be governed by the new deal. But, he added, it is impossible to say with certainty until legislative language is announced.
Although the press release issued by Manchin and Toomey explicitly states that the bill will not create a national registry and makes it illegal to establish one, Guns Saving Lives points out an important detail. “If transfers are done through a federally licensed firearms dealer there WILL be a form 4473 for every single transaction. These forms must be turned over to the government whenever a dealer changes owners or closes its doors. The ATF can also inspect these forms almost at will. This will create a de facto gun registry through the records that will be generated.” Top NRA officials and gun-rights advocates have long feared that expanded background checks will lead to a registry--and possibly confiscation.
“I don’t consider criminal background checks to be gun control, I think it’s just common sense, Toomey said. “It’s the people who fail criminal and mental health background checks that we don’t want having guns.”
The NRA issued a statement criticizing the Manchin-Toomey deal, saying that background checks wouldn’t have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson, and won’t stop the next:
Fairfax, Va. - Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg's "universal" background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows. The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson. We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone. President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.
The Senate has scheduled a vote for Thursday and, according to the Washington Post, it looks like Democrats have the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.