Laundering Terror

Shawn Mitchell
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Posted: Apr 22, 2013 12:01 AM

It’s too soon to make sense of anything, but too hard to focus on anything else. Please consider the following thoughts about the horror, kindness, hope, and courage we all witnessed, which I posted as events unfolded.

A bomb at the Boston Marathon? Awful! It’s presumed an act of terrorism until we learn the bomber shouted “Allahu Akbar!” when it will be deemed a case of workplace violence.

Please, friends, learn the difference between “tragedy” and “atrocity.” How we talk about it affects how we feel and respond to it.

Horror at what happened. Rage at wanton cruelty. Contempt for leaders whose vision and judgment I distrust. Compassion and pain for the wounded.
Discordant confusion. Pain.

Troubled. I posted a political barb earlier about today's bloody events. But I was criticized, and I deleted because I decided I agreed with the criticism. But what if shame goes only one way? The Left seizes every horror immediately. Colorado is still feeling the gun-grabbing ripple effects of Sandy Hook, the demands for which gushed almost immediately.

If the partisans of government control grab the strategic high ground in every crisis, what are believers in limited government to do? Wait a Talmudic three days, while statists seize the narrative and initiative?

Does decency demand surrender?

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Godspeed to the officers and the people of Boston.

Thoughts and prayers for the wounded and the affected.

Cynical despair about the rest.

Perhaps in 30 years the murderer will be invited to teach at our elite universities, to explain his/her ideas for the betterment of humanity, like the chic radicals now laundered and ensconced in academia.

Perhaps in 3 or 30 days, the media can discipline itself to see similar importance, and report this story with similar zeal, regardless of the foreign or domestic, political or religious thinking behind the savagery.

Perhaps in a future time, there won't be ample reason to doubt government’s and opinion leaders' candor, depending on where the facts lead.

Some were offended I speculated that in a generation the Boston bomber might be teaching in an elite American--by location anyway--university.

Well, I could be a hateful fantasist. But, answer this: Are Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dorn, and Kathy Boudin murderous bombers? Are they now teaching at prestigious universities?

Who are you going to believe? My angry observations or your own lying eyes?

And, with the latest news, Old Media begins frantically searching for Tea Party connections to Chechnya.

Let us mourn with the hurt, the wronged, and all who were touched.
Let us celebrate that the known attackers are defeated.
Let us honor and applaud the amazing and courageous work of the men and women of law enforcement.
Let us take stock.
Was a great American city shut down to hunt for one man?

Voluntarily, or by enforceable order?
Did authorities search homes with, or without, permission?
Did homeowners have the right to bar entry?
Do the circumstances overwhelm the values behind those questions?
How malignant must a suspect be before the Bill of Rights is suspended for the rest of us?

Did it strike you as curious that the president needed to make a national statement  immediately after the capture? After the atrocity, yes. And perhaps after the result of a trial. But commentary upon capture? To what high national purpose?

I'll go out on a limb and assert that if the brothers had been from, say, a strong anti-abortion evangelical sect--if they had social media posts decrying "the Unborn Holocaust" or something similar--the following paragraph would not have found its way into the president's speech.

"That American spirit includes staying true to the unity and diversity that makes us strong — like no other nation in the world. In this age of instant reporting and tweets and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions. But when a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right. That’s why we have investigations. That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts. That’s why we have courts. And that’s why we take care not to rush to judgment — not about the motivations of these individuals; certainly not about entire groups of people."
~Barack Obama

Please. The mystery of motives, associations, and connections only become an important part of official messaging when, say, a shooter shouts "Allahu Akbar" while mowing down 13 unarmed people. Then, no one can know and no one can say.

To Mirandize or not to Mirandize? Is there a Constitutional solution that protects national security?

America's Constitutional soul demands due process before an accused is convicted and punished for anything. But there are important differences between national defense and criminal prosecution.  American intelligence, security, and public safety will suffer if defense attorneys block or subvert the interrogation of detainees linked to organized terror.

How about this: intelligence and security agents interrogate him for information on active threats and groups. Anything learned is quarantined from prosecutors and law enforcement, and wholly inadmissible at any subsequent trial.

Then, remand the suspect to regular prosecution, Mirandize him, and proceed with the case.

Would you rather live with the risk that a psycho somewhere can set off a bomb, or live under a government with universal surveillance and the power to shut down cities, confine Americans to their homes, and kill or capture the psycho with impressive speed?

It's not a perfect either/or; right now we have both. For me, I'd rather reduce the pervasive police state and take my chances on the elasticity of supply of domestic bombers.