Saturday, April 20, 2013

just a little reminder

The United States has dealt with American citizens who had commit acts of terrorism before. We Mirandized them, we charged them, we ensured that they had competent legal counsel, and we tried them in civilian courts where they received the typical rights and protections guaranteed to the accused. In none of those cases did this decision endanger more lives, prevent adequate prosecution, or otherwise present any threat to the country or its people.

Timothy McVeigh: killed 168 people. Injured over 800 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and tried in a civilian court. Ted Kaczynski: killed three people. Injured 23 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and processed through a civilian court. Eric Rudolph: killed two people. Injured at least 150 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and processed through a civilian court.

If you recognize that the results of these legal cases were consonant with our system of jurisprudence and with justice, you cannot ask for a separate status for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without supporting legal discrimination based on ethnicity and religion. To deny Tsarnaev the legal status conferred on prior domestic terrorists, or to support such a denial, is to abandon the most elementary commitment of modern jurisprudence, which is the equality of all people under the law. It's to stand for legal bigotry.

5 comments:

Captain Noble said...

Bigotry? You mean the average Republican these days?

Pierre Corneille said...

Freddie,

What's sad is that your post needed to be written.

Gerry Canavan said...

The Big Issue Is Not Miranda, It’s Presentment.

Of course I agree with you in the main that there's no legitimate justification for suspension of normal legal procedure here.

Freddie said...

That is a good point. That you Gerry.

Liz said...

I agree, and I think the majority of the people of the GBA agree; even last night, the lion's share of revelers were not baying for blood, they were just kicking 4/20 off early.

I think what's most curious about the divided response to Dzhokhar is that one side seems to be trying to marshal him into the 'intelligent, good-natured, but troubled school shooter type' narrative, while the other is trying to categorize him in the enfant terrible stone-cold sociopath way. You can already sort of figure which way a media outlet is going by looking at the pictures they choose to show. The ones who want him to seem troubled but redeemable show the ones from several years ago or the one in which he looks sweetly puppy-dog-eyed and washed out, or the ones of him being apprehended, in which he's wounded and/or partially nude and girlishly slender. The ones who want him to seem like a psychopath show the ones of him smirking or the ones taken at the marathon, which also have a weirdly smiling cast.

And I think these alternatives are limited and more interested in tidy stories than the reality of whatever happened, but they do seem to have a lot of power over how people feel about how to proceed judicially.