Why do we wait until the sheep have perished to deal with the wolves?
I've not blogged lately, but I have grown weary of reading stories like this, left a comment in the thread, and felt like posting it here to bloom unseen and waste it's sweetness on the desert air.
The story in question is here:
It's an all too familiar tale. I will paste my comment below, there is more to say but this gets the gist of it. I've found in my increasing age a passion for certain issues grows, and this is one of them - protecting society for recurring criminal predation. I might expound on it in the future, I might not, but I mean every word of it. If I ever do more in life than merely talk about things that matter, this will be one of those things that drives me to action. My comment is below:
You can never know if concealed carry would have made a difference - probably not, since this was over in a blink of an eye, and the shooter shot himself - the same outcome likely if a CHL holder was present.
But it does show how modern societies failure to understand the nature of crime and human character leads us to continue to allow sociopaths to live among us despite their clear actions showing they are incompatible with society. Unfortunately, they are released back into society until they do something like this - something unforgivable. We need to wake up and see that criminals with extensive records do not reform, do not change, simply continue to victimize society until they do something so heinous we lock them up for good. This insanity has a horrible human cost - in order to salve the conscience of those who refuse to see career criminals as the wolves they are, we sacrifice many sheep.
"Had an extensive criminal record" - there should be no such thing. An extensive criminal record is an indictment of a government that has failed it's single most important function - physical security of the people.
What is, what might be, what may yet come...
I have, since 9/11, at times worried about not what grand, spectacular attack may come to pass in the United States, but rather what easy, mass casualty attacks that don't require planning, explosives, training, merely someone willing to kill in the name of Allah.
When I heard about someone driving his SUV into people in San Francisco, my antennae went up immediately. Now at this point we are still discovering information - and I warned against jumping to conclusions ahead of the curve a full two weeks about Mr. Karr regarding the Ramsey killing. But this is one of the scenarios I feared. Turns out, with some digging, that the driver is one Mr. Omeed Aziz Popal - why his middle name is not spelled out like John Mark Karr's was for the infinite number of news stories is not known. This isn't the first run-in Omeed has had with the local constabulary. Ouch, first run-in, that was an unintended pun...
This could simply be a man driven to this (oh dear, another unintended pun, when did vehicular vernacularisms work their way so deeply into our lexicon?) by work, a girl, or something else. But my first reaction reading this is... another person who thinks God wants to him to kill us all. Now, mind you, Andrea Yates also apparently thought God wanted her to kill, so this doesn't have to be solely about religion.
But I am waiting. For terrorists to figure out they don't need a nuclear weapon, or a huge truck bomb - merely a huge truck. Ten committed men in ten trucks can kill 300 people in minutes. Go to a mall, or a theater, or a stadium, anywhere you see lines of people, and you are looking at a potential mass casualty attack with nothing more than a truck you can rent for $30 at Hertz.
I would hope to be wrong, but hoping to be wrong won't change the fate of those victims today, one of whom has already died. It won't matter why they are dead, what motivated their senseless demise is frankly important only to the living.
I will be watching with great interest what we hear, and what we are told, about this person...
UPDATE: Uh oh...
The SUV struck two people in front of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on California Street, a few blocks from where the rampage ended.
Beat my man at PT to the punch again. Plus, I have a better title...
Michelle Malkin also has a blog roundup...
Before we get the rope and find a strong limb...
Just a brief note on the arrest of John Karr (or John Mark Karr, given our penchant for giving the full name of murderers and assassins) for the arrest of Jon Benet Ramsey - if there is no corroborating DNA evidence, be very wary of this confession. Something doesn't pass the smell test fully on this, I've read statements of his that indicated Jon Benet was killed when her father was in the basement, I've seen no information indicating the man was in Boulder at the time, in fact his ex-wife indicated he wasn't in Boulder at the time, nor how this person would have access to the Ramsey house. Something is very, very odd with this.
But if the DNA comes back with a match, I'll tie the noose...
Judge will tolerate a little junk in your trunk...
The presiding judge in the Millennium bombing case has boldly proclaimed the courts ready to handle terror trials as well as disparaging US policy toward detainees.
Good to know we've found an avant garde terror judge ready to find anyone with 124 pounds of explosives in their car trunk trying to sneak into the country guilty, give him a light sentence, and of course assume that is how to treat hundreds of people taken on foreign battlefields or arrested through tangental investigative means in foreign lands. The arrogant presumption that it takes to conflate your one case with every case is unfortunately atypical of a lifetime-appointment.
This sentence shows the folly of the "criminalist" mindset on terrorism. John C. Coughenour, an early Reagan appointee, handed down 22 years in addition to his running commentary on US terror policy. Ahmed Ressam, the man who tried to cross into the United States from Canada with enough explosives to blow the Bridge Over the River Kwai, will be out in 22 years... or far less most likely, provided he trims the hedges on the grounds well and doesn't construct a bomb from soap flakes and cleaning solvent in prison.
The judge's lecture of the Bush Administration argues against itself. First, he floats this tired canard:
...the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and some believe "this threat renders our Constitution obsolete ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."
Silly me, I thought the United States Constitution was a document detailing the rights of American citizens - those rights and privileges laid forth apply to American citizens, not Algerians crossing into America carrying so much explosive in their trunk the muffler drags the pavement. Very troubling to read such an ill-considered bit of political sloganeering like "rendering our Constitution obsolete" from a Circuit judge, and especially directly from the bench. There's more:
"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel...The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."
The message isn't "if we blah blah blah, the terrorists will have won". The message is - "Hey terrorists, give it a whirl." If you get caught, you'll get three squares and access to the prison legal library. If you don't, you can go for the big prize of 75 virgins in paradise. If we catch them before the act, we massage the sentence and the crime. It's like catch and release at the pond - the guy tried to drive a car full of explosives into the United States to murder hundreds, there is no way on Allah's green earth Ressam should see the outside of prison, unless it's on the way to the potter's field in a pine box. We treat attempting terror as a far lesser crime than actually pulling it off. That must stop. Being caught in the commission or attempted commission of an act of mass terror must bring with it a permanent removal from polite society. You cannot catch those attempting to commit mass murder and release them back into society, ever.
Indeed, the VERY reason we need military tribunals is precisely embodied in this judge's words and actions in this case. Given abject prima facie guilt - the man was caught red handed with explosives crossing the border to commit murder and mayhem - and the judge cannot see fit to do more than perhaps a dozen or so years - what sentence do we expect for those taken at an Al Qaeda training camp? Four years? Five? Any? It is precisely because terrorism isn't a criminal act, it is a belligerent act of war, that these people and this process must be kept far away from the process designed to prosecute American citizens for infractions against it's legal code in crimes committed within it's borders.
We've long bemoaned that we possess a legal system, and not a justice system. The system doesn't work well in keeping child predators and other sociopaths behind bars, why would we consider involving it in cases of foreign terrorists and enemy forces?
Fearing abduction by dirigible, Jackson accuser's Mom full of hot air...
As the train wreck that is the Michael Jackson case spirals further off the tracks, the testimony got so bizarre that Michael Jackson himself started to look normal in comparison. (Note on the Australian paper's date - hey, it's already tomorrow there. Which means yesterday it was today. Wierd. I bet their toilets flush funny down there too).
The woman apparently told deputies she feared that she and her son would be abducted by various means, including hot air balloon. Yes, that's right, hot air balloon, as if that was the most efficient means of secretly kidnapping someone, an enormous, slow moving, conspicuous balloon floating in the sky. How insiduous! Frankly, considering how nutty this lady is, we wouldn't be surprised if she claimed Jackson drove up in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to try and kidnap her.
The case against Jackson has always been weak. And there is one reason for it - credibility of witnesses. It's no long stretch to travel from Michael Jackson being an oddball to him being a deviate oddball - but you've got to be credible in order to make the accusation stick. Consistency and transparency are keys. If you are on the take from Jackson, are involved in questionable lawsuits against companies, and think you are about to be kidnapped by a dirigible - you are going to have a credibility problem. As nutty as Jackson is, this woman makes Jackson look like the normal one in the room.
This case has two outcomes - one, the jury going in thought Jackson was a pedophile, and was going to convict him regardless. Or two, the jury went in neutral and having heard the bizarre testimony and contradictions of the accused and his family, are going to determine that they don't carry enough weight to convict Jackson.
Up, up and away...
Is pretty much the same as the old left...
A lawyer accused of smuggling messages out from an imprisoned terrorist was found guilty of conspiracy and materially aiding terrorists, in a small window into both the hubris of lawyers, and the left.
First, we need to discern between liberalism and leftism. There is a notable distinction. Liberalism means different things to different people - while GWB is not a liberal in the vernacular sense, his statements about individual liberty and freedom are classically liberal. Senator Ted "Gin Bottle" Kennedy is a liberal in the vernacular meaning. Which brings us to leftism. Not all liberals are leftists. Leftists are those you see at ANSWER rallies, wearing Che Guevara shirts, consistently equating Israel with Nazi Germany, bemoaning capitalism. You'll see Ted Kennedy do none of these.
So, now that we know the difference, let's first examine the hubris of the legal profession. Self important and self-aggrandizing, these self-proclaimed avatars of liberty and justice don't have to play by the same ruleset the rest of us do - because they helped create them. Let's hear their own words:
"You can't tell the lawyers how to do their job. You've got to let them operate. And I will fight on. I'm not giving up. I know I committed no crime. I know what I did was right."
How did this lady pass the bar? You DID commit a crime, a jury just found you GUILTY. And we can't tell a lawyer how to do their job? Actually, I'm pretty sure we CAN do that too. Where does she get the idea that lawyers are above the law?
But not all is lost...
However, Peter Margulies, a law professor at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island who conducted a panel on lawyers and terrorism at the American Association of Law Schools' recent annual meeting, called the verdict reasonable.
"I think lawyers need to be advocates, but they don't need to be accomplices," he said. "I think the evidence suggested that Lynne Stewart had crossed the line."
This is the kind of thoughtful reasoning that is missing from too much of the legal profession. We are no great fans of the adversarial system - we have a legal system, not a justice system - but the advocacy model requires knowing where the line between acting in interest, and aiding and abetting, is.
Of course, this brings us to the hubris of the left - where anything is justified in the pursuit of their noble aims. The normal justification requires an appeal to an altruism, use of a bogeyman, and a justification of any action based on the ends justifying the means. Let's watch...
Stewart also accused the Bush administration of targeting activist lawyers for defending unpopular clients, calling herself a "poster girl for John Ashcroft and his Patriot Act."
Well thank goodness for them! Note the bogeyman, who can be Ashcroft, Karl Rove, Bush, Cheney, Halliburton, FOX News, Mattel, Coors Brewery, anyone convenient. A better poster girl for the Patriot Act we cannot imagine. Here's the kicker:
Stewart repeatedly declared her innocence during the trial, maintaining she was unfairly targeted by overeager prosecutors. She testified on her own behalf as well, saying she believed violence was sometimes necessary to rid society of evil -- even in America.
"To rid ourselves of the entrenched, voracious type of capitalism that is in this country that perpetuates sexism and racism, I don't think that can come nonviolently," she said.
Ladies and gentlemen - the new left. It's the same as the old left, just without the agitprop support from the Soviet Union. Leftism is neatly wrapped up here - violence to overthrow capitalism justified by appeals to a greater good. The "break some eggs to make an omelette" justification.
Folks, when you see anti-war protests - it's these people. People who commit to overt and covert support of violence to overthrow what they've singularly decided is an unjust system of oppression. What they cannot do at the ballot box, they seek to do through violence.
Hey, that sort of sounds like terrorism...
UPDATE: Thoughts at Powerline from lawyers not on the dark side here.
Scott Peterson gets his wife's dying wish...
A California jury did what few California juries ever do - get it right - in both convincting Scott Peterson for the death of his wife and son and sentencing same miscreant to death for his crimes.
Yes, the same state that brought us the Menendez brothers trial, the Rodney King case, and the OJ Simpson spectacle, finally managed to get it's head out of it's terminally impacted posterior position and find a guilty man guilty, and punish him suitably.
I've been amazed recently speaking to people before the sentence, who almost uniformly speculated that Peterson would get life in prison, that there was no way he'd get the death sentence. This was a near ubiquitous response. I was certain this man was going to get the death sentence - everything about the trial and conviction pointed to this jury wanting to sentence him to death. I was wavering, but when famed defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger said the same thing on Greta Van Susteren's show, I felt another candle of sanity had been lit in the woods.
When encountering someone who personally didn't know how they would sentence him, I asked a simple question:
"What do you suppose was Laci's last thought? Was it about herself, or her baby?"
I scored a perfect 100% conversion rate with that rhetorical question.
I understand why people doubted the death sentence - it's California, and there wasn't a grainy black-and-white security video showing the crime. People like to have absolute certainty, the kind that normally comes from knowing exactly what happened. In this case, we don't have the play by play. But we know the final score - Scott 2, Laci 0.
Thankfully, the nightcap of that doubleheader has the final score California 1, Scott 0.
Get 1000 free hours, 72 virgins just for trying out Alqaeda Online...
The US is seeking extradition of a British man who ran online terror operations including recruitment and money solicitation.
The question isn't so much why it took so long to arrest him - it's in fact more like why did they arrest him so soon. Technology and the Internet can be fantastically traceable, and with so much of the Internet and technology companies being US based, and subject to US laws and export restrictions, the Internet should be the FBI's playground. Terrorists avoid direct observation, so on those occassions they do venture into the light - such as accessing a web page, or email resources, it can be an opportunity to track or expose the consumers of the information - assumedly, the terrorists themselves and their facilitators. Perhaps this well had run dry, or had become compromised, so they moved.
The suspect is fighting extradition - "I don't want to go." Well sure you don't Ahmad, you were selling heavenly martyrdom and 72 virgins in paradise, and instead you're looking at hell on earth in a US Federal 'super max' lockup (that makes Abu Ghraib look like a Sandals resort) where YOU are the virgin.
Get ready to learn why they call it the 'pokey' Ahmad...
Sandy Berger places an order to go...
In a story with actions so implausibly stupid we have to keep re-reading them to believe them, former Clinton NSA Sandy Berger absconded with materials from the National Archives related to the 9/11 Commission's investigation, and is currently under investigation for said theft by the DoJ.
Claiming that removing classified material was "incidental" and the result of "sloppiness", justification and prevarication began cascading from defensive Kerry campaign staff and former associates of Berger. Lanny Davis is especially hysterical, offering up his phony indignation to question the scurrilous character of whoever would intone that Berger took classified materials in his socks - in his shorts, jacket, pants, sure, but to suggest a man would steal things in his socks is apparently beneath the pale...
This is utterly preposterous. While the facts are not all in, it appears that he has admitted to removing documents - mind you, this isn't leaving a pair of nailclippers in your carry-on that you take through the baggage screening area, this is actively taking material and placing it on your person - a deliberate act that is not done for any other reason. Who would not notice walking around with half of a filing cabinet in your shorts? Would you not notice it in the car, when you got home, would you not immediately turn around and return said information?
This was a deliberate taking of information, either for purposes of discovery or obfuscation. He's admitted to "inadvertantly" losing some of what he "accidentally" took - like he took the bank teller's pen home. One can only imagine the consternation of the media if it was Condoleeza Rice taking documents - much less shoving them up her jumper and losing them.
You are left with either of two conclusions - one, that Sandy Berger, former National Security Advisor to the President, is a fool of comic proportions. Or two, that he acted with intent to take materials for reasons unknown. The former is too unbelievable. The latter creates more questions than answers - why take them, to what end, and who knew? And it gives every Vince Foster conspiracy navel-gazer a whole new breath of life...
This may be the biggest news story of the year. It appears The Plumbers may have returned...
Soon to be making fashionable holiday doilys for cell block H...
Martha Stewart will be relocating to a federal holiday college for five months followed by five months of enforced domestic servitude in a sentence handed down in connection to her trial conviction.
Her post-sentence remarks were a real gem. In a remarkably revealing display of vanglorious hubris, she remarked how during this "small personal matter'" - lying to federal investigators - she was "all the while more concerned about the well being of others than for myself". What a hero!
Martha goes on to plug her web site, name drop her company, hawk subscriptions to her magazine, and plea to advertisers. The only thing missing was her 800 number, with operators standing by...
Martha has zero reticence about what she has done wrong, indeed an utter failure to even acknowledge it. To Martha, telling the truth to the government is a personal choice - echoes of an impeachment gone by. Those who argue that her conviction violates the notion of self-incrimination are ignorant of law - there is a difference between refusing to incriminate yourself - pleading the fifth - and making deliberate mistatements to cover up your involvement in wrongdoing. Martha thinks she's entitled to her falsehoods.
Well, when they do her body-cavity search on prison check-in, maybe they can search for where Martha hid her conscience...
Bet they can't stop at just one...
Former Enron head Ken Lay is finally about to receive his just desserts - in the form of a criminal indictment.
Despite protestations of innocence - ridiculous in the extreme, considering his position - Lay will perform a speedy surrender to authorities worthy of the French.
It is important that Lay, along with other vulture capitalists who abuse the system with fraud and deception, pay a maximum price for poisoning the American economic well. The system works because there is trust in the system, and in the numbers. Poisoning the system renders it unreliable, and unreliable is the least favorite word of capital investors. It is incumbent for all unapologetic free market capitalists - we among them - to be vigilant in policing the excesses and abuses of the market, and demanding accountability and prosecution to the full extent of the law when abuses of our free market take place.
We can demand the invisible hand remain free, as long as it's not playing three-card Monte with the economy...
There is no defense for the insanity defense...
Continuing an unfortunate tendency in recent times to externalize responsibility for actions, a jury has acquitted a mother of stoning her three children, two of them to death.
One of the many broken pieces of our legal system which continually prevents us from calling it a justice system is the notion "not guilty by reason of insanity". Simple logic cries out for rectification of this nonsensical position - if nobody is guilty of the murder of these two precious children, is there a crime at all? How can she not be guilty of what she admits doing? Should the concept not be "guilty by reason of insanity"?
We should proceed from the shared assumption that all murders are the product of an unsound mind. Who wouldn't be insane to kill their own young children? But is it not equally unsound to kill another human being over $50 in a cash register? To kill because your affections were spurned? To kill because you hate someone of another color, or personal belief? Taking a life without just cause is an inherently unsound act.
The insanity defense attempts to further devolve into the world of the infantile, in knowing right from wrong. Whereas ignorance of the law is no defense, it is a defense when you commit murder.
In this specific case, how could the jurors not have been told that her justification for killing her children outright betrayed her state of mind and knowledge that what she was doing was wrong? God told her to do it - it is in this justification, this appeal to authority, that she admits knowledge from the fruit of the tree, that killing her children was wrong. Her act required an external authority to justify because the act by it's nature is wrong, she knew it, and justifies it because she claims it was spoken to here as God's will.
Nuts? Absolutely. But knowing right from wrong? Without a doubt.
Between the Laneys, Smiths, and Yates' of the world we see the narcissism of these crimes against their own children exposed. The crime always revolves around the accused - I was a bad mother, I wanted a new boyfriend, I was being spoken to by God, etc. These sadistic actions not only scream 'look at me', but betray a clear mindset that it's all about me.
Suffer the children...
The International Court of Justice - isn't that where the SuperFriends worked?
It appears that the United States has violated the rights of 51 Mexicans on death row by finding them guilty of crimes they committed.
The Internationcal Court of Justice has "ordered" Washington to review their cases, and a State Department spokesman stated that the Court's decision would be 'studied carefully' - then wadded up and throw into the brown plastic tub under his desk marked 'File 13'.
Alot of politics in this mess - internationalism, national soveriegnty, Euro-US enmity, and not the least of course death penalty politics. Mexico doesn't have the death penalty, though Mexican nationals in America have consistently appointed themselves judge, jury, and executioner of American police officers, people in their own beds, and of course, their own families.
This is an instance of opportunity for the Bush campaign to hang the albatross of the true nature of internationalism around the Kerry campaign's neck, as well as the death penalty topic, which is another area where Kerry will be on the defensive at some point during the campaign.
Judicial activism in this country has a bad enough reputation without importing it from Europe...