Saturday, December 7, 2013

Violent Threats Are Not Terrorism

Have these morons never heard of the boy who cried wolf?  Twelve years of screaming "terrists" at every convenient shadow is already making it more difficult to deal with actual terrorism, and that's not counting the damage to the homefront of making every potential criminal a homegrown bin Laden.


Ok, this kid apparently deserves to be locked up. I'm certainly not defending his behavior. And they don't appear to be ready to send him to Gitmo. But if they're starting to call threats like this "terrorism" we are into a whole new realm in American criminal justice because we've just spent the last decade fashioning legal theories around the idea that "terrorism" is such a uniquely horrifying threat that we can no longer afford to follow constitutional principles. We've created prison camps, we've tortured, we've got people locked up for life without trial. We have created a massive surveillance apparatus that's blown a hole through the fourth amendment. "Terrorism" is a catch-all term for the government police authorities to pretty much throw the constitution out the window if it wants to.

I think everyone's been soothing themselves that this will only apply to immigrants and/or Muslims, so it's not a biggie. But that's very foolish. Once you give the government a rationale for throwing out the book, they're going to find ways to do it. This is why granting "exceptions" to the constitution for "bad men" is such a fatuous idea. The police would love to have the power to simply designate someone a "bad man" for whom the normal rules don't apply. Unfortunately, police aren't infallible and sometimes the "bad men" are the police themselves. That's why the old boys wrote the constitution and the Bill of Rights in the first place.
In combination with "predictive policing" based on NSA's comprehensive data on each and every one of us, it means we're all headed for Guantanamo; it's just a question of when.

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