10 July 2016

The Enemy is Us

Two subjects:

First, the Hillary email mess. Several Republican friends (no, not an oxymoron) have asked my reaction to the Comey findings. Here is how I responded:

“As I see it, this is an election between a sentient but sleazy adult and a clinically egomanic destructive child. I plan to vote for the grownup.”

That much is easy.  Now to the hard stuff. I beat an old drum:

On November 9, 2009, Major Nidal Hassan killed 13 and injured 30 soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas.  When arrested, he confessed, and said he was inspired to kill as many people as he could, and was instructed how to do so, by an internet magazine published by Al Qaeda. It was and is freely available in this country, though illegal in Britain.

On May 1, 2010, Faisal Shazad planted a car bomb in crowded Times Square. Because he was incompetent, it fizzled and did not explode, else scores, perhaps hundreds would have been killed or injured. Shazad admitted being inspired to plant the bomb, and instructed how to do so, by the same internet magazine.

On April 15, 2013, the Tsarnaev brothers killed 3 and injured 265 people at the Boston Marathon. One brother was killed and the other captured. He said they were inspired to make the bombs, and instructed how to do so, by the same internet magazine.

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 and wounded another 50 people in Orlando, FL. The New York Times reported he was “inspired by radical material he found online”. President Obama, the former law professor, hedged when he said “One of our biggest challenges was this kind of ‘propaganda’ you see on the internet.”  As I wrote before, in this instance, “propaganda” was a weasel word for ‘‘incitement”.

On July 8, 2016, Micah Johnson, a less-than-honorably-discharged army reservist shot and killed five Dallas policemen.  Inquiry has shown Johnson “liked” two Facebook pages belonging to organizations led by people who urged the killing of the “blue-shirted white pigs.”

Is it really okay to incite and encourage mass murder?  Despite the views of some academicians and ACLUers,  I don’t think so.

The Supreme Court last addressed this issue in 1969, and even then it said we could prosecute speech that is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” In other words, to be illegal, the speech must not only encourage murder, but must be "likely" to produce murder. My guess is, given current events, the court today would tilt more towards protecting us from the terrorists. But even given that 35 year old standard, why doesn’t our government move against inciteful language directed toward killing people?  Do we really need to wait until the bodies are removed to the morgue before we conclude the incitement to kill was “likely” to be successful? Does that make any sense?  Not to me. It’s as if our law enforcement establishment were wearing a weird form of self-imposed blinders: We cannot stop the people who are conspiring to incite murder until after their disciples are done murdering. Huh?

My message to Mr. Comey, Loretta Lynch, and the Congress:

Enough with the fucking emails already. Rome is burning.