Thursday, April 25, 2013
This summer marks my 20th anniversary of becoming a Libertarian. (Thanks Bill Clinton!) Over the years I’ve had plenty of opportunities to be stupefied by much of the political class and major world events. Usually I’m able to recognize the hypocrisy/irony of a situation and keep it in perspective. The events of the past 10 days or so here in Boston have left me incredulous, surprised and bereft - and far from objective.
The willful and deliberate acts that created the carnage on Marathon Monday and later in the week is something that I just don’t get. I don’t know that we’ll ever know the answer to “why.” I do know it’s outside of my scope of reasoning. It wasn’t for the media, however.
CNN speculated for hours and hours on virtually everything related to the case – giving far flung relatives open microphones (without any prior clearance) free reign to a world-wide audience. Fox News had a number of talking heads in a heated exchange over Immigration Reform with suspects who here in the US legally. MSNBC had a number of eggheads talking about Chechnya and their beef with Moscow when the suspects hadn't been there in over a decade. In each case: nothing factual - all supposition and conclusion based on a hypothetical. Seriously?
Friday’s lockdown caused massive upheaval in millions of people’s lives at a cost not yet determined. To find one guy. A bad guy to be sure. In fact, a really bad guy. What about the other bad guys – the serial rapists who haunt communities? Remember the snipers who were shooting random people in Washington DC? What about gangs who routinely terrorize neighborhoods killing dozens of people each week? This is the answer? Locking everybody in their homes? When the order was lifted nothing had changed. The bad guy was still loose!
Relief cascaded as the suspect was captured only to be replaced with the jaw dropping dumbfounded news that the (dead) suspect had been on the FBI radar for years. The Russians warned the CIA not once, but twice. Suspect #1 even spent six months in Russia recently according to Homeland Security – but that didn’t get into his FBI record because of a typo. TRILLIONS of dollars have been spent under two administrations over 12 years beefing up intelligence and security. Rights have disappeared. Emails are captured and read. Phone calls are tapped without warrants. Surveillance cameras are everywhere with more surely to come. This is what decades of future debt payments have bought? Seriously?
Once in custody – there has actually been a dialogue about whether this suspect would have his rights read to him. An American citizen accused of a crime in America is somehow not entitled to American rights? This was a debate for days and 9 days after the fact Suspect #2 still hasn't been read his rights. Politicians who raised their hand and swore to uphold the very Constitution that guarantees those rights were wrapping themselves into a pretzel figuring out how to thwart Due Process. Seriously?
The Rule of Law is what is supposed to distinguish the United States from the rest. It exists for the most evil amongst us to be treated equally under the law. That there was a question, indeed a serious dialogue about this underscores how far we are from the ideals we project.
I have no doubt that more legislation will pass trying (and failing) to eliminate future threats. Trillions more will be spent on enhanced surveillance on all Americans. Shutting down major metropolitan areas is now a standard response tactic. The outrage is that few will fight it. Seriously.