Well it is the morning after and I am reflecting on all that has happened, what has been said, some of it incredibly stupid, some profound. My favorite came from my son last night when he said something to the effect of, “Bostonians rule. They will shut down their whole city to get the guys who bombed the marathon”. In other circles, people will criticize Boston for reacting this way to terrorists. I guess my thoughts are that I agree with my son. Lives are so much more important than a day’s worth of commerce. Boston is a close knit community and showed the rest of us how we ought to act. Can you imagine L.A. closing down for a day?
And then there was the absolute spectacle of Bostonians out in their streets applauding the FBI, DEA, ATF, State Police, Boston Police, Watertown Police, and Transit Police. It said something to the world and to those in this country who hate government. Our government is we the people and our police force are brave men and women trying very hard to serve their country. Boston showed us what it is to be a community.
Meanwhile in politician land, the Republicans are going to be quick to try an gin up more fear of terrorism emotions to distract us from their lack of any policy solutions for our country. Lindsey Graham, who has gone completely off the rails gave us, “If captured, I hope Administration will at least consider holding the Boston suspect as enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes“. There was also the wish for predator drones in the hunt (screw collateral damage). I thought conservatives revered the Constitution.
A New York State GOP legislator, Greg Ball tweeted, “So, scum bag #2 in custody. Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?” I guess he missed the study that showed it was counter productive, ineffective, and immoral, but then these are Republicans. Then there was Arkansas State Rep. Nate Bell (R) sent out an insensitive tweet Friday morning, asking “I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?” Yep, arm everyone, it would have prevented the bombing and the two suspects armed to the teeth, right?
But my favorite is from Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the most senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, when he opened a hearing on immigration legislation by stressing the issue’s importance “particularly in light of all that’s happening in Massachusetts right now and over the last week.” Yep, let us take one event of two very off the rail boys and apply it to the whole immigration issue. Well here is one for you Senator Grassley, when was the last time anyone from Mexico, Central, or South America bombed anyone. Neither argument is relevant, but you can be sure it will cloud the debate because their minds are already clouded by fuzy logic.
I am still holding on to my original thesis and I think our media is off the rails trying to find some international plot. Not that you shouldn’t look for one, but it should not be the all consuming narrative. In my mind this is a one-off thing where two American brothers, losers and maybe radicalized by separatists in their own country, decided to take their frustration out on Boston. See The Boston Tragedy and Some More Wild Speculation. This is really probably the new face of terrorist acts which is a combination of radicalized dogma, and Columbine/Newtown mentality, not some international plot. This could just as easily been some white supremacist or gun nut group with perceived grievances and trying to “take by their country” by making a statement.
Finally, I have some mixed emotions about the decision that the suspect would not be read his Miranda rights because the authorities would invoke the public safety exception* to question him extensively about other potential explosive devices or accomplices and to try to gain intelligence. Extensively probably means about 48 hours and then his Miranda Rights will be read to him. Now there are two issues. The first is that this could be challenged in court if he gave any information that incriminated himself and it was used in court. There are two rebuttals to that in that first, there really is a fear of other bombers out there or another plot, so it seems justified. Second is that the prosecuting attorney may have more than enough other information to convict him and anything he says under that exemption is really moot.
The other concern I have is that we are once again wavering from strict American jurisprudence. But I think the needs of public safety in this case override that and as been noted, it has been held up by the courts before. Forty-f is not 24/7 sleep deprivation and again the worst that could happen is that what he said could not be used in a court of law against him, but it could be used to act on if there are other threats. I don’t think there are, but, I think this is reasonable.
Now I will go turn on the TV and see how our media is mashing all this up.
*Under this exception, to be admissible in the government’s direct case at a trial, the questioning must not be “actually compelled by police conduct which overcame his will to resist,” and must be focused and limited, involving a situation “in which police officers ask questions reasonably prompted by a concern for the public safety.”
From the FBI website: The “public safety” exception to Miranda is a powerful tool with a modern application for law enforcement. When police officers are confronted by a concern for public safety, Miranda warnings need not be provided prior to asking questions directed at neutralizing an imminent threat, and voluntary statements made in response to such narrowly tailored questions can be admitted at trial. Once the questions turn from those designed to resolve the concern for safety to questions designed solely to elicit incriminating statements, the questioning falls outside the scope of the exception and within the traditional rules of Miranda.