The Holocaust Museum and Domestic Hate Crimes

Update: Here's the complaint charging von Brunn with murder.

CBS Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen writes in Vanity Fair today on the Holocaust museum shooting and state of domestic hate crimes.

Hate—and hateful, violent action—is on the rise not in response to government’s gross negligence (Waco) or overzealousness (Ruby Ridge), but because of who our current leaders are, what they stand for, and the policy choices they are making. [More...]

Unless conservatives, liberals, and independents honestly and candidly and bravely address this threat together, I fear things are again going to get worse before they get better. That means there is no longer any place in mainstream, legitimate commentary for people to deny that there is a big problem, to ignore where it is coming from, or to pretend that the government’s efforts to raise the alarm are anything but earnest.

Columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson goes even further, blaming "lax law enforcement:

One answer is that von Brunn and the thousands of others that rant, rail, and spew hate in speeches, on websites, in videos and in their fringe, kooky publications are simply exercising their first amendment right; a right that can't be abridged no matter how scary they sound. von Bunn has that right.

The other answer is that even when the von Brunns are known tracked, monitored and surveilled and worse commit hate acts, they often evade full punishment. This has nothing to do with the First Amendment, but rather muddled, confused, and outright lax enforcement and prosecution of hate acts. The FBI and local law enforcement agencies long knew about von Brunn's propensity for violence. But even if he had committed a violent act in his home state of Maryland he still might not have been prosecuted under state and especially federal hate crime statutes.

Federal prosecutors are loath to step on the toes of police and prosecutors in criminal cases no matter how badly the crime is tainted by race, gender or religious hatred. Federal prosecutors flatly say that the hate perpetrators are more likely to be convicted and get stiff sentences in state court. That makes good legal and political sense.

Of course, I disagree with Hutchinson. The last thing we need are more crimes and prosecutions based on thoughts instead of actions. This is a very slippery slope.

I'll be talking about von Brunn and domestic terrorists today with my pal lawyer Mickey Sherman on his radio show, Sherman's Law. We'll also be talking about whether we would represent von Brunn (in keeping with the theme of his book, How Can You Defend Those People?) It will be around 4:05 pm ET on WCGH-AM (CT and NY) and will also stream live online.

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    You keep alluding to "thought crime" (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:27:15 PM EST
    in this context. But I'm convinced that that's a red herring.

    Every hate crime that I'm aware of still requires actus reus. We're just expanding the examination of mens rea.

    Please please please.... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:29:50 PM EST
    no new criminal laws...I believe this is already covered under murder.

    What evidence is there that hate and hateful violent action is on the rise anyway?  People have been hating and killing each other since we lived in caves...In fact my guess would be it has gone down over the past couple hundred years...like a lot of crime it only feels like its on the rise because of the 24/7 drive-by media.

    what evidence? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:43:15 PM EST
    it only every where you look.

    like here

    Homegrown hate groups increase in number
    Watchdog group blames recession, election of first black president

    and here

    SPLC's Intelligence Report: Hate Group Numbers Rise Again
    Posted in Hate Groups, Year-End by Mark Potok on February 28, 2009

    I could go on all day but hopefully that makes the point


    I guess I left out the most obvious (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:59:46 PM EST
    Hate groups and right wing extremists are using Americans' concern about undocumented immigration, the current economic downtown, and the election of the first African-American president to gain new recruits, according to a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report leaked last week.

    commissioned by a right wing republican administration that is not really part of the "24/7 drive by media"


    That is membership in "hate groups"... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:21:30 PM EST
    My unscientific opinion is that 100 years ago most every southern government office, police dept., and chamber of commerce was a hate group, and half the ones up north...how could membership in hate groups be rising? It defies logic.  Maybe it is up from 10 years ago, but we're still way ahead in the game as opposed to 100 years ago, or even 50.

    Hateful violent action is a different animal than membership in some jerk-off hate organization.  Sh*t I'll defend someone's inalienable right to hate, I'm only concerned with hateful violent action...and we have the laws against violence to adequately address it.  But unfortunately it will continue to happen as long as humans are human.


    if you had read the stuff (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:29:28 PM EST
    you would see we are not just talking about membership

    Barack Obama's election as US President has provoked a rise in hate crimes against ethnic minorities, civil rights groups have said.

    Hundreds of incidents of abuse or intimidation apparently motivated by racial hatred have been reported since the November 4 election,

    Activists note that anti-gay hate crimes are on the rise nationally.
    In 2008 alone, there was a spike in violent crime against LGBT people.

    Ya got me... (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:54:28 PM EST
    I only glanced.  Still...you think more gay people got f*cked with for being gay in 2008 than 1980?  Or immigrants?  Or minorities?  In my old neighborhood, in 1980, the brown-skinned had to run to the bus stop out the factories before sundown to make it outta town unscathed...and god help you if anybody guessed you gay, you'd get a daily beating from the neighborhood knuckleheads.  Different world today...things are getting better.  But we'll never be totally rid of the hateful knuckleheads.

    I still gotta wonder about the stats...was a crime reported as a run of the mill assault in 1980 or 1990 now being reported as a hate crime?  Doesn't every violent crime involve hate?  It sure as hell don't involve any love.


    dude (none / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:56:15 PM EST
    I love ya but you are in denial

    sorry (none / 0) (#28)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:58:58 PM EST
    but if it was one source or one report saying this you might have a point.  it is not.  quite simply every source that tracks this stuff says its on the rise.  and not slowly.
    and as far as the drive by media, when was the last time you even heard reported a violent crime against a gay person, for example, since Matthew Sheppard I mean?

    Love you too man... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 03:43:16 PM EST
    I hope ya know I'm not f*ckin' with ya...I seriously have a hard time believing violent hateful action is more of a problem than its ever been, but as always, what the hell do I know.  

    As long as it is against the law to murder and assault, that is the best we can do...I certainly don't want the advocacy groups, as noble as their intentions may be, giving the govt. license for new domestic law enforcement powers...they have enough.


    Not all time high (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by blueaura on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 04:10:29 PM EST
    I don't think anyone claimed they were at an all time high, which is what you seem to be arguing against. So you're arguing against an unmade claim. Something can be "on the rise" without being at an historical peak. Gas prices are on the rise, and yet they have been higher.

    When something is trending upward, it can indicate a problem that needs to be dealt with. Why wait until a problem breaks a record before moving to correct it? That's senseless.


    well (none / 0) (#38)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 04:16:37 PM EST

    There are more suspected hate groups in the United States now than ever in recorded history


    Well... (none / 0) (#41)
    by blueaura on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 04:40:48 PM EST
    I think that's just an effect of the times. It's a lot easier to organize people with like interests than it ever has been before. And any yahoo with an Internet connection can throw up a web page and have a "hate group" in no time. I don't think the number of hate groups necessarily correlates to number of hate crimes.

    That doesn't mean I don't think it's a problem, but I don't think we're setting any records for hate crimes now. And I hope we can reign them in before we do.


    I dont (none / 0) (#42)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 04:59:28 PM EST
    disagree.  I was just reading that when you posted that comment.

    Point taken... (none / 0) (#46)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 06:21:19 PM EST
    I may have sensed a tone that wasn't there...that this was some grave new threat or something.

    And I don't really see how you can even attempt to "correct it" without getting tyrannical with new criminal laws.  White supremacists or Islam supremacists or any supremacists are hard to reason with when they get set in their ways...and ya can't lock 'em up for sick views alone.  I surely don't want the govt. to have increased domestic spying powers, or more FBI undercovers talking people into getting violent to make a case against them.  So what do you do?  Try to teach the kids to be non-violent, prosecute sickos when they get violent...I'm afraid thats the best we can do.    


    no new laws (none / 0) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 04:07:47 PM EST
    for me, I think we are currently in a perfect building storm for this stuff.
    I hope I am wrong and you are right.

    I thnk you're correct, too. (none / 0) (#47)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 08:47:59 PM EST
    Last assassination of a doc doing abortions: 1999.

    Then came the Bush (again) years, and the right thought -- and said so -- that it had won back control, the White House, not for just two terms but many terms ahead.  Libruls were dead, they said.

    Then the Dems arose from the dead . . . and the right regrouped, and in a matter of months since Dems took back the White House, again we have an assassination of an abortion doctor, for one, as well as the Holocaust museum attack and more.

    I think this is only the start -- unless this White House cracks down.  It was good to read Obama's words yesterday about the Holocaust museum attacks, as they were more forceful than his words on the assassination of Dr. Tiller.  Maybe Obama is getting it.  But I fear that we will see more attacks before we get to see if that is so.  Words are one thing, good as he is at words, but actions are another.


    O had just been in Germany remember, for DDay (none / 0) (#51)
    by nycstray on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 02:31:55 AM EST
    and he has that "personal" connection. With Dr Tiller . . .  not so much.

    Huh, if he has to leave the country (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Cream City on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 03:50:11 PM EST
    to learn to relate to a lot of the American people, we're in trouble.  

    Btw, I don't suppose it occurred to him, as it occurs to so few, that the majority of people slaughtered by the Nazis were female. . . .


    btw (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:47:52 PM EST
    no new law are needed.  just the enforcement of the ones that exist would probably do just fine.



    And the laws now are scary (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:47:39 PM EST
    considering the president's stand on FISA, for example.  He/we already have given up our privacy, and the gummint can pry into everything about any group already.

    If the problem is that the president and all under him in the gummint are using these awful powers only to pry into left-wing groups and not right-wing groups, that's another problem entirely.  That's a problem that only another election can fix.


    exactly (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:29:19 PM EST
    Voice of reason. (none / 0) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:49:20 PM EST
    I live in the heart (none / 0) (#13)
    by SOS on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:24:08 PM EST
    of the Wingnut Territory the MSM likes to pitch as the most dangerous place on earth and the breeding ground of right wing terrorism 24/7.

    If it's on the rise we haven't noticed. Liberals shop, sip lattes, progressives park their BMW's in enclosed parking, and tattoo etched wingnuts chugging bad beer drive by on their way home from work, or arrive to lay brick on Saks new patio frontage. With the exception of the Tiller murder not much to report lately.


    and the three (none / 0) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:33:21 PM EST
    police officers in pittsburg and the museum guard yesterday.

    nothing to see here.


    oh (none / 0) (#20)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:34:41 PM EST
    and the recruiter in Little Rock the other day.

    As I read it, Hutchinson is bemoaning (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:20:41 PM EST
    the lack of convictions for acts, not thoughts; I can't really fault him - or anyone - for suggesting that we need to be better at investigating, enforcing and following through on the laws we have.  

    Take the murder of George Tiller as an example.  Scott Roeder had vandalized George Tiller's clinic as many as four times before he killed the doctor - the last time, he was seen by clinic workers the day before the shooting trying to superglue the locks.  The FBI was contacted and reportedly told clinic workers that it was reluctant to proceed on violations of the FACE Act because they would have had to convene a grand jury and get warrants.  Oh, my - what an imposition that would be.  I would have thought that would be the bailiwick of DOJ, but someone can correct me if I'm wrong.  Just imagine, though, being George Tiller's family and wondering if he would be alive today if the FBI had not been so "reluctant."  Why even have a FACE Act, if it's not going to be enforced?

    Should Scott Roeder have been brought in for questioning in connection with the vandalism?  A lot of people think so.  And that has nothing to do with what he was thinking, but with what people saw him do, and that what he was seen doing was in an effort to interfere with access to Tiller's clinic.

    No, we sure do not need people being arrested for what they think, or what they might do - which I think is the whole preventive detention approach - but shouldn't the system deal with what people have actually done, or are accused of doing, at least, and let the courts decide what happens next?

    Any idea what percentage of (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:25:10 PM EST
    women murdered by spouses/ex-spouses/boyfriends/ex-boyfriends had protection orders against the guys? These may well be the people most likely to carry out a threat of murder, and the laws protect them because they have only said they were going to do it.

    I had to ask that about restraining orders (none / 0) (#25)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:54:55 PM EST
    a few years ago.  Not a domestic violence situation but a student stalking me.  (A terrifying experience; he was a convicted felon. . . .)

    I was worried about making the guy even crazier.  I couldn't get good answers from several sources I tried, so I finally contacted a very good judge in my town.  He told me to go ahead, as in his long experience, the TROs worked almost all of the time.

    I went ahead, I got my day in court with my very good lawyer and another very good judge (who had me wait until the end to empty out the seats, I think, to ease the awful experience of talking about all that the guy had done to terrorize me, my kids, endanger my custody of them, endanger my job by making me look bad by posting obscenities about me at my workplace, etc.).  And they did a good job of making it clear to the guy to leave me alone.  And he did.


    The sad truth is that a protection (none / 0) (#27)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:56:18 PM EST
    order is no protection against someone who doesn't care about breaking the law - and I don't think those who beat up their spouses/significant others/children are people who care a whole lot about not breaking the law.

    Does that mean we need laws that make threatening someone with bodily harm or death an offense for which jail time is possible if convicted?  I don't know - I can see a lot of problems with it.  Although threatening a federal official, a judge or the president is a crime - what makes them more special, I wonder?


    I feel that (none / 0) (#33)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 03:52:30 PM EST
    unless such a law protects absolutely everyone who is threatened, it shouldn't be considered at all.

    I get very irritated by suggestions that certain groups/people (never women) deserve to have a law protecting them from threats.


    I Think the Rising Level of Hatred (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by bob h on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 03:20:55 PM EST
    is a barometer of Obama's success and acceptance.  It is clear, at least to me, that he will be the most consequential President since Roosevelt.  Hysterical Conservatives see the lights going out for a generation; sick white people see white authority, privilege, and prestige declining.

    Had Obama shown himself to be an assclown on the order of George W., there would not be this rising tide of hate.

    yep (5.00 / 0) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 03:27:13 PM EST
    it started with his skin color and is increasing because of his policies.
    and will only increase. and increase.

    Not buying it (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 04:26:28 PM EST
    its a charade: the thugs agree to bluster about creeping socialism, taxes and "big govt" for four or eight years the way they've been doing practically since the end of WWII, and the other side pretends to play the voice of rationality and enlightened self interest while still supporting a trillion dollar defense budget and kowtowing -- the way the thugs do -- to fundamentalist crypto-Klansman, end-times settlers
    and holy perderasts; with nothing truely significant being accomplished unless and until a few hundred thousand people have taken to the streets for at least a couple of years.

    Then they take turns. Then they all meet at "the club" at the end of the day.


    certainly we dont need (none / 0) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:07:30 PM EST
    prosecutions based on thoughts but this guy had plenty of actions on his resume that should have gotten law enforcements attention.

    it is a difficult moral and ethical problem.  but I do not disagree with the writer.

    IMO he is entitled to the best defense available.  if that is you I admire you for doing it.

    just put this (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:11:04 PM EST
    in another thread

    A Suspect's Long History of Hate
    By Darryl Fears and Marc Fisher
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    James W. von Brunn was growing despondent.
    John de Nugent, an acquaintance who describes himself as a white separatist, noticed the change when they last spoke two weeks ago.  

    He was about to give away his computer, his primary connection to the fringe world of radical racists. He was living hand to mouth.

    The e-mails were getting violent in tone: "It's time to kill all the Jews."

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, has kept an eye on him since 1981

    "We had multiple entries on this guy," said Heidi Beirich, the center's director of research.

    De Nugent called von Brunn a genius but described the shooting as the act of "a loner and a hothead."

    "The responsible white separatist community condemns this," he said. "It makes us look bad."


    there you have it.  he condemns it because it makes them look bad.
    and he made sure he reinforced the "loner" BS.


    Alleging that hate crimes are (none / 0) (#3)
    by Joelarama on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:14:34 PM EST
    based on thoughts and not actions is simply incorrect.  And it's the kind of rhetoric that I'd expect from a right winger.

    Answer this Jeralyn:

    Would you have been for or against a federal anti-lynching statute in the 1940s?

    Yes but, ... (none / 0) (#5)
    by koshembos on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 01:28:22 PM EST
    In principle Cohen and Hutchinson are right but also way incomplete. Hate should be listed by the FDA as a basic food humans consume. There are seldom individuals who are totally and completely devoid of hate.

    Reading the better part of the Netroots one encounters hate time and again. For instance, the New Republic is hated (just a slightly below average magazine with some NeuCon material), AIPAC is the enemy of the people (just another lobbying body with opinions not very moderate), Rahm (instead of Obama, he serves as a piñata), etc.

    Surely, I can come up with a much longer list, but that's enough to spread the garbage of hate from wall to wall.

    Well, (none / 0) (#19)
    by bocajeff on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:34:00 PM EST
    What is sad is that even though there are nuts running loose and killing some people, let's not lose focus on the numbers. There are more people killed on a given weekend in one major city than will be killed by a right or left wing hate group.

    As sad as it is to have to see a security guard, a military recruiter, and a late-term abortion doctor murdered it is just three people. Think three teens will be killed in Chicago, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Oakland this weekend???? Around 50 people died in the L.A. riots in '92.

    The murder of an abortion doctor (none / 0) (#37)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 04:16:19 PM EST
    affects the health care of 50% of American citizens.

    Dr. Tiller's assassination reaches far beyond the life of one person.


    please don't redirect the topic (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 05:40:10 PM EST
    to abortion. This is about the Holocaust museum shooter.

    Well to be fair (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 04:34:12 PM EST
    his death affects the health care of some small fraction of 1% of American citizens.

    To be fair (none / 0) (#43)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 05:25:54 PM EST
    any woman, even girls, can be raped and need an abortion. This doesn't just affect the women that need late term abortions, it's affects all women.

    Terroristic anti-abortionists make it unsafe to go to any abortion clinic in the country, even if you're just there to get an inexpensive  women's annual health exam.

    Please don't minimize the horrific effect of domestic terrorism.


    I'm trying to minimize the hyperbole. (none / 0) (#44)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 05:29:07 PM EST
    Somehow I don't think we're not going to agree on this one...

    "prosecutions based on thoughts" (none / 0) (#23)
    by tokin librul on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:48:21 PM EST

    Calling it a "hate crime" is a euphemism for the long-acknowledged mitigating factor of 'premeditation.' Calling something a hate crime is to say that this was not a spontaneous act, but an act that required conscious PREVIOUS decisions be made, prior to actual fatal (e.g.) deed.


    where's individual responsibility (none / 0) (#31)
    by diogenes on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 03:43:05 PM EST
    Oh--someone kills people at the Holocaust Museum and it's SOCIETY's fault.  
    Reminds me of Officer Kruptke in West Side Story.  

    Here's a good way to ensure we are safe from (none / 0) (#36)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 04:11:50 PM EST
    anti-choice terrorists and the extremists who incite them to violence.

       Protection From Anti-choice Terrorists

    Hate crimes are a serious business (none / 0) (#48)
    by downtownted on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 08:48:38 PM EST
    The hate crime terrorists in the United States were left alone by Bush/Cheney and the Republicans. Maybe because they are such a big part of the "Republican Base" Maybe not. Maybe the reason is more sinister. Because these are very bad actors. How Bad

    Read Orcinus, http://www.dneiwert.blogspot.com/, David Neiwert's exceptional blog on the very dangerous crazies among us.

    Paranoia will destroy you (none / 0) (#49)
    by diogenes on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 09:04:25 PM EST
    Exactly how many people have been killed by abortion doc assasinators, holocaust museum attackers, etc.  Timothy McVeigh bombed Oklahoma City in the mid 1990's, in the Clinton years.  One Al Qaida suicide bomber in Iraq or Pakistan kills more people than all the American domestic terrorists combined.  

    With terrorism, the number of people (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 10:41:58 PM EST
    killed isn't the only objective; changing the behavior of the rest of the population is a primary goal. The Holocaust Museum represents society's horror and rejection of the Nazi torture and killing of Jews and gays. For anti-Semitics and holocaust deniers, destroying the museum is more important than taking the life of one person. How many schools are going to rethink their plans for taking kids there next year? How many parents will realize that it's a target for crazies and not risk a visit? How many security guards, tour guides and office staff are going to refuse to work there now? Surely it's going to cost a lot more to staff the museum now. The effects of this one murder are far reaching.

    The same goes for the attacks on abortion clinics. Many women go to those clinics to receive low cost women's health exams and contraception, not abortions. How crazy is it that the place you go for health care is a target for terrorists?

    The recent violent attacks across the nation could very well be caused by extremists feeling pushed over the edge because we have a black president who is nominating a Latina woman to be on the Supreme Court, even though she's a racist herself according to the right wing websites, talk shows and news.


    an observation (none / 0) (#52)
    by Bemused on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:01:26 AM EST
      This  site and many commenters rail against the ideas of monitoring convicted sex offenders. Concern for their perceived rights and liberties leads people to denounce to denounce actions taken in the name of protecting others from the possibility of future harm.

       I'm curious as to how concern for the perceived rights and liberties of people with anti-social thoughts and beliefs is does not lead to denunciation of actions taken in the name of protecting others from the possibility of future harm.

      Principles are principles, aren't they? Or, perhaps, we're not all that enamored of principles and more concerned with politcs.

    I have talked about (none / 0) (#53)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:16:18 AM EST
    what I believe is the flawed system of tracking so called sex offenders.  I say so called because I know people who are being tracked who do not warrant it.

    having said that.  if the trade off for monitoring dangerous right wing fanatics is that some people who do not warrant tracking as sex offenders get tracked, so be it.

    and I say that as someone who has a relative that I care very much about who is caught up in the "sex offender" system.

    speaking only for me.


    Yes sir... (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:35:49 AM EST
    principles are principles...I don't want the government monitoring any free person.  If there is probable cause a crime is going down, thats one thing...but absent that every bigot should be free to hate to their heart's content.  A wart of freedom, if you will...but still so very much worth it.

    Beat these bastards with better ideas...not phone taps and undercovers and government harassment...that sh*t only makes 'em look like the oppressed underdog anyway, and is likely to draw sympathy instead of the scorn they so richly deserve.


    I agree with you except (none / 0) (#59)
    by Bemused on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:54:55 AM EST
     for the part about beating them with better ideas. We should hope to limit their recruitment and retention perhaps, but nuts who want to  kill people aren't easy to persude with good ideas.

    I agree... (none / 0) (#61)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 11:04:14 AM EST
    once these clowns are set in their beliefs, almost impossible to get them to see the error in their ways.  

    The way to limit recruitment is beating their ideas with ours, to the eyes and ears of those still discovering their ways and beliefs.  Not something that can be done overnight, to be sure.

    I don't think another Ruby Ridge helps.


    would you not agree, though (none / 0) (#54)
    by Bemused on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:19:47 AM EST
      that a  tracking system for people believed to harbor thoughts which make them a potential threat would likely be at least as flawed and probably much more flawed than one for persons who have been convicted of offenses?

    I wont deny the possibility (none / 0) (#55)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:25:51 AM EST
    but I know what is involved.  it is sometimes embarrassing sometimes inconvenient.  it is not the end of the world.  I honestly dont even think some of the same issues would apply.  for example I would not expect them to tell someone on a "watchlist" or whatever where they could live.

    the short version of the story for me is that I am scared $hitless.  and I am willing to accept someone being inconvenienced and even embarrassed to save lives.

    I hate to say that but its how I feel.


    Not for nothing.... (none / 0) (#58)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:50:57 AM EST
    that is what was said when they rounded up a bunch of brown people after 9/11..."I'm scared, lets through our principles out the window."

    I guess one could say what is good for the goose is good for the gander...but I lean towards letting freedom ring and come what may.


    also (none / 0) (#60)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 11:01:14 AM EST
    you said "persons who have been convicted of offenses"

    I think that is who need, if anyone needs it, to be tracked.  in both instances.

    the guy who shot the museum guards and at one point tried to burst into a meeting of the federal reserve board with a gun with the intent of taking hostages.  quite apart from all his other crazy talk and actions.

    that person warrants tracking IMO.


    limiting monitoring to those convicted (none / 0) (#62)
    by Bemused on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 11:19:04 AM EST
     is a better approach in my opinion than simply permitting monitoring of anyone deemed to have dangerous ideas, but that would really not do a lot more than make that system only as flawed as the sex offender system.

     For example, a huge problem with sex offender registries is the categorical approach leading a 18 year old who got in trouble with his only slightly younger but still underage girlfriend to be required to register the same as the 45 year old who forcibly raped a child.

      Would that approach lead to cases of young people who spontaneously screamed a racial or ethnic epithet during a fight being on the "list"?

       a more acceptable solution might be permitting longer or even life terms of parole/supervidsed release for a limited number of violent offenses with aggravating factors, where express factual findings supported by evidence presented at an adversary hearing establishes an extraordinary term of supervision following release.


    I never meant to advocate (none / 0) (#63)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 11:31:11 AM EST
    tracking of those with dangerous ideas.  I have no doubt I have ideas that some might consider dangerous (even if I dont espouse them on a website. which I honestly think could in some cases warrant further monitoring - I did not say detainment, restriction or interference).  actions are a different story IMO.

    with the nutcases who make headlines it always seems to be the same story.  long history of run-ins with law enforcement who just shuffled them around or off the radar.
    I think the guy yesterday is pretty much a text book example.  he should not have only been on the radar of the SPLC he should have been on the radar of law enforcement.


    that's fine (none / 0) (#56)
    by Bemused on Fri Jun 12, 2009 at 10:33:16 AM EST
     You are entitled to your feelings and to base your policy preferences upon them. All I am suggesting is that people acknowledge both the direct consequnces of policies they support and the broader ramifications of such policies in analogous applications and that they admit when it is pure pragmatism (whether benign situational or  politically inspired) and not some deep commitment to  principle motivating them.