I never ceased to be amazed at how a crisis produces the best and the worst in humans. As I wrote last week, all the regional rivalries and politics were put aside to come together as one America. The guardians of respective law enforcement turfs joined forces and brought the Boston bombing case to a quick and successful resolution. For a brief period in time things couldn’t get any better.
As the case drew to a close, at least in identifying and apprehending the one remaining subject, things returned to normal. I got a kick out of one conservative radio talk show host with his usual union bashing. What he probably didn’t realize is that the Boston Police Department, like most police departments in the northeast, is unionized. The union bashers usually hurl insults at the unionized workers with pejoratives of how lazy they are, that they are underworked and overpaid, can’t be fired, etc. (To be clear I am well aware of union abuses, most now in the past and which needed to be corrected. The pendulum of power had drifted too far at one point to the unions advantage, but that same pendulum has swung in the other direction in our history too, and is in that direction now---a subject for another blog.) Can anyone say that the police officers in Boston acted with anything less than full professionalism despite being unionized?
Then there was the conservative talk show host with absolutely no background in law enforcement, the study of law, or experience with the criminal justice system, who condemned the “liberals”, “lefties”, ACLU and anyone else who had a problem with not giving the surviving terrorist Miranda warnings. Most criminals in the custody of law enforcement waive their rights. Surprisingly, even thugs experienced with the system will very commonly waive their rights. As I write this I understand that the Boston terrorist asked for a lawyer after he was giving Miranda warnings. What I am unclear about is whether those warnings were given to him by the magistrate judge at the hospital at the terrorist’s initial appearance. While we don’t really know how much the terrorist has revealed, we do know that a very strong prosecutable case can be made without a peep from him. We also know from a very thorough investigation by the FBI, CIA, and other law enforcement agencies if these two terrorists had any sponsorship from foreign countries or al –Qaida.
The same “expert” on Miranda and the Obama administration’s failure to understand the law in this area, also argued that the terrorist should be water-boarded and tried by a military tribunal. What he doesn’t know is that the federal courts have dished out justice far harsher than the tribunals have to date, and that the trials have occurred much more swiftly. As for his advocacy of water-boarding I have to wonder how he considers himself such a great American with his disregard for using torture as a legitimate technique to get information. I know many out there don’t consider it torture, but I do and have seen it done when I went through survival school. A local journalist once wrote that he did not consider water-boarding torture. I found a half dozen people who offered to pony up $10 each, after the first two seconds, for each second he could hold out undergoing the treatment. I even suggested that we make it a big news event so that he could prove that it wasn’t torture. He declined.
We need perspective on what happened in Boston. I am all in favor of executing anyone who plants bombs or engages in mass murders of any kind. But I also believe that if we are to call ourselves a nation of laws, a nation that has been the envy of the world because we do follow the rule of law, then we must never stoop to the tactics of the evildoers and ignore one of the things that has made our country so great. I might add that the Waco, TX ammonia plant explosion that occurred the same day as the Boston bombings killed far more people and did exponentially more property damage. I heard not one peep from the same radio pundits about how safety regulations were seemingly not observed, and that no inspections had occurred for years. I guess it’s because safety regulations kill jobs, not people.