Malacandra.me

Let’s hope we do this right this time

Let's hope we do this right this time

by digby


Can I just say how important it is for this bombing suspect to be taken alive so that we can have a trial and a public airing of what happened through our civilized legal system? This is important for more than just the proper application of justice, which is the primary purpose. It's to demonstrate justice to everyone through a fair evaluation of all the facts and an application of the rule of law.

There are a good many people who likely think it is a waste of time and money. (The chatter on the right is truly depressing --- all the usual immigrant bashing and authoritarian impulses are on prominent display today.) But that's why it's a necessary exercise so that we can start to enfold our values and constitutional principles into our response to terrorist threats.

This particular case presents a challenge because this Boston Bombing and the aftermath is "domestic" in the sense that these were long time residents of America, the youngest of whom at least, was thought of by all his friends as an average American kid. They aren't all that different from Tim McVeigh in that sense, maybe even less alienated and more mainstream. On the other hand, it's possible they were motivated by international politics in which case a whole lot of people are going to claim they are foreigners and have no rights.

But as Chris Hayes pointed out the other day, the constitution doesn't apply just to Americans, it applies to America and that includes everyone in it.

Hopefully, this young man will be apprehended and tried in a court of law, in front of the world, so that Americans and everyone else can see the justice system working. It is far from perfect and who knows what the result will be, but it's better than accepting the logic that our cities are all war zones in the Global War on Terror and treating them accordingly. They aren't. And has been said so many times that it's embarrassingly trite, but still true: that means the terrorists win.

If you're a praying person or even if you're not, send out some thoughts that this ends with a capture and a trial. It's important for the health of our society and our body politic. Just as we rely on law enforcement and the legal system to bring the Aurora killer, Gabby Giffords' shooter and other mass killers to justice, we need to rely on them in these cases as well if we hope to keep our free society. Clearly, we're in an era of mass violence, whether it's from delusional madmen, sociopaths or political extremists. We need to determine what's causing it and do what we can to change it. But first and foremost, it's time we started using the systems we've developed over many centuries to deal with it. We must remember that this isn't an invasion from outer space --- these are just human beings.

We've confronted harder challenges in our history and we can confront this one too without completely losing our bearings. It's vital that we do this right this time.