Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Al Martinez Went Off the Reservation With Civil Rights

My favorite columnist, Al Martinez, recently wrote a column entitled, “Civil liberties at stake in fearful times.” And, he started out doing a fine job until he ran off the reservation on a couple of points.

His first faux pas was attributing the Islamo-fascist threat to the actions of Pres. George Bush.

What President Bush inaugurated in the bloody deserts of the Middle East isn't a game. Lives are at risk when steel flies. And so is the soul of America.

I once wrote Al an e-mail listing all of the numerous Islamo-fascist terror attacks against America preceding 9/11 and the George W. Bush administration. Al seems to have a problem accepting the fact that Bush did not “inaugurate” the threat of Islamo-fascism that might well result in some civil liberty restrictions. To wit, the Islamo-fascist threat preceded the Iraq war, the war in Afghanistan and 9/11. I almost feel foolish mentioning it, but apparently a large segment of the American public just doesn’t get it. Did anyone read Usama bin Ladin’s fatwa in 1998?

Al’s second faux pas occurred when he equated the “terrorist threats” arrest of a 20 year old Los Angeles woman with the Islamo-fascist problem. Apparently the woman was arrested for Section 422 of the California Penal Code, which states,

422 PC Terrorist Threats
Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat even if there is no intent to actually carry it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.

The use of the word “terrorism” in regards to the CA law is unfortunate because it has nothing to do with terrorism in the sense of a violent act in furtherance of an attempt to elicit social or political change.

Referring to the woman’s case, Al writes,

The statute that got Annie into trouble was one of those post-9/11 state laws meant to deny the right of terrorists to go around shouting that they're going to blow us all into confetti, even though they display no weaponry.

One little problem with Al’s statement above is that CA 422 PC is not a “post-9/11 state law.” It has existed for many years, and the last iteration is dated effective January 1. 1999.

Al then mistakenly blends the very real problems of Islamo-fascism and the Patriot Act attempts to cope with the new third generational warfare with the CA422 PC.

As the dread of another Twin Towers looms over us like the dark cloud over the gloom-haunted Li'l Abner comic strip character Joe Btfsplk, the likelihood exists that vigilance will be ramped up to a shriek, the Patriot Act will be applied indiscriminately in the name of survival, state laws will place more foolish young girls behind bars and our enemies will have accomplished more than they had hoped for.

Yes, Al is correct that there will be calls for reductions in civil liberties when the Islamo-fascist attacks become more numerous. But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Israel has been plagued with Islamo-fascist attacks like no other country. And yet, Israel has not degenerated into a fascist state. There is no reason to assume that the U.S. would do any differently.

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Civil liberties at stake in fearful times