Times Square Pt. 2 — Second, Fifth, Sixth Amendment Rights attacked

In the immediate aftermath of the failed Times Square bombing, the fundamental right to a fair trial by jury was sought to be jettisoned by those who adhere to the philosophy that whatever rights need to be sacrificed in order to “make us safe,” must be sacrificed.  Some even called for the citizenship of a US citizen merely accused of committing an act of terrorism, to be summarily stripped in order to prosecute them in a military tribunal instead of a civilian court.  In such a setting, the “Great Writ” of habeas corpus would be discarded in order to “streamline” the prosecution of accused terrorists.

Now that these security-above-all advocates have had a few more days to think about it, two more of our heretofore cherished rights rest in their gunsights as impediments to  the so-called “global war on terror.”  The freedom to exercise one’s right guaranteed under the Second Amendment to possess a firearm, and the rights to be free from incriminating oneself and to have legal counsel — as guaranteed under the Fifth  and Sixth Amendments — would be limited under a new “terrorism exception.”

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, long an advocate for the most pinched and narrow interpretation possible for the individual right to “keep and bear arms,” is of course leading the fight to further erode this fundamental liberty.  In the wake of the Times Square incident, His Honor has renewed calls for a statutory prohibition to purchase a firearm for anyone on a “terrorist watch list.”  The mayor even coined a cute, but utterly inappropriate phrase for what he considers a gross deficiency in federal laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other explicit categories of dangerous persons.  The fact that a person whose name might appear on a secret government “terror watch list” is not now prohibited — based on that alone – from purchasing a firearm (as is a person who has actually been convicted of a crime).  This “loophole” illustrates what Bloomberg calls the “terror gap.”

The fact is, persons whose names appear on various government watch lists have not been proved to have been convicted of anything; nor have they been adjudged mentally incompetent, surrendered their US citizenship, or been dishonorably discharged from the military (all categories that under present law prevent one from purchasing a firearm commercially).  Persons on watch lists simply have been deemed by one or more government bureaucrats or agencies to be a “threat.”  Yet that is enough for New York’s mayor and others who have long disdained the freedom represented by the Second Amendment, to deny such persons the fundamental human right of self defense.

With regard to the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to be free from unknowingly providing the government evidence to be used to convict a person, and to have meaningful assistance of a lawyer in criminal proceedings, the vehicle the security-at-all-costs advocates have selected with which to attack these rights is the ever-popular-to-beat-up “Miranda warning.”  Parroting the mischaracterization of such rights as contained in the famous, 1960s-era Miranda Supreme Court decision as  a mere “technicality,” advocates from the Attorney General on down are proposing to carve out a “terrorism exception.”  In this scenario, whenever a person is suspected of having committed an act of “terrorism,” he or she could be questioned by the authorities without being apprised that they do not have to do so without first being able to consult privately with a lawyer (which is even now permitted in a bona fide emergency situation).

A major problem here is that the number of offenses that fall under the umbrella of “terrorism” offenses, is extremely large; and goes far beyond those represented by the Times Square and Christmas Eve underwear bombers.  Persons who might be engaged in a protest of domestic policies, such as the operation of an abortion clinic, and who do not engage in violence but might physically impede access to a clinic, might very well fall within a police officer’s or a prosecutor’s interpretation of an act of “domestic terrorism.”  Denying such person the fundamental right to consult with an attorney before being interrogated by police, would make as much sense as asserting that a person should be denied the right to purchase a firearm simply because a government investigator has decided a person is a “threat.”

Hopefully, before such myopic and wholly unnecessary limitations on our Bill of Rights are enshrined in law, what true constitutionalists remain in the Congress will make their voices heard and stop such dangerous tinkering with these vital liberties.

32 comments Add your comment

PinkoNeoConLibertarian

May 12th, 2010
7:19 am

Preach it, Brother! Oops. I mean, shout it from the mountaintops!

Chris Broe

May 12th, 2010
7:30 am

France supplied all the gunpowder for our Minute Men during our Revolution against the King. The King thought the 2nd amendment was not worth a continental damn. When congress seconds motions to short-change our bill of rights, a citizen should imagine that the King is still there, nickel-and-diming our liberties by sending troops to quarter in our homes.

The point of the constitution is that the enemy is always just us. We can’t be trusted any more than the king was trusted not to abuse the inalienable rights of our fellow citizens. Every human being ultimately becomes the king of his own castle, serving his own interests, and the majority be damned.

“Damn you, majority!” (I say that all the time.)

bj kupp

May 12th, 2010
7:30 am

would you want to be right or dead. i don’t think our forefathers thought about bombs in underwear, shoes or vans.
they didn’t have vans back then;nor would they have put up with this. they would have had a trial quickly without twitter, facebook, and news media swarming everywhere ( newspapers were much slower back then) duh!!!

nelsonhoward

May 12th, 2010
7:39 am

I had to look up all those amendments first and that stretched my brain to the limits. A defense attorney said the longer due process drags along before the case goes to trial works all to the advantage of the defendant. Memories dim, witnesses are not as sure what they saw and a few disappear altogether. Now I would say that would be a reason for a trial to proceed in an expeditious manner. However, that is not the way the legal process works. At the time of the crime it appears absolutely horrendous but after a few years after all the emotion of the incident has diminished it does not seem all that bad. An interlocutory injunction, That is what is needed. The appellee and the appelant should do nothing until all the facts are in.

joan

May 12th, 2010
7:40 am

I am not sure why, after his arrest, he was not simply tried as a traitor and summarily hanged. What he attempted to do was probably worse than what Julius and Ethel Rosenberg did.

mit

May 12th, 2010
8:46 am

so you are fine with someone buying a firearm who is on a terror watch list but when it comes to gays in cobb county you ignore those amendments which allow them there. your logic if flawless.

Duh

May 12th, 2010
9:06 am

Mit, amendments allow gays? I think you’d better get your head out of… well nevermind, this is a family show.

Hillbilly Deluxe

May 12th, 2010
9:28 am

When France was supplying us gunpowder, to fight King George, we didn’t have a Bill Of Rights. It came after we won.

scrappy

May 12th, 2010
10:04 am

Darn logic! There you go proving that the government is taking away our bill of rights in order to keep the masses ‘afraid’ & make them believe that security is more important than freedom.

The people who agree with these new limitations and dwindling bill of rights are so set in their ways, that logic will just go in one ear and out the other. The sad part is, I am not sure if the politicians actually believe what they spur, or just say these things to excite the afraid masses and get re-elected.

StJ

May 12th, 2010
10:06 am

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, long an advocate for the most pinched and narrow interpretation possible for the individual right to “keep and bear arms”…

Bloomberg is an advocate of guns for the military and police only, like Stalin and Hitler before him. Rights of the people be damned.

Neo-Carlinist

May 12th, 2010
10:20 am

if insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results, I am insane. THE CONSTITUTION IS A FAIRY TALE. it is a bedtime story the Founding Fathers drafted to placate We the People. we traded a monarchy for an oligarachy and anything promised was done with fingers crossed. No illegal searches and seizures, right to trial by jury, right to bear arms…? wink, wink, nudge, nudge. And, even if the Constitution is a “living document” and worthy of the admiration of other nations (BB’s Times Square screed v 1.0), it has not “grown” with the very nation it established. It needs to be re-written and brought into the 21st century geopolitical world. Of course, this will never happen, because the oligarchy established by the first Constitutional Convention (white property owners, many whom owned slaves, who wanted “freedom” from the British monarchy) still exists, and it likes things the way they are. Americans do not enjoy the protections offered by the Bill of Rights, why should terrorists or quasi-citizens expect as much?

Jefferson

May 12th, 2010
10:54 am

Cowards don’t deserve freedom.

Mark

May 12th, 2010
11:25 am

To me this Miranda issue is a red herring. No one is claiming that any of these terrorists lawyered up after hearing their rights. The terrorists all just kept talking and bragging. Interrogating a suspect is based on building a rapport with them and getting them to talk. Trained interragators do it all the time. Before we start rewriting our rights, lets find the real issues.

As for the 2nd ammendment, until due process has been followed, rights can not be restricted or revoked. Putting a name on a watch list does not require due process. Heck, most of these lists don’t even unambiguously identify the person listed. Also, did any of these terrorists being discussed carry a gun? Where is the issue again?

Fortunately, the constitution delineates our rights and only an ammendment can modify them. Before any such ammendment becomes effective, it will need to go through the process, and calm minds will prevail and defeat them.

john

May 12th, 2010
12:12 pm

I want the right to own a surface to air missle. Just sayin’ .

jconservative

May 12th, 2010
12:18 pm

All good points Barr.

The President takes the following oath of office: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Notice his oath is to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”; it says nothing about keeping anyone safe.

Remember folks, every person that is born will die. Death goes with that territory called life.

DawgDad

May 12th, 2010
12:21 pm

Bob, I’ve been pretty disturbed by some of your opinion pieces lately, but on this count I’m right with you. We must not compromise the constitutional rights of US citizens in the fight against Islamic radical terrorism; these are what we are defending, after all. If the terrorists hide behind our laws by recruiting US citizens that isn’t much different than other domestic criminal enterprises (mafia, gangs, drug trafficers, etc.). If it isn’t already, it should be a legal option to charge US citizens with treason for conspiring or consulting with foreign nationals in the commission of a crime against the people of the US. Hang them, fry them, shoot them, whatever. In my opinion, if the charges against the Times Square bomber are true and he was influenced or coached by foreign nationals then he has committed treason.

derek

May 12th, 2010
12:59 pm

WOW.

The AJC continually day after day pursues a culture of Race baiting, class warfare and irresponsible reporting ( if it can be called that). I will not allow myself to think that there are actually people out in Atlanta who harbor such ill will towards each other and even more so to the least of these among us. Call it socialism redistribution of wealth whatever, most good southern folks call it compassion.

I choose to believe that there is a system of bloggers employed by the AJC to write these horrible comments in an effort to get more activity on their site i.e. increase the number of clicks and amount of time spent on ajc.com. So please take these comments with a grain of salt Atlanta, GA is not full of class hating, racist, Corporate KKK members as the current discussion ( and almost every discussion on ajc.com) would have you believe.

I also know enough about life, Georgia and Atlanta to believe some of these comments are true and that is scary. Growing up in south GA I encountered racism / classism at an early age. Ironically enough the KKK and hate mongers stayed away from the minorities. They knew who we were we knew who they were, we knew what they were capable of and they knew what we were capable of. And my family was middle class, 2 – parent household, as were many of my friends, (don’t believe the stats about black men not being there a lot of the are were and will be in the future.) We (african American community in SE GA) were outnumbered by “poor” whites. But in Atlanta everyone acts like they harbor no ill will but get online and let the hatred fly. Some of these comments are eligible for prosecution under the hate crime statue!

A lot of things are wrong in this world, country, state but one thing that will not fix it is business as usually. Be it modern day slavery of black men with corrupt laws and enforcement coupled with slave labor ridden private controlled for profit prison systems. Or the vilianization of the Mexican immigration after we destabilize their country and in actuality stole their land from them at the same time “American” were stealing slaves from african, india and china. Business as usual from the same politician sometimes in the same family with the same mindset, that has not worked in three centuries. We have to have a positive outlook on life and how we approach the problems we face no matter what they are, for a time is coming when we will have to make an account. To our maker, to our family to our fellow man to ourself.

In His service!

Gerald West

May 12th, 2010
1:04 pm

Excellent article. You bring up points that are rarely considered in the rush to judgment. The current American way of “justice” is broken, but at least the theory is clearly stated in our Constitution.
.
As always, you misconstrue the “right to bear arms” by ignoring half the Amendment. The Amendment grants “militias” the right to bear arms. Militias are organizations such as the National Guard that are sanctioned by communities and states to provide local protection. The Amendment does not grant or deny the right to bear arms to citizens who are not associated with a militia.

This right to bear arms is a traditional protection in our English heritage. One of the English kings, John probably, denied citizens the right to arm themselves for fear of an uprising against his authority. As a consequence, the good folk of a village in Devon once found themselves powerless to repel an invasion of dragons from Cornwall. (Well, perhaps it was “dragoons”; just look it up on Google.)

Don Hamrick

May 12th, 2010
1:23 pm

How about an admiralty lawsuit against the United States for Second Amendment rights to intrastate, interstate and maritime travel for law-abiding U.S. merchant seamen and law-abiding U.S. citizens alike? See my blog at American Common Defence Review (http://AmericanCommonDefenceReview.WordPress.com)

Don Hamrick

May 12th, 2010
2:04 pm

How about clarifying the judicially ignored “private right of action” for statutory rights like the seamen’s exemption from filing fees of federal courts, 28 U.S.C. § 1916. Because federal judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for for the DC Circuit and the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court ignored my statutory right as a seaman to be exempt from filing fees of federal courts under 28 U.S.C. § 1916 and my appeals and motions to have me extorted filing fees reimbursed were ignored and denied (judicial corruption) I exercised my First Amendment right to petition the U.S. Marshals Service for information and advice on my right to make citizen’s arrest of those DC Circuit judges and of the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and I am permanently on the “Watch List” for escorted access to the federal courts in Washington, DC because I had the gall to exercise my rights against U.S. Government employees in my dispute over 18 U.S.C. § 1916 versus 18 U.S.C. § 872. Hence my new admiralty lawsuit over seamen’s rights under the Bill of Rights. I have been pushing for U.S. merchant seamen’s Second Amendment right to “openly” keep and bear arms in intrastate, interstate, and martime travel as the true intent of the Common Defence clause in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution since my original lawsuit in 2002. This is characterized as “National Open Carry Handgun” in its most practical and pragmatic method of exercise. And because my Second Amendment cases these past 8 years approaches the “full scope” of Second Amendment rights under the banner of “National Open Carry Handgun” not a single Second Amendment advocacy group, not the NRA, not the Second Amendment Foundation, not the Gun Owners of America, not the Second Amendment Sisters, not the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, none have come forward to publicly support my Second Amendment cause. I have contacted dozens of attorneys in Washington, DC and surrounding areas to represent me on pro bono or even contingency fee bases to the $14 million dollars in damages (explained in the lawsuits which includes conspiracies to obstruct justice) and no attorney has had the decency to respond to my inqueries. “National Open Carry” is perceived as politically incorrect. And because of political correctness, the American people have voluntarily given up the most practical right of “Common Defence” for the adoption of the delusion of safety and security in public. I for one have not given up that right as I perceive that it was taken from me and I am fighting to get that substantial right back. For more information see my blog at American Common Defence Review (http://AmericanCommonDefenceReview.WordPress.com).

Bob

May 12th, 2010
2:09 pm

Sometimes it is better to live in a place where you know the government follows the rule of law, without your input, than to live in a place that tells you “your right are unalienable forever” and then when you need those rights they say “oops, since I accuse you of crime number 56-3a-6522 paragraph 10q of the new “Mom and Apple Pie” security act, we really didn’t mean that your rights are unalienable and if you don’t like it, unless you can hire an expensive attorney, don’t bother trying to get them back”

At least in Singapore the government is essentially a beneficent oligarchy in its pure form, free from the alloy metal of the “inalienable rights” hypocrisy.

Don Hamrick

May 12th, 2010
2:15 pm

I am looking for an admiralty attorney in Washington, DC to represent me pro bono or on a contingency fee basis (seeking $14 million in damages) for Second Amendment rights of U.S. merchant seamen and U.S. citizens alike (jus tertii doctrine). Contact me at ki5ss-[AT]-yahoo.com (strike “-[AT]-” for @). I have already shipped my Second Amendment lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for DC by UPS as an unrepresented civil plaintiff. I am fully prepared to proceed as an unrepresented civil plaintiff. However I pray to God for an attorney qualified in constitutional law, admiralty/maritime law, law of treaties, and human rights law to step up and represent me.

mini mi-mi

May 12th, 2010
3:21 pm

That it’s easier to buy a gun than cough syrup is okay?!?!?!?

DawgDad

May 12th, 2010
5:12 pm

” Call it socialism redistribution of wealth whatever, most good southern folks call it compassion”

I call it “sanctimony”.

Mahatma Gandhi

May 12th, 2010
5:30 pm

It is my firm conviction that if the State supressed capitalism by violence, it will be caught in the coils of violence itself, and will fail to develop non-violence at any time. The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence.

I look upon an increase of the power of the State with the greatest fear, because although while apparently doing good by minimizing exploitation, it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality, which lies at the root of all progress. We know of so many cases where men have adopted trusteeship, but none where the State has really lived for the poor.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself” is no counsel of perfection. The capitalist is as much a neighbor of the laborer as the latter is a neighbor of the former, and one has to seek and win the willing co- operation of the other. Nor does the principle mean that we should accept exploitation lying down. Our internal strength will render all exploitation impossible.

It can be easily demonstrated that destruction of the capitalist must mean destruction in the end of the worker and as no human being is so bad as to be beyond redemption, no human being is so perfect as to warrant his destroying him whom he wrongly considers to be wholly evil.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

May 13th, 2010
7:28 am

Well, I’m with this Don Hamrick. I want the right to carry my anti-tank weapon and the two machine guns I use for hunting and self-defense wherever I go. So if any of you lawyers want to fight for Don Hamrick just come on up here to Simpsons Trailer Park and see me too. We can get two for the price of one. We got to stand up for the 2nd Amenment rights of common folks.

Have a good day everybody.

Don Hamrick

May 13th, 2010
12:20 pm

“Redneck Convert’s” use of hyperbole does not make for a legitimate use of logic against my Second Amendment case. What is the difference between the NRA’s pet project for National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry and my Second Amendment case for National Open Carry Handgun? Both agendas advocate the personal wearing of a handgun. The obvious difference is whether the handgun is hidden or worn openly. Is the gun owner supposed to appease and sooth the mental state of the psychologically unstable, the gun phobic citizens by the forced concealment of the gun owner’s handgun? Is forced Concealed Carry laws meant to protect gun phobic citizens from the sight of firearms worn by private citizens? Why is Redneck Convert above afraid of “Open Carry?” And why did he feel the need to emotionally ridicule with hyperbole my position on Open Carry instead of presenting a logical, well reasoned argument against Open Carry? How much longer are we to live under the delusion of Concealed Carry? How much longer are we to live under delusional laws based on fear of the Second Amendment?

ImpeachBobBarr

May 13th, 2010
2:14 pm

Enter your comments here

ImpeachBobBarr

May 13th, 2010
2:14 pm

We are where we are because Impeachable Bob and his cronies steered the country away from the fight against terrorism in the 1990’s. Remember Bob’s obsession with impeaching the president for having sex and lying about it? What a way to screw up a country for no good reason. Pathetic.

Don Hamrick

May 13th, 2010
10:29 pm

NOTE TO IMPEACHBOBBARR: Bob Barr hasn’t been a member of Congress since 2003. Stop living in the past. See http://www.bobbarr.org/default.asp?pt=doc&doc=bio

To clarify who steered the country away from the fight against terrorism in the 1990s if was President Bill Clinton repealed the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 on October 5, 1994 with Pub.L. 103-337 (108 Stat. 3101). Almost 7 years later terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

In 5 U.S. Code Cong. and Adm. News 2182-2183 (,b>1994) TITLE XXXIV CIVIL DEFENSE:

Civil defense programs were originally designed to protect “life and property in the United States from attack.” In 1981, the law was amended to permit states to use civil defense funds to prepare for natural disasters “in a manner that . . . . does not detract from attack-related civil defense preparedness.”

Section 3402 of the NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1994 (Pub.L. 103-160) eliminated this restriction:

The CIVIL DEFENSE ACT now reflects the “all-hazard” approach to emergency management, i.e., states are permitted to use the funds for all kinds of emergencies and disasters.

The committee believes that it should get out of the civil defense business for two reasons. First, the program has lost its defense emphasis. The threat of attack is no longer the driving force behind the program. Rather, the chief threats today come from tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, chemical spills, and the like.

ODDOWL

May 16th, 2010
2:14 am

Augusta georgia has become a citadel of extreme right wing, neo-con Republican racism. The tea party controlled editors at the Augusta chronicle are the ringleaders. They espouse an extreme anti-American, racist ideology. The Augusta Chronicle editors perpetrate an unrelenting attack upon the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They censor and deny free speech. They would demolish the 1st, 4th and the 14th amendments in a heartbeat. The Augusta Chronicle editors look back with nostalgia on the Reagan/Bush-1 (10 trillion dollars debt) and Bush/Cheney (6 trillion dollars debt) years of economic decline with great fondness. The non-rich, paycheck to paycheck big house middle class white Republicans in Augusta whose salaries shrinked every year during the eight years of Bush/Cheney love, worship and perform virtual slave labor for the corporate bosses. The extreme right wing, neo-con, tea party politicians in Augusta, who have entered into a conspiracy with the tea party controlled Augusta Chronicle to brainwash and indoctrinate the naive, ignorant, gullible, non-rich big house Republican with an anti middle class ideology. The editors at the Augusta Chronicle are an incredible, ignoble bunch. They print propaganda, lies and yellow journalism on a soiled rag sheet.

Don Hamrick

May 17th, 2010
8:26 am

TO ODDOWL:

All you wrote were declarative statements. Yet you provide no evidence, no proof to back up your accusations. You comment is nothing be a factless rant.