I gather from my Twitter feed that there were some pretty obnoxious things said in the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt for the suspects. Picking the Most Jaw-Droppingly Awful C0mments winner requires a more comprehensive knowledge of the Internet than I possess (though Donald Trump is always a strong contender). Feel free to submit your own nominees below.
Narrowing it down to elected officials makes the task a wee bit more manageable. John McCain (who abdicated any claim to statesmanship with the Palin nomination and has never looked back) joined his fellow Republican Senator Lindsay Graham in taking an early lead for their brazen willingness to shred the Constitution.
From the New York Times:
… some Republican senators, including John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, argued that using the criminal-justice system was a mistake and that Mr. Tsarnaev should instead be held indefinitely by the military as an “enemy combatant,” under the laws of war, and questioned without any Miranda warning or legal representation, in order to gain intelligence.
The indefinite detention without trial of human beings (to say nothing of American citizens) is, in my opinion, a blot on America’s standing in history on par with the Trail of Tears and the Japanese internment camps during World War II, if not in scale certainly in terms of its unmitigated befouling of our country’s founding ideals. I know that “terrorist” is the new “communist” is the new “witch,” and I’m not arguing that the surviving perpetrator of the ghastly attack on Boston doesn’t deserve the full weight of the United States justice system pressing down upon him. But if our faith in said system is so weak and if our desire for security so vastly outweighs our respect for the rights protected by our Constitution, then we are a poor excuse for a nation and have no claim to moral authority in the theater of international affairs.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen deserving of the full complement of rights that pertain to that status. Not only does calling him an “enemy combatant” beggar credulity, doing so makes not a whit of difference with regard to what protections he should be given. Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham, you are in violation of your oath of office. Please recant or resign.
However, as quick out of the gate as those two clowns were, I fear they may have been overtaken by a dark horse, admittedly one with much less exposure on the national stage. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you one Greg Ball, state Senator from New York:
So, scum bag #2 in custody. Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?
— Greg Ball (@ball4ny) April 20, 2013
But it goes on:
Ball again addressed the comment in a statement Saturday, however this time he emphasized seeking the death penalty:
“As New Yorkers we must remember, that on most days, New York State is terror target number one, and we need our Governor to make the death penalty for cop killers and terrorists a top priority,” he said, according to the Journal News. “The death penalty is a fitting deterrent that will act as protection for those men and women who leave their loving families daily and put their lives at risk everyday to protect the rest us.”
The death penalty? *slaps self vigorously on forehead with palm* Why didn’t I think of that? Fear of death would be the perfect deterrent for terrorism! I’ll bet Mohamed Atta would never have flown that plane into the World Trade Center if he’d feared being executed afterward!
Seriously, I can’t fathom the unbelievable stupidity of that man’s statement. During that tense but tedious period between the bombing and the manhunt, I remember lots of airtime being filled with breathless speculation, with more than one “expert” talking head musing that the bombers were less likely to be terrorists because they hadn’t killed themselves along with their victims. In any case, the news is tragically regular in its reporting of some suicide bomber in one place or another. I suspect the death penalty wasn’t really a concern for the bombers. Or should I just conclude that Sen. Ball doesn’t watch the news, and simply plays reruns of “24” over and over again?
In the past week, I have heard so many wonderful stories of people bringing out the best in themselves in response to the horrible events in Boston. (I was never prouder of New York than in the aftermath of 9/11, and I’ve never been prouder of my new city than in the past few days.) It’s amazing how overwhelming tragedy can bring out the heroism and generosity in people. Sadly, it can also bring out their basest instincts and their baldest attempts at leveraging public fear. How especially sad when the people who behave in this manner are the ones who have been chosen to serve in leadership capacities.