Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Homeland Security 2

Well, the second day of the Homeland Security seminar was exhausting. The woman whose only qualification was the death of her son was emotional and illogical. I looked at her biography again and noticed that she sued the gun manufacturer(s) that made the guns used. Luckily, she didn't talk about that part of her crusade.

It was odd to hear the logic she had for her anger at it not being a federal case. She said that it was a civil rights violation because the man used a derogatory term toward the young Jews he attacked and it was in federal jurisdiction because it happened on an interstate highway.

She also claimed that it was international terrorism, since Hamas was proud of the shooter and he was trying to kill an influential Rabbi because a Jew had shot up a Mosque. First of all, Hamas loves the limelight in these sorts of things. Second, she never proved any link to any organization. He was originally from Lebanon, and he had buddies help him who weren't US citizens, but it is hard to make it a federal case and NY had no terrorism laws at the time. The shooter was sentenced to something in the neighborhood of 140+ years in prison, and his helpers were put on probation, fined, and eventually deported.

She didn't know anything about preventing or catching terrorism, nor did she seem to know anything about law except the little she learned from hanging out in courtrooms for awhile and hobnobbing with politicians.

We did hear from a man whose experience in NYPD and in Israel made him much more interesting to hear from. One thing to note was that he freely said that he had no idea why the Israelis carry without a round in a chamber--he said he wasn't judging them, but I noticed that none of them spoke up to correct him, and his tone clearly specified that he was judging them. Of course, he was talking about behavioral profiling and praising the constant searches and checkpoints in Israel. I pointed out to another participant that I felt out of place, being the person in the room who was at least somewhat familiar with the Fourth Amendment. He didn't believe in it. His thoughts were that people could be "inconvenienced" if it made things safer. I stopped arguing with him because there was a presentation going, but I was pointing out that they'll tell us they're only doing it when there's a threat, then it softens people to allowing it all the time. And even if it were only when there is a credible threat, that still doesn't make it okay to search everyone without any probable cause. But try explaining that to a bunch of cops who think they'll make everyone safe.

The last presentation of the day was a long advertisement for training. It was long, pointless, but necessary to provide the free seminar. Oh, well, at least one of the Israeli speakers had a good quip: "In Israel, our bombers strap on a belt or vest. In the US, yours strapped on a whole fucking plane."

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