The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Friday, September 09, 2005

So Much for Civil Liberties

The gubmint continues its assault on civil liberties on two separate fronts:

Bush's power to detain US enemy combatant upheld - Yahoo! News:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush has the power to detain Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen who has been held in a South Carolina military brig for more than three years as a suspected enemy combatant without any charges, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday. "

What about habeus corpus? It's one thing for courts to overturn laws in light of their (un)constitutionality. But its quite another for courts to be complicit in overturning the very Constitution itself. Jose Padilla is likely to be a very bad man. But is it too much to ask that the government prove it's case in a court of law -- as the Constitution requires? The conservative Bush appointee who ruled from Virginia stated that Padilla had taken up arms against the US with Al Qaeda and had plans to do damage in the US. But isn't a jury supposed to decide these things? The status of non-citizen enemy combatants is more complicated. But in this case, the constitutional question seems clear. No government should have the power to declare (on its whim and discretion) someone an enemy combatant and detain them indefinitely without charges or trial. It would be nice to think that this is one thing we Americans agree on.

Police Begin Seizing Guns of Civilians - NY Times

Mr. Compass, the police superintendent, said that after a week of near anarchy in the city, no civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns, or other firearms of any kind. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.

That order apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property. The guards, who are civilians working for private security firms like Blackwater, are openly carrying M-16s and other assault rifles.

Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.

I don't have much quibble with trying to reduce the violence in New Orleans but I wonder what the NRA's position on this is? What I do object to is the notion that private security firms can patrol a city armed but the ordinary citizens cannot. One thing is for sure, the cuase of gun control has probably been set back 20 years by this event.


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