Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
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June 7, 2001
Horiuchi Decision a Start but there's Danger in the Dissent
It was good news when six judges of an 11-member appeals court panel agreed Tuesday that Idaho had the authority to try Lon Horiuchi for the fatal shooting of Vicki Weaver.
Boundary County, Idaho, had charged the FBI sniper with involuntary manslaughter. But U.S. government attorneys had argued that any federal employee carrying out his duties was exempt from all state laws. In 1998, federal judge Edward Lodge bought this absurd interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's supremacy clause and ruled that Idaho could not hold Horiuchi accountable for his deed committed on their soil.
The appeals court's reversal was, as Randy Weaver said, a sign of "a good day for America and the justice system." Unfortunately, it isn't a reversal of America's government-loving mentality.
The opinion of the five dissenting judges was ominous. These supporters of unlimited government wrote, "Every day in this country, federal agents place their lives in the line of fire to secure the liberties that we all hold dear. There will be times when those agents make mistakes, sudden judgment calls that turn out to be horribly wrong. We seriously delude ourselves if we think we serve the cause of liberty by throwing shackles on those agents and hauling them to the dock of a state criminal court."
The dissenting judges said criminal courts should not "second guess" federal agents, and that Horiuchi should not be charged because there was no proof he acted with malice.
There are just a few things wrong with these arguments.
Horiuchi didn't put his life on the line. He shot a man, Kevin Harris, and an unarmed woman from a hiding place several hundred yards away.
Was any federal agent in the Weaver debacle protecting our liberties? Absolutely not; on the contrary, they were abusing liberties by their very presence.
Was the death of Mrs. Weaver a "mistake" or an unfortunate judgment call? Evidence (including a drawing by Horiuchi's hand) shows he knew there were two people behind the Weaver's cabin door. He certainly made his shot knowing there were children in his line of fire. But, operating in an atmosphere of hatred and prejudice against the demonized "white supremacist" family, Horiuchi probably didn't care.
Is it not malicious to carry out illegal, military-style rules of engagement that allow snipers to shoot any armed male on sight, regardless of whether he presents a threat? Do these judges now, in America, accept the defense that failed for the Nazi war criminals who were tried at Nuremberg: "I was only following orders"?
Finally, courts are in the business of "second guessing." That's what they do. They second guess the deeds of ordinary homeowners, businesspeople, and hapless citizens every day. And these days they don't ask whether we acted with malice before imposing mandatory minumum sentences on us for violating laws or regulations we might not even have heard of. If no federal agent's actions are ever to be "second guessed," then we truly have a ruling class and a subject class in America.
Fortunately, these attitudes didn't prevail on Tuesday. Yet they are an example of what we increasingly experience every day in this country.
How many FBI, ATF, and IRS agents should be tried for violating the Bill of Rights? How many for violating state laws? How many bureaucrats and enforcement agents routinely abuse their authority - precisely because they know they can get away with it in a land that increasingly worships state power - as those dissenting judges clearly do? Ruthlessness and abuse of power have become so rampant that there wouldn't be enough courtrooms to conduct all the trials of guilty government employees.
Is the land of Louis Freeh and Lon Horiuchi the same land American soldiers fought and died for on the beaches of Normandy, fifty-seven years ago this week? No. America is becoming a police state. It is becoming like the land our fathers and grandfathers fought against.
Six of 11 judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave us a reprieve on Tuesday. We owe them thanks. And we can hope Lon Horiuchi will eventually get a kinder justice than he dealt to Kevin Harris and Vicki Weaver - if the Supreme Court or Judge Lodge doesn't prevent it, which they could still do.
But the march toward total state control still goes on.
This summer, a new book by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman will blow the lid off the coming American police state. The State vs. the People will show exactly what makes a country a police state. (It's not random acts of government brutality; it's a sophisticated system of government control with brutality as one lever of power.) The book will show why America is not yet a police state - but why it's almost certain to become one if we don't reverse direction soon.
If every day brought news like the appeals' court decision on Horiuchi, we might begin to recover the land of the free. Until that happens, we must be grateful for decisions like this one, but remain vigilant and adamant. We must educate ourselves, understand our liberties, and tell our would-be rulers we're not willing to lose any more of our rights to their guns, their taxes, their regulations, their prisons, and their arrogant assumption of imperial privileges.
The we must proceed to take back every, single liberty they have already stolen from us.
The Liberty Crew
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