The Dangers of the Government Revoking Miranda
It came out on Friday as the authorities took the surviving Boston Marathon bomber into custody that Federal authorities have invoked the “public safety” exception, and will not be reading him his Miranda rights.
The reading of the Miranda rights does not bestow or confer anything to the person being taken into custody. They serve to make the person being taken into custody aware of their rights.
However, the Supreme Court ruled in New York v. Quarles that there are certain instances where Miranda may not apply, what are referred to as “public safety exceptions”. In this particular case, a New York police officer was apprehending a suspected rapist who was thought to have a gun. As the officer was taking the suspect into custody, he found an empty shoulder holster and asked the suspect where the gun was as he was handcuffing him. The suspect nodded in the direction of the gun and said it was over there. It was recovered a few feet away.
Whether the public was in danger is really a subjective matter, but in my mind, there was no “public danger”, the cop merely asked the suspect where his gun was. To me, that is a minor thing.
However, in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, he was gravely wounded. He no longer posed any immediate public threat. I could understand them not reading him his rights as he was taken to the hospital, but as he recovers, they should read them to him. In the meantime, they should not be questioning him.
Dzhokhar, unlike his brother, was a US citizen, and that gives him certain rights. To simply take them away by labeling him an “enemy combatant” is arbitrary. Why was Timothy McVeigh not labeled an enemy combatant?
Once someone is not made aware of their rights, it becomes easier to do it to the next person.
As much as I complain about the Democrats on the left, butt buddies Lindsey Graham and John McCain make me crazy. Graham has gone on the record as saying:
“I want to gather intelligence. What does he know about terrorist organizations within our country? Does he know of other terrorist activity coming our way? That’s a national security inquiry. He’s a potential enemy combatant. He has ties with overseas terrorists. He’s clearly a radical Islamist. I would hold him under that theory. …
This idea that the only way we can question him about national security matters is to go through his lawyer, turns [it] over to the terrorist and their lawyer controlling information to protect us all. That’s crazy. That is absolutely crazy. This man should be held and questioned under the law of war.”
At what point can the government name anyone an “enemy combatant”? Again, I invoke Timothy McVeigh. Was it because he’s white, and most Muslim terrorists are not?
Let’s push the boundaries even further. New York Representative Peter King (R) has said that he wants more surveillance on the Muslim community.
“Police have to be in the community, they have to build up as many sources as they can, and they have to realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there,”
I agree that most of the terrorist threat comes from Muslim jihadists, but we need to make sure that we do it legally, without trampling anyone’s rights.
As much as I want to see this animal put down, we have to do it the right way, and ensure that citizens rights are not violated. There are other ways to gather information, especially in this digital age, to discover other ties. I don’t think there is a judge on any bench who would deny warrants in this situation.
Government denies rights and takes more power in small steps, called creep. Toss a frog into boiling water, and it will jump out. Toss a frog in lukewarm water, but slowly heat the water, the frog will stay put until it is cooked alive as it doesn’t notice the increase in temperature.
That’s how government works.
Back in 2011, President Obama curtailed the rights of suspected terrorists by decreeing that Miranda does not have to be issued if they are attempting to gain intelligence.
Anytime the government denies due process of law by failing to inform a citizen of their rights hurts us all. Take a look at the picture above. Even rights are read to non-citizens.
Don’t I want us to be safe?
Of course I do. I wish these people weren’t so crazy that they were willing to kill themselves in order to inflict carnage on others.
But I also believe that if we don’t stand up for our ideals, no one else will, and they will eventually disappear, to be lost forever.