Lost Due Process

Friday's (July 22) killing in London by a government employee was very disturbing. Along with Patriot Act being passed by the U.S. House right after the 4 duds in London on Thursday (July 21). Keep in mind that I stopped becoming a Republican voter as of summer 2004 between the primaries and the Nov. election, so you'll have to read everything below with a grain of salt.

First with the killing: the "suspect" was hunted down on the train and then killed by 5 shots into the back of the head. This guy did not have any obvious weapon, did not try to attack the police. He was running away (from plain clothes police). For that, he got shot in the back. Think about this: if he had a bomb ready to explode, why does he have to run away? He could have done his deeds before they came even close to him. If he had to do some fiddling with his bomb before it can explode than they had no need to kill him either: he wasn't ready and they would have had plenty of time to prevent his success without killing him. And I just checked the wires and this guy HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BOMBINGS! He was a Brazilian, even. (started writing 23rd but finished 24th).

If you read some of the "conservative" blogs like Malkin, they have the attitude that it was the victim's fault and should have obeyed the police or shouldn't have been suspicious in the first place. One poster at Vox even nominated the guy for Darwin Awards.

Whatever happen to the concept of "due process?" (I realize that U.K. doesn't have the same laws as we do but our U.S. law system was derived from theirs.) What about innocent until proven guilty? Why do we have to short circuit the due process? By pseudo-declaring "war" on terror, does it allow the gov now to judge, sentence and execute without the court: pull out the gun and bang.

What really got me to be all concerned was when I heard of the news where a suspect was killed in Yeman via missile shot from a remote aircraft. At the time of killing, we were not at war with Yeman. The car was destroyed with a missile shot from a remotely piloted aircraft. The message I got was: We will find you and execute anywhere in the world (via satellite controlled aircraft). And if we're wrong, well too bad, you shouldn't have acted suspiciously (in another country? Riiiight). If you get killed as "collateral damage" (of innocent killing), that's too bad too: you shouldn't hang around suspiciously acting people.

It reminds me of my friend (in the Army reserves) when he was very nervous of young 20ish National Guards in the airports (right after 9/11) toting their machine guns. They had "permission" to judge and execute anyone they deemed "suspicious." What happens if you were just running to catch a plane or taxi? If they shot and killed you, you don't get any chance for appeals!

This "War on Terror" and the related Patriot Acts gives up too much of our Constitutional rights. I found a good analysis at Center for Constitutional Rights. The 5th amendment specifically deals with due process:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. [highlighted by yours truly]
War on Drugs has been the start of 5th's erosion and War on Terror is the icing on the cake: more power to the State and less accountability to the citizens. One of those nasty laws is the the asset forfeiture laws which allows the State to seize property by declaring it was tied to illegal drugs. Suspicious activities can result in lost assets. With Patriot Act, we lose more of our rights. And now lost life is the price we pay for "security?"