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Friday, January 09, 2009

What response would you support?

Let's imagine a terrorist organization in the United States. Let's say the terrorist are white supremacists who believe that the federal government of the United States is illegal, immoral and should be destroyed. Let's call them the Aryan Nation. What response would you hope the federal government would take to:

Aryan Nation members burns a cross in the yard of a Black family
Aryan Nation members throws a Molotov cocktail through the window of a Mexican restaurant.
Aryan Nation members kidnap and murder a police officer.

My thought in each case is that I would hope they would be apprehended by the police, tried by the state, and punished IAW our criminal laws. What if:

Montana elected Aryan Nation members to state legislature and stopped prosecuting members for crimes listed above
Aryan Nation members from Montana blew up a federal building in North Dakota killing dozens of people.
Montana Aryan Nation members use a hand held surface to air missile to shoot down an ATF helicopter.

Now, in these scenarios, I would expect the federal government to be involved in a coercive way. That is, using force associated with the Justice Department-Civil Rights Division and perhaps a federalized National Guard. But, would we be okay if uninvolved civilians, including children and the elderly, we killed? Not for me.

Montana legislature votes to leave the United States and a group of Aryan Nation members take over a missile silo.

According to my history book, this is when I am supposed to be okay with killing civilians. Would you be okay with it in this situation? What about before?

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