Debate Magazine

Another Example of Domestic Terrorism

Posted on the 21 December 2011 by Mikeb302000
As we look at the reasons we advocate limiting firearms, the possibility of domestic terrorism, particularly in the context of Norway's Anders Breivik or our own Timothy McVeigh, we need to look at who has weapons and for what purpose.
But also take a look at the opinion of this man's father, who is willing to dismiss credible evidence against his son as being just  'political'.
In the larger context of firearm regulation, an in particular in view of the 40% of crimes where firearms were obtained from family and friends.....and the roughly 10% of straw purchases, how often do each of us know people who are NOT objective about their friends or family?  I'm talking about people NOT objective about the actions and intent of someone to whom they entrust a firearm.  I think we all know parents who are in serious denial about the conduct and intentions of their children, or women who are in denial about a romantic partner or spouse, or people who don't really admit the serious problems with the conduct of their friends or other relatives, who consistently make excuses for them.  Another example is the four old geezers in Georgia who were acquiring the materials to make Ricin, whose family members kept insisting they were harmless, despite the purchase of those materials and the acquisition of the directions to make the stuff.
Thinking about this larger topic, beyond terrorism, I was reminded of the 17 year old Minnesota teen who was known to be dangerously mentally ill, who had gotten away from adult supervision before, who had stolen vehicles before, and who was known to be obsessed with guns, and had been involved with police for firing them illegally, and assault, dating back to when he was 13.  He stole his mother's car, and then he took  a shotgun and other firearms from his grandfather's cabin - guns which he knew were kept unsecured, along with ammo - and killed two Iowa convenience store clerks, apparently partly to see what killing people felt like for real (as distinct from doing it in a game) and partly so they couldn't identify him afterwards.
His grandfather apparently didn't think he should have had to secure his firearms, despite the teen having been around them, and even allowed to use them.  Grandpa resented the idea that he should have done more to secure his weapons from his grandson or anyone else.
You know - because heaven forbid we ever INCONVENIENCE a firearm owner, in order to keep the rest of us safe. 
From the AP and

Mass. man guilty of conspiring to help al-Qaida

Prosecutors say Tarek Mehanna and two friends were plotting to go to Yemen to receive terror training

Another Example of Domestic Terrorism updated 12/20/2011 12:41:19 PM ET BOSTON — A Massachusetts man was convicted Tuesday of conspiring to help al-Qaida and plotting to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
Tarek Mehanna, 24, of Sudbury, faced four terror-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities. A federal jury found him guilty of all counts after deliberating for about 10 hours.
Prosecutors said Mehanna and two friends conspired to travel to Yemen so they could receive training at a terrorism camp and eventually go on to Iraq to fight and kill U.S. soldiers there.
When the men were unable to find such a training camp, Mehanna returned home and began to see himself as part of the al-Qaida "media wing," translating materials promoting violent jihad and distributing them over the Internet, prosecutors said.
Mehanna, who was born in the U.S. and raised in the Boston suburbs, will be sentenced April 12 and could be sent to prison for the rest of his life. His mother, Souad Mehanna, sobbed after the verdict was read and was consoled by her younger son, Tamer. Mehanna's lawyers also wept.
Mehanna's father, Ahmed, a professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, said he was stunned by the verdict.
"I can't even think," he said. "It was political."
Mehanna attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said the defense team will appeal. He said he was upset with the verdict and what he called the extraordinary leeway prosecutors had to present evidence the defense considered prejudicial, including references to al-Qaida and the Sept. 11 attacks.
"The charges scare people. The charges scared us," Carney said. "The more that we looked at the evidence, the more we got to know our client, Tarek, the more we believed in his innocence."
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz disputed that the prosecution's evidence was inflammatory.
"The heart of the case is really this: Did Mr. Mehanna conspire to support terrorists, conspire to kill in a foreign country and then did he lie to federal investigators?" she said. "Today a jury of his peers concluded that he did that."
During the trial, which started in October, Mehanna's attorneys portrayed him as an aspiring scholar of Islam who traveled to Yemen to look for religious schools, not to get terrorist training. They said his translation and distribution of controversial publications was free speech protected by the First Amendment.
Prosecutors focused on hundreds of online chats on Mehanna's computer in which they said he and his friends talked about their desire to participate in jihad, or holy war. Several of those friends were called by prosecutors to testify against Mehanna, including one man who said he, Mehanna and a third friend tried to get terrorism training in Yemen so they could fight American soldiers in Iraq.
Mehanna's lawyers told jurors that prosecutors were using scare tactics by portraying Mehanna as a would-be terrorist and were trying to punish him for his beliefs.
The defense built its case on the testimony of a half dozen terrorism experts. Mehanna did not testify.
His lawyers acknowledged that Mehanna expressed admiration for Osama bin Laden, but said he disagreed with bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders about many things, including the use of suicide bombers and the killing of civilians.
Jurors began deliberating Friday. In his instructions, U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. told them that in order to find Mehanna guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida, they must find that he worked "in coordination with or at the direction of" the terrorist organization. He said independent advocacy on behalf of the organization was not a violation of the law.

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