In the town of Twin Falls, Idaho, three juveniles (ages 14, 10 and 7) were accused of rape and other disgustingly sordid acts on a five year old girl. It was falsely reported that the boys were Syrian refugees, prompting quite a bit of backlash online. It turned out that two of the youths were Sudanese and one was Iraqi.
The United States Attorney for Idaho, Wendy J. Olson, said this: "The spread of false information or inflammatory or threatening statements about the perpetrators or the crime itself reduces public safety and may violate federal law." Really? The US Attorney is the chief federal prosecutor for whatever district or state to which they are appointed. Are we to believe the US Attorney does not know First Amendment law?
Do not think for one minute that this is just a rogue federal prosecutor in a small state improperly threatening federal prosecution against people who exercise their First Amendment rights. Every US Attorney across the country answers to the US Attorney General, currently Loretta Lynch. Following the San Bernardino massacre, AG Lynch expressed her concern about anti-Muslim speech. It bears repeating what Lynch said: "...this is a country that is based on free speech, but when it edges towards violence, when we see the potential for someone lifting the mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric or, as we saw after 9/11, violence against individuals...when we see that, we will take action." (For more of Lynch's comments see the 12/5/15 post entitled "San Bernardino, Part III.")
UCLA Constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh, commented on Prosecutor Olson's remarks: "There is no First Amendment exception for "inflammatory" statements; and even false statements about matters of public concern, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, are an inevitable part of free debate." Then, Professor Volokh got to the crux of the matter: "It looks like an attempt to chill Constitutionally protected speech through the threat of federal prosecution."
Somehow, American's reactions to terror and other vile acts gets a much more emotional reaction from our leaders - a reaction of severe consternation - than does the underlying attack on innocents. When the government tells us "if you see something, say something," they really do not mean it. How else can we explain these government threats? Then, there is the possibility of being branded a "racist" for reporting suspicious actions - if those actions were carried out by Muslims, or Middle Eastern appearing men. That is exactly what happened when the neighbors of the San Bernardino terrorists saw suspicious activities and said nothing. They did not want to be branded "racists."
The US Army knew Major Hasan was communicating online with radical Islamists, but even they did nothing to stop him. Political correctness resulted in even the Army fearing a label of "racist" more than they feared a terrorist attack.
So, we have the US Army, the Attorney General and a United States Attorney worrying more about Americans' reactions to terrorism than to the actual terrorism. Of course, they take their direction from their boss, President and Commander-in-Chief Obama. It was Obama, who only two weeks after the Benghazi attack, said this at the UN: "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." The Commander-in-chief expressed more concern about criticism of Islam than about the death of his Ambassador at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
If you doubt the validity of that last sentence, just take a look at today's videos. First, Obama was sitting with the Mexican President discussing the still fresh terrorist attack on the Istanbul airport. He spoke with a monotone, and was emotionless. Later, at a press conference with both the Mexican and Canadian leaders he was much more emotional. Not about the terrorist attack or people killed, but about what Trump says we need to do to protect this country. We all remember that Obama was on the golf course literally minutes after announcing the beheading of reporter James Foley.
We have a very serious problem when our country's leaders concern themselves more with political correctness and anti-Islamic speech, than with the safety and security of American citizens.