A court in Georgia has heard how four self-described “anarchist” U.S. soldiers planned to kill President Obama and overthrow the U.S. government. The group is on trial in civilian court for a separate incident: the alleged murder of a fellow officer and his girlfriend, who knew about the group’s activities and was killed because, in the words of one of the quartet, he was a “loose end.” He doesn’t seem to have been the only member of this gang operating with a loose screw.That murder investigation revealed the group’s plot to assassinate the president. The BBC has more details:
They are alleged to have bought $87,000 (£56,000) worth of arms to bomb targets and assassinate President Obama.Prosecutor Isabel Pauley told the judge at the Long County court, near the Fort Steward army base, that the militia had bought land in Washington state and planned to bomb a dam and poison apple crops in the area.Their ultimate aim, she said, was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president.“This domestic terrorist organisation did not simply plan and talk. . . . Evidence shows the group possessed the knowledge, means and motive to carry out their plans,” the Associated Press reports Ms Pauley telling the judge.
People can run around the world with all kinds of crazy ideas in their heads, and Via Meadia thinks they should be left strictly alone. But when they make plans for terror and assassination, the law needs to jump on them with both feet. The murder rap is a first step; if there is real evidence that they were planning a terrorist attack, the court should give them a fair trial and then throw the book at them. Civilization has to defend itself from barbarians of every tribe and while we favor tolerance for harmless lunkheads of every description, there must be zero tolerance for the murderous ones who take even tiny steps toward the realization of their deranged ambitions.It is entirely right and proper in our view for there to be special, strict laws to protect the lives of democratically elected leaders. An attack on a president of the United States, any president of the United States, is an assault on the integrity of a political process that all of us rely on for the preservation of our own safety and freedom. These idiots in Georgia almost certainly lacked the capacity to carry out their designs, but society has the right and the duty to protect itself against “anarchist militias” and any other violent threat. Islamist radicals, anarchists, Nazis, reds and fanatics and nutjobs of every description are and should be allowed in our system to think and say what they please as long as they confine their activities to loose talk. But the minute they cross the line and begin to plan for violent action, the forces of order need to step in.In jail the members of this “anarchist militia” will have plenty of time to read and reflect. We hope it does them some good, and that at some distant date when they leave prison behind them they will have developed more mature worldviews to say nothing of more sensitive consciences — or, failing that, have at least learned enough respect for the power of society that they keep their bitterness and rage in the realm of fantasy.