Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Do You Justify Repression?

There are two ways to justify the repression of citizens practicing their constitutionally-guaranteed rights in a democracy. Demonstrating they pose a legitimate risk to public safety is usually accepted as the most legitimate reason. A close second, though, is just making shit up.

Bob Fletcher, the incredibly over-zealous former Ramsey county sheriff whose tactics at the 2008 RNC caused even other law enforcement officials to wince, justified his heavy-handed tactics by pointing to the number of terrorist groups and terrorism briefings his special, oversight-free anti-terrorism unit dealt with.

Problem is, according to a spokesperson for new Ramsey county sheriff Matt Bostrom, the supposed 33 terrorist groups Fletcher and crew had ratted out were "a very big lie."

Not only is there no documentation that any of these groups even exist, there's no documentation anywhere that the anti-terrorism group, which was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money, ever did anything.

Of course, Fletcher has fired back, claiming he never lied and that everything happened as he said it did. Though even if we take a giant leap of faith and trust him at his word here, there's still a fairly big problem. If these terrorist groups were so dangerous that they justified mass arrests of hundreds of completely innocent people, shouldn't he have, you know, at least left a note for the next guy? Or did he so effectively fight them that all terrorist groups have ceased to exist, thus making it completely unnecessary to leave any information for the next sheriff about this now non-existent problem?

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