The Verdict Is In

The Associated Press is reporting that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on all charges Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing by a federal jury. The question now is whether or not he will receive the death penalty.

The article reports:

Tsarnaev folded his arms, fidgeted and looked down at the defense table as he listened to one guilty verdict after another on all 30 counts against him, including conspiracy and deadly use of a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of those counts are punishable by death.

The verdict – reached after a day and a half of deliberations – was practically a foregone conclusion, given his lawyer’s startling admission at the trial’s outset that Tsarnaev carried out the terror attack with his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan.

Tsarnaev‘s defense lawyer, Judy Clarke, has argued that Tsarnaev, who was nineteen at the time of the bombing, committed the crime because he was under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan. That may be so, but it doesn’t excuse what he did. Tsarnaev had (and has) free choice in choosing his actions, and now he is being called to take responsibility for those actions.

Whatever happens to Tsarnaev, the victims of the bombing will never be able to go back to where they were before the event–the loved ones will still be lost and the major injuries will still be there. Executing Tsarnaev will not change anything that has happened, but I am not sure anything will be gained by keeping him alive either.


Sharia Law And Freedom Are Not Compatible

Yahoo News reported yesterday that Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman, has been sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

The article reports the following statement by a Sudanese government official:

Sudan is committed to all human rights and freedom of faith granted in Sudan by the constitution and law,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abu-Bakr Al-Siddiq said. He added that his ministry trusted the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim has also been charged with adultery for marrying a Christian man.

This sentence is appropriate under Sharia Law. It is considered a capital offense to convert to Christianity. Remember that this is the same Sharia Law that CAIR would like to introduce into America. Freedom and Sharia Law are incompatible. We do not want Sharia Law in America.


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Hate Crime, Workplace Violence, Or Jihad?

I have always been bothered by the legal concept of ‘hate crime’ for two reasons. First of all, if you are dead, does it really matter if the person who killed you hated you? Second of all, I really don’t believe that a jury can correctly judge the motives of a criminal 100 percent of the time. Charge the criminal with the crime he committed, and let God judge the motive.

This brings me to the trial of Nidal Hasan, charged with the ‘workplace violence’ killing of thirteen people and wounding of more than thirty others. Major Hasan is acting as his own lawyer in the trial.

One of the things Andrew McCarthy (who led the prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Blind Sheik who planned the first attack on the World Trade Center) has said repeatedly is that during the prosecution of the Blind Sheik the prosecution team studied the Koran to see if the Blind Sheik was an extremist or if he was actually (as he claimed) simply following the Koran. To their dismay, they found ample justification for the killing of infidels in the Koran. Mr. McCarthy pointed out that the key to the prosecution was defining the purpose of the attack. The rest of the government prosecutors evidently have not learned that lesson.

Fox News posted an article yesterday describing the first day of the trial:

After a short opening statement in which ex-Army Maj. Nidal Hasan called himself a “mujahedeen,” admitted to the rampage and said “the dead bodies will show that war is an ugly thing,” Hasan cross-examined prosecution witnesses, including retired Lt. Col Ben Kirk Phillips, his former boss. When pressed by the defendant, Phillips acknowledged that his officer evaluation report had graded Hasan as “outstanding.”

But he declined to cross-examine one of his shooting victims, Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who provided the day’s most damning testimony.

Lunsford – who was shot seven times during the incident – described what happened that day, saying he first saw Hasan sitting in a chair, with his arms on his knees while looking at the floor.

He said Hasan then jumped up and ordered the one civilian in the room to leave before shouting, “Allahu akbar” and opening fire. Panic set in among the soldiers, who crowded toward a rear door, which was jammed.

The trial has taken a rather bizarre turn today as Major Hasan’s court-appointed lawyers have asked to be taken off the case.

10 News in Tampa reports:

In a motion filed late Tuesday, Poppe (lead defense attorney Lt. Col. Kris Poppe) and his team said they feel Hasan is trying to purposely get the death penalty and asked the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, to not force them to be part of that effort. Poppe, addressing Osborn on Wednesday, said it became clear that Hasan is seeking the death penalty for himself after hearing the accused opening statement and cross examination of witnesses.

“Assisting him in achieving the goal of moving closer to the death penalty is something a defense trial attorney should not be forced to do,” Poppe said.

But Hasan objected to the defense team’s assertions.

The government is calling the Fort Hoot shootings workplace violence. When lawyers for the wounded soldiers have challenged that ruling, the government has said that calling it terrorism would jeopardize the legal case against Major Hasan. There is another aspect to this, however. If the Fort Hood shooting is a terrorist attack, those wounded soldiers are entitled to Purple Hearts and the benefits that come with being wounded in an attack. Right now, the injured are being denied those benefits.

As witnesses to the attack testify that Major Hasan was yelling “Allahu akbar” during the attack, the idea that this was workplace violence becomes ludicrous. It’s time that the government prosecutors admitted what happened at Fort Hood so that our wounded soldiers could receive the benefits and medals they are entitled to.

Why Voters Need To Pay Attention When They Vote

CNSNews posted a story today about Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber.

According to the article:

Democrat Gov. Kitzhaber has granted a reprieve “for the duration of my service as governor” to Gary D. Haugen, who has twice been convicted of aggravated murder. Haugen – who wants to be executed – was first convicted of killing the mother of his girlfriend and later was found guilty of murdering a fellow inmate.

The irony here is that Mr. Haugen claims that the state allows him to refuse the reprieve and has asked the state to execute him. He has filed a lawsuit against the state to invalidate the reprieve so that he can be executed.

Meanwhile, in another case in Oregon, the Governor has refused even to discuss clemency in the case of a man facing prison time for collecting rainwater on his property. Gary Harrington is scheduled to begin serving a 30 day jail term this week.

The article reports:

Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Ore., was sentenced July 25 in Jackson County Circuit Court to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines for violating Oregon state laws that say all water is publically owned–making the 3 reservoirs on his property used to house rainwater and snow runoff illegal. has repeatedly contacted the governor’s office via phone and email to ask if the governor has any intention of pardoning Harrington or commuting his sentence. But the governor’s office has not responded to any of those inquiries.

Does this mean that if I have a water feature in my backyard and rainwater falls in it that I am breaking the law? Doesn’t the state government of Oregon have anything better to do than send people who collect rainwater to jail?

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This May Be One Reason Why ‘We Can’t All Just Get Along’

Yesterday reported that the European Union (EU) has been asked to intervene to prevent the execution of a man who sold the Bait HaMachpela (House of the Patriarchs) to Jewish families in Hebron.

The Jewish community of Hebron has asked the EU to stop the execution. The story reports the response of EU Committee for Foreign Affairs Chairman, Dr. Fiorello Provera:

“Abu Shahala’s conviction has no justification, and therefore the European Union will intervene to save his life. It is inconceivable that a man who sells his house will be convicted of a crime and sentenced to death. The PA is the foremost beneficiary of a European assistance, so we must intervene interest and demand the PA immediately cancel Abu Shahala’s death sentence. And, to remove the death penalty for the sale of property and land [to Jews].  I call on the PA to immediately block the implementation of death sentence on Abu Shahala, as required by the UN General Assembly.”

The PA has been clear from its founding that it wants to drive the Jewish people from Israel. That in itself is the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East. I am not convinced you can negotiate with people who would kill a man for selling his house.

Misplaced Charity

Today’s New York Post posted a story about Blake Allison, the husband of one of the victims of the terror attacks on 9/11, who is one of the 10 relatives of victims to win a lottery for tickets to the arraignment of confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four of his evil accomplices.

It seems that Mr. Allison has also used the opportunity to see his wife’s murderers to meet with the terrorists’ lawyers to offer his services as a witness in order to try to prevent the terrorists from receiving the death penalty.

The article reports Mr. Allison’s statement:

“My opposition to the death penalty does not say I don’t want the people who killed my wife and [the other 911 victims] brought to account for their crimes,” he said.

“But for me, opposition to the death penalty is not situational. Just because I was hurt very badly and personally does not, in my mind, give me the go-ahead to take a life.”

He said that “9/11 was a particularly egregious and appalling crime,” but added, “I just think it’s wrong to take a life.”

Just for the record, the Judeo-Christian ethic allows for the killing of murderers. I appreciate the unwillingness of this man to want to see anyone executed for murdering his wife, but what about the families of the other victims?

The behavior of the 9/11 terrorists resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. Islamic terrorism has killed innocent civilians for more than thirty years. Should this continue without consequences? Does Mr. Allison believe these people can be rehabilitated? Does Mr. Allison believe that if these men are imprisoned anywhere other than Guantanamo they will not be eventually freed in a terrorist attack?

The military tribunals at Guantanamo have a basic difficulty–if the terrorists are sentenced to death and executed, they become martyrs; if they are sentenced to life, we will always have the threat of a hostage situation calling for their release or an attack by fellow terrorists on whatever facility they are imprisoned in.

I think I would rather have the terrorists become martyrs than risk the further loss of innocent civilians to keep there murderers alive.

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This Arrived In My Email Today

This billboard is currently up in the Kansas City area:

I intend to complicate the message with a few basic facts.

The billboard is sponsored by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a Muslim Brotherhood connected organization. Note the strategy—that opposition to sharia law is supposedly an infringement on the first amendment protection of religious freedom.

This is, of course, disingenuous. Is ICNA arguing that the following provisions of sharia law be protected by the first amendment?

A Muslim man beating his wife for disobedience.

Punishment, up to capital punishment, of “apostates”—those who leave Islam.

 Polygamy. (In 1879, the Supreme Court ruled that Mormon polygamy was not protected under the first amendment.)


Suppression of criticism of Islam or Muhammad. (This is particularly obnoxious, since the first amendment also protects freedom of speech.)

Punishment for the practice of homosexuality.

Somehow none of these practices seem to be mentioned by those encouraging Sharia Law. No one is telling Muslims that they cannot freely practice their religion. What we are telling them is that if they live in America, they should expect to live under American law. As a religion, they are not entitled to their own legal system–even in America.


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The Iranian Government Is Trying To Save Face

Yesterday the International Business Times reported that Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is facing the death penalty in Iran, is actually being charged with rape–not apostasy.

However, the article reports:

However, a December 2010 court ruling issued and signed by Supreme Court judges Morteza Fazel and Azizoallah Razaghi mentions the religious charges against Nadarkhani and nothing more.

What has happened here is that the world has noticed that Pastor Nadarkhani was facing the death penalty for apostasy and has begun to question the Iranian record on human rights.

The article further reports:

As the case slowly garners international attention, the rape allegation is a signal that Nadarkhani has become, to put it bluntly, a public relations disaster for Iran.

In what could prove to be Nadarkhani’s last days, world leaders have finally condemned the death sentence and pushed for the pastor’s release.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a made-up charge. Hopefully the civilized nations of the world can put enough pressure on the Iranian government to prevent the execution of an innocent man.

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace (Or Freedom)

The sign above says is all. posted the above picture at the bottom of an article detailing plans to execute Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani if he refuses to renounce his Christian faith.

An article posted at today explains the details:

“As far as we understand, he will be asked again if he wishes to recant,” CSW (Christianity Solidarity Worldwide) press officer Kiri Kankhwende said. “Should he refuse, we understand that he will be facing an execution.”

The article further explains:

“This whole situation, the charges against him and the punishment he’s facing, are illegal — not only by the Iranian Constitution but the international treaties to which Iran is a party to,” Kankhwende said.

The thing that we in America need to realize very quickly is that Islam is neither a religion of peace or a religion of freedom. Under Sharia Law, it is a capital offense to convert to Islam to Christianity. That is not freedom of religion.

The article at points out:

The 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court has determined that Pastor Nadarkhani has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ. Iran’s supreme court had previously ruled that the trial court must determine if Pastor Youcef had been a Muslim before converting to Christianity.

Sharia Law (Islamic Law) and democracy are not compatible. There is an aspect of Islam that is not religious–it is political. In America we have freedom of religion–we do not have freedom to undermine our democracy. That is why any attempt to integrate Sharia Law into American law needs to be turned back forcefully.


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Sometimes The Death Penalty Is A Good Thing

I know there was a high-profile death penalty case in the news yesterday. I am not going to comment on that case because I don’t know enough about it and can’t get enough information from sources I trust to form a logical opinion. This article is about another execution yesterday that didn’t get anywhere near the publicity.

Associated Press reported that yesterday that Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed in Texas. Lawrence Russell Brewer was one of the men involved in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr., a black man from East Texas.

James Byrd, Jr., was a disabled man who lived very modestly on his disability check. Because he couldn’t afford a car, he walked wherever he needed to go. He was seen on Sunday, June 7, 1998, walking down the road not far from his home in Jasper, Texas. Later, he was seen riding in the bed of a dark pickup.

The article reports:

Testimony showed the three men and Byrd drove out into the county about 10 miles and stopped along an isolated logging road. A fight broke out and the outnumbered Byrd was tied to the truck bumper with a 24 1/2-foot logging chain. Three miles later, what was left of his shredded remains was dumped between a black church and cemetery where the pavement ended on the remote road.

I don’t know if the death penalty will stop anyone else from doing something so horrible, but I am glad this man will not be alive to spread the mental poison that allowed this crime to happen.

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