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.