Then There Was No One Left To Speak Up For ME. . .
Perspective on the News
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Jack Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor
Many years ago, I was a police officer in Mount Pleasant, Texas. The chief of police at that time was a legendary figure named B.C. Sustaire. He was a giant of a man who had come to work for MPPD the year that I was born.
I never knew what B.C. stood for -- we joked that it was probably the prefix to the year of his birth. We called him "Chief." I never knew his wife's name, either. We called her "Mrs. Chief."
Anyway, one day we all gathered at a downtown coffee shop, as was our routine back then. I can't speak for today's cops, but in Texas in the 1970's, we spent a lot of time meeting in coffee shops. When I worked the day shift, I spent as much time with Chief in coffee shops as I did on patrol.
These morning coffee meetings weren't with our own guys -- we were a small department in those days. Usually, the day shift consisted of Chief, one sergeant and one or two patrolmen. So when Chief was headed to the coffee shop, he would put out an APB to that effect.
Usually, we'd be met by a couple of DPS (Highway Patrol) officers, a TABC officer named Harold Rester, a couple of guys from the Fish and Game Department and occasionally, our local Texas Ranger, Brantley Foster.
I used to wear a mustache in those days and the first thing Chief did when he hired me was tell me to shave it off. At one of these coffee meetings, Harold Rester started to tease me about my former mustache, telling me (in front of Chief): "Chief can't fire you for growing a mustache. It would violate your rights."
I don't know if that was true or not, but I jumped at the bait: "Yeah, Chief. What about that?"
Chief just smiled and rubbed one of those great, big hands across his mouth and looked at me.
"Well, ol' Harold's probably right," Chief said. "I probably can't fire you for growing a mustache. I'd have to find something else to fire you for."
He didn't need to elaborate. And neither did I think he was kidding. . .
That story came to mind as I was reading of the arrest of that poor schmuck that really believed that in America, one cannot be arrested for expressing one's opinion in a lawful manner.
Of course Nakoula Basseley Nakoula,would never have made The Movie That Nobody Saw if he was still living in Egypt. In Egypt, one can be arrested for expressing one's opinion on film.
But in America, one's opinion is a sacred thing, protected by what are known as America's "First Five Freedoms" enshrined in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution as part of America's Bill of Rights.
Back when Obama was trying to have the 9/11 masterminds tried in a US federal court in New York for the September 11 attacks, the position taken by the Obama Justice Department was that the Constitutional protections afforded US citizens are extended to all persons inside United State's jurisdiction, regardless of citizenship.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is an Egyptian citizen, according to Obama and not an American. Suddenly, that makes a difference to Obama. The people that murdered three thousand innocent citizens should be covered by the Constitutional protections.
But the guy that insulted Mohammed? Maybe we should turn him over to the Egyptians.
“We have important interests in the emerging democracies in the Middle East,” the president told Scott Pelley during the interview. “This individual, Mr. Nakoula, is Egyptian – is not a U.S. citizen – and may be in violation of his parole making him subject to deportation.”
The president said that he could deport Mr. Nakoula using an executive order if he so chooses.
Pelley questioned the president whether Nakoula fits the criteria currently being applied by Homeland Security for deportation since his crime, if any, does not involve violence but a parole violation.
“We could make an exception in Mr. Nakoula’s case since that repugnant, amateurish film offended many people and led to much bloodshed,” said President Obama.
An exception? Because he made a lousy movie? Because it was offensive to another culture? Those are grounds for deportation?
(On those grounds alone, Obama should be seeking Bill Maher's arrest, or at the very least, his removal from the public airwaves.)
Make no mistake -- this Nakoula guy is no Pollyanna - he pleaded no contest to bank fraud and did time for it. He was on supervised probation at the time he produced The Movie Nobody Saw.
Still, it isn't illegal to make a lousy movie and it isn't illegal to defame Mohammed or Islam anymore than it is illegal to defame Jesus or Christianity.
(If it was, Martin Scorcese would be sharing a cell with Willem Dafoe, Tom Hanks would be sitting in jail beside Dan Brown, and Robert Mapplethorpe would be on death row.)
Which is what carried me back all those years to that coffee shop in downtown Mt Pleasant, Texas where B.C. Sustaire first articulated the principle under which Obama views the Constitutional limits on his power.
"If we can't arrest the guy for insulting Mohammed, we can always find something else to arrest him for."
See? Free speech is still protected. No problem.
Citing Nakoula’s “lengthy pattern of deception,” a federal magistrate ordered him held without bond for alleged probation violations, including making false statements to his probation officer and using aliases.
The judge rejected a plea from Nakoula’s lawyer, who argued that Nakoula's life would be in danger at an L.A. lockup due to the facility's large population of Muslim inmates. So instead, if he survives, Nakoula will remain in custody in advance of a probation revocation hearing, the date for which has yet to be scheduled.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is going to prison for insulting Mohammed -- IF he is very, very lucky. Even if the California jail is filled with Muslim inmates, there is at least a chance that his jailers will put him in protective custody.
If Obama has his way, then Basseley Nakoula is a dead man. If he is deported to Egypt, he will be tortured, tried, convicted, tortured some more and eventually executed for committing a 'crime' that is not a crime in America or in any English-speaking Western democracy on earth.
As we've already seen, politically, Americans owe Islam no more dignity or respect than Americans owe Christianity. Doctrinally, Muslims owe no dignity nor respect to Christianity and Christianity has no duty to respect Islam.
Indeed, each faith is mutually exclusive of the other.
Under the tenets of Islam, Christianity is a false, polytheistic religion that worships a man as a god. Islam views Jesus as a prophet, but inferior to Mohammed and certainly NOT the Son of God.
Islam claims that Jesus was NOT executed, did not die for the sins of mankind, was not resurrected and faith in Him alone cuts no ice with Allah when it comes to the next world. Under the tenets of Islam, nobody that is a Christian can be saved.
Any Muslim that converts to Christianity has committed an offense for which the death penalty is prescribed. The conversion is not considered valid and the convert is still regarded as a Muslim, albeit an apostate one.
Under the tenets of Christianity, salvation comes through Christ and Christ alone. No non-Christian can be saved, since salvation is a function of grace through faith and not of works, lest any man should boast.
No Christian owes allegiance to Islam and for a Christian to accept the shahada, whereby one acknowledges Mohammed as a prophet of Allah, is an act of blasphemy. There is no room for one religion to reach out to the other in a spirit of ecumenical brotherhood without each side violating is own most basic doctrines.
There is nothing wrong with that. It is simply an acknowledgement of the painfully obvious. Things that are different are not the same. Beliefs that are different are not the same. Religions that are different are not the same.
That is the reason that the first freedom guaranteed by the 1st Amendment restricts the government from elevating one religion above the other:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech. . . "
Nakoula Bassely Nakoula is apparently an Egyptian citizen legally residing in the United States. Moreover, Nakoula is not a Muslim but is a Coptic Christian. So under the First Amendment, he has a right to express his faith, as well has having the right to speak freely without fear of arrest.
It doesn't matter if his speech is offensive. It doesn't matter if he is not a nice guy. It doesn't matter that he wasn't born in America or that he isn't a citizen. Under Obama's immigration policy, it doesn't even matter if he is here legally.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula isn't in jail right now because he violated his probation by using aliases -- were it not for the President blaming the movie for the September 11 terror attacks in Benghazi, nobody would be talking about deporting him to Egypt.
If the movie had been about anything or anyone other than Mohammed, the Hollywood community would be SCREAMING about repression and artistic license and civil rights and the 1st Amendment.
Here we have a filmmaker going to jail for making an offensive movie! Where are all the Hollywood stars? Where are all the free speech champions? Where is Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn and Harry Belafonte?
Where are all the Democrats? Where are all the AMERICANS?
In 1937 a German clergyman named Martin Niemoller was arrested by the Nazis for speaking out against Hitler's excesses. He spent time in both Dachau and Saschenhausen, but managed to survive to the war's end.
On his release, Niemoller issued a statement that soon became a poem and is frequently quoted as the model for the dangers of political apathy:
First they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
But this isn't Nazi Germany. This. . . is America!
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
God help us all.
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