Monday Musings With Antonio: Coast Guard Officer Plotted to Kill Democrats and Journalists, Prosecutors Say

  • Feb 25 2019

Coast Guard Officer Plotted to Kill Democrats and Journalists, Prosecutors Say

NY Times Article
Published 2/20/2019 by Dave Phillips

He “plotted to kill Democrats and journalists,” the title says yet the arrest is for a felony gun charge and a misdemeanor drug offense. As a defense attorney, I read this and it just screams “Thought Police.” While there’s no doubt what this individual believed in, read about, and “dreamed of” is troubling, to say the least, labeling him a domestic terrorist is a stretch. Given his background, I’m surprised he is being held even if only for 2 weeks on these charges. Until (and if) prosecutors charge him with additional crimes related to terrorism, he is no different than anyone else accused of these same charges & entitled to the same protections and rights. And that’s regardless of how you feel about his personal & world views.

Should he be prosecuted if he committed the gun & drug offenses he is accused of, no doubt. It’s also generally frowned upon to maintain a list of people you want to kill – especially when your list includes public figures. Reading manifestos of terrible people that did terrible things, also not how I choose to spend my leisure time. But does having a dozen or so weapons and over 1000 rounds of ammunition (which I may add is a staggeringly low number and not unreasonable for even your average gun enthusiast to keep at home) make you a domestic terrorist and earn you a spot on the front page of the New York Times?! I get that we have to couple the weapons with the hateful writings and list of people to kill. But it’s troubling that without more – some type of overt act for example – someone is considered a domestic terrorist. Do we need to wait until he kills someone before acting, absolutely not, but saying he’s a domestic terrorist based on just this – I disagree – for now. Maybe once the government gives us more than just the “proverbial tip of the iceberg” my opinion will change, but until then I’ll keep thinking back to 1984 & Minority Report (though with the latter I’ll mostly be dreaming of a day I have an awesome computer like Tom Cruise did).

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