An Older Aurora Story Might Help Us Understand the Current One:
Here's another Aurora, Colorado story that at first seems to have nothing to do with the horrific massacre/terrorist act at Theater 9 in the first minutes of Friday:
Aurora resident Jamshid Muhtorov was arrested on January 23, 2012 for providing material support to terrorists. The FBI started spying on Muhtorov because he had begun to frequent a website run by the Islamic Jihad Union, which is designated as a foreign terrorist organization. They have, in fact, done some bad shit. Not against the United States, but still, bad shit. But this isn't about the IJU. Let's focus on Muhtorov. It seems he used a few words that triggered alarm with the FBI, including "wedding." That's code that was used by previous terrorists to mean that something was being planned. By February 2011, the FBI was eavesdropping on Muhtorov's phone calls and tracking his movements, online and off. They heard a phone call where he told his daughter he would never see her again on earth. In January, he was en route to Istanbul, Turkey, when he was arrested on a layover in Chicago.
When you read the affidavit, you can see that the FBI had Muhtorov completely under surveillance, from his emails to the websites he visited to his phone calls to his activities at work. The material support for terrorism was himself, his body, his life. "Agents allege Muhtorov planned to travel overseas to fight on behalf of the IJU. No attacks appear to have been planned in the U.S." He faces 15 years in prison and a quarter million in fines.
Now, again, this isn't about the activities of the IJU. It's not really about Jamshid Muhtorov. It's about the fact that Muhtorov and others like him are arrested without having committed any crimes other than those that are limitations on the First Amendment. Should one be free to cruise jihad websites without being spied on? Should one be allowed to write to those websites? Should one be allowed to even go so far as to seem as if one is planning violence? And where is the line between free speech and crime? Criminalized speech seems like par for the post-9/11 course, and it happens with barely a peep from members of Congress who are not Bernie Sanders or Ron Paul. Indeed, the very act that allows such surveillance and criminalizes much activity is called "Patriot."
While we argue all the time about what limitations on speech and press, the freedoms of which are laid out in the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights are "reasonable," short of things like bazookas and missile launchers and certain explosives, we're not allowed to talk about reasonable limitations on the 2nd Amendment.
The idea that the crazed James Holmes was able to purchase 6000 rounds of ammunition online, legally, without triggering any kind of alarm bells is obscene. But, for the most part, law enforcement officials at every level are barred by state and federal laws from investigating almost any suspicious gun activity. Indeed, there's very little that is even allowed to be called "suspicious." That's how successful the NRA has been in strong-arming our legislators. Guns are more sacred than speech.
We're not talking here about a ban on assault weapons and high capacity gun clips (even though a sane nation wouldn't have to because a sane nation would have banned them a long time ago). We're talking about what is more dangerous to Americans and more deserving of our monitoring resources: some jerkoff who knows how to google "jihad"? Or someone who has purchased an AR-15, big ass clip, and 6000 bullets?
In the abstract, putting the massacre aside for a moment, who do you fear more?