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February 20, 2004

Capitulating to the Mob

Eugene Volokh points out that Rhode Island's Governor Carcieri has withdrawn his anti-terrorism bill from the legislature's agenda:

Carcieri said his legislation was written after a thorough review of laws to prevent and prosecute terrorism. Noting that state government has a responsibility to protect the public by "responding to new and evolving threats," Carcieri said his office decided that some laws needed to be updated.

He said today he will continue to examine the issue.

"Going forward, I will solicit input from a variety of interested and informed parties to determine what alterations to our existing laws are necessary to protect public safety in a post-911 world.

Personally, I'm ambivalent about the bill. I'm not sure why Rhode Island would need it, unless to maintain, locally, laws and procedures under threat for political reasons in the USA Patriot Act, and Carcieri is apparently not sufficiently convinced of its necessity to make the case. Furthermore, there was language that would have had to be tweaked as the bill went through the legislative process.

But it is simply infuriating to see a gang consisting of the media, the ACLU, and a mob of "experts" distort facts and bully the governor into bending to whatever their agenda is. Surely, Carcieri's quick capitulation — and countless surrenders across the country over the years — had an emboldening effect on these groups, and the raw power that it indicates ought to be of concern to anybody who understands that there is, in fact, a balance to be struck between individual liberty and communal well being.

While there is reason to be thankful that legions of watchdogs are out there combing the law on behalf of our individual freedoms, a level of civility has been lost. The groups' knowledge of their power is certainly responsible in some degree.

Posted by Justin Katz at February 20, 2004 9:19 AM