Defending Rights & Dissent abhors the violent attack on innocent bystanders in New York City. Our full solidarity is with those killed or injured and their loved ones.
This tragedy should not be used to further erode civil liberties nor should it be used to incite racial and religious prejudice. The individual who murdered these people should be brought to justice. That is ultimately the purpose of the criminal justice system, which is used almost daily to put on trial those accused of murder, including terrorists like Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and Ramzi Yousef.
Yet, some have called for the Constitution to be ignored. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have called for the suspect to held as an “enemy combatant” and transported to Guantanamo Bay. McCain went so far as to make the shockingly bizarre statement that “There’s no Miranda rights for someone who kills Americans.”
The right to due process is afforded to all criminal suspects, no matter how heinous the crime they are accused of. To deprive a person suspected of carrying out a crime on US soil of these rights–or to worst yet, send them to some type of legal black hole, is out of line with the Constitution and an unacceptable assault on basic human rights.
Furthermore, we deeply resent Donald Trump’s attempts to exploit this attack to scapegoat Muslims and immigrants.
Finally, we are dismayed at Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) call for Trump not to decrease Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism funding. While we all want to prevent terrorism, DHS has a history of shredding civil liberties in the name of “counterterrorism.”