James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Are you for Due Process, or merely against cruelty?

Some people who would never threaten physical violence against another will shoplift. They may think they're entitled. They may think the store or parent corporation is greedy. They may think it's harmless fun, or even funny. 

The shoplifters would point at the bank robbers and shout "Cruel! Unacceptable!"

After all, bank robbers point guns at people. Victims could suffer PTSD.

The shoplifters will find the moral high ground on the violence, although the shoplifters and bank robbers are both stealing. And stealing is unacceptable.

Is it surprising that some who justify shoplifting will justify bigger, riskier forms of stealing? Aren't those who failed to condemn shoplifting from the beginning partly complicit when some shoplifters become bank robbers?

It is all well and good to be against the violence or threats of violence in bank robberies. But why were you okay with the stealing?

This is what I've been thinking about through this border crisis in which foreign-born children have been separated from their parents and caged.

It made me think of the broad expansion of the "No-Fly List" shortly after the 9/11 attacks nearly 17 years ago.

The No-Fly List forced airlines to refuse to board American citizens who were on the list. The federal government infringed on the human right to travel without due process of law.

Innocent people were ensnared, as is inevitable when due process is ignored. I know of one, then a high schooler, with a very common name. He was delayed on his class trip. The late Sen. Ted Kennedy was on the list. People thought that was funny.

So we go from the No-Fly List to the victimization of these foreign children. Who knows what emotional scars won't be healed. Who knows how many children will be "lost" in the system. It's worse in many ways than the No-Fly list, just as bank robbery is worse than shoplifting. But the violation of Due Process was the same.

And people who had no complaints against the No Fly List or other travel restrictions without due process, are now advocates of human rights and Constitutional rights. They're suddenly for Due Process.

I hope they really are. I hope defending the rights of these children will inspire more people to fight for due process in other situations. I hope it's not just an emotional reaction against the cruelty. I certainly hope there aren't partisan motives.

To really oppose bank robbery, you must also oppose shoplifting because stealing is unacceptable. To oppose what's happening on the border, you must also oppose the No-Fly List, because violating Due Process is unacceptable. If we respected due process years ago, there would be no children in cages.

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