This is from Wednesday, and I am dilatory in posting on it. Still, a fascinating story on Harry Burkhart, the man who set dozens of fires in Southern California, apparently in an attempt to terrorize Americans.
In the video, you hear that prosecutors believe Burkhart set numerous fires because he was angry about extradition proceedings involving his mother. The prosecutor arguing against bail in the video gets the distinction of being able to say the f-word — in court! in front of his boss! — as he quotes the suspect saying “Fuck all Americans” at his mother’s hearing. (The TV bleeped it out, of course.) Hours later, the fires started.
Later in the story we learn a bit more about some of the evidence against Burkhart. According to the story, a U.S. Marshal remembered the above outburst and notified authorities after seeing Burkhardt on a televised surveillance video. We are told that police found bombmaking material in Burkhart’s vehicle — always damning evidence in a case of domestic terrorism. We are also told that police found newspaper articles about the fires in his apartment, as well as newspaper articles about similar car fires in Germany. The story reports that he was also a suspect in a fire at a residence of his in Germany.
Steve Cooley is quoted in the story as saying that the series of crimes “merits a life term” in light of “the harm he did to the psyche of the citizens of these particular communities and all of Los Angeles County.” I am going to boldly agree with my boss here. Terrorists, including domestic terrorists, victimize not only their immediate victims, but also terrorize entire communities and wreak havoc in people’s lives. A life term certainly seems appropriate for someone who engages in a campaign of domestic terrorism of this nature.
UPDATE: This is the second post in recent weeks that seems incapable of taking comments. It is set up to take comments, but for some reason the software is not cooperating. I just tried to submit one as a test and could not. So if you’re trying to comment on this post and failing, it’s not just you.
UPDATE x2: Given the technical glitch, I have disabled comments for the post, but created a new page where you can leave your comments. Comments to this post can be left here.
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[Posted by Karl]
After last night’s debacle, I was not too keen to get out of bed early for another one, particulalrly one “moderated” by David Gregory. But here’s the likely highlight (aside from not spending 45 minutes discussing contraception).
Post-Iowa, it seemed like Newt Gingrich was mostly going to stay in the race to attack front-runner Mitt Romney, which does not seem all that presidential, but does seem very Gingrichy. At last night’s debate, Gingrich began with some half-hearted attacks on Romney’s record at Bain Capital, but then largely dropped the attacks.
This morning, Gingrich apparently was more aggressive [Update: although I’m reading more people suggesting the attacks again dropped off over time]. I would advise him to stay away from the frequent citation of the New York Times and WaPo as his sources, Newt got this one in after Romney again touted his private sector experience at length (along with a backhanded swipe at Rick Santorum’s lobbying):
I realize the red light doesn’t mean anything to you because you are the front-runner [Audience laughter] but could we drop a little bit of the pious baloney?
The fact is you ran in ’94 and lost, and that’s why you were not serving with Rick Santorum. The fact is you had a bad re-election rating. You dropped office. You had been out of state for something like 200 days and preparing to run for president. You didn’t have this interlude of citizenship while you thought about what to do. You were running for president while you were governor. You were going all over the country, and you were out of state consistently. You then promptly re-entered politics and you happened to lose to McCain as you lost to Kennedy. Now, you’re back running. You have been running consistently for years and years and years, and the idea that then suddenly citizenship showed up in your mind, and just level with the American people. You have been running since the 1990s.
The video is at the Daily Caller. I will note Newt’s hypocrisy here. After all, he’s the guy who wanted all the candidates to play nice in the early debates and settled for bashing the debate moderators (as he reverted to doing last night). However, the point of these debates should be to get an idea of how each might perform under the full weight of attack the eventual nominee will get from Team Obama and its public relations branch (the establishment media). If Mitt Romney really wants the nomination, we ought to get a look at how he replies to the obvious attacks that will be made on his standard campaign rhetoric.
Update: Romney supporters may forgive me for labeling Hugh “You Know Who This Benefits?” Hewitt a shameless Romney flack when I note that he correctly points out that Romney’s later counter-attack on Gingrich shows Mitt can dish it out, too.
Update 2: Philip A. Klein makes a related point about Romney’s prevent defense.