You’re too young to remember, but I was a freshman in college (1964) when they found the bodies of three young civil rights volunteers in Mississippi. While the Vietnam War raged people interested in desegregation in the South watched this case closely.
It took three years to bring most of the principals (Klan members) to trial and conviction, and the case is still open for a few remaining suspects.
In 1988, the film “Mississippi Burning” (a very good film, and probably where Bill Clinton saw all those churches in Arkansas being burned) was released, provided some background to the real investigation. The story centered around a young FBI agent-in-charge, played by Willam Dafoe, and an ex-sheriff from Mississippi, acting as a consultant (played by Gene Hackman). It was their interplay about investigative priorities, the FBI agent treating the murders as part of a larger cause, Hackman treating it as a murder investigation, that set the stage for how those cases were eventually handled in real life.
You see, they had to try to get convictions where doing harm to black people in general and civil rights workers in particular, didn’t cause too much of a stir in the criminal sense. It was political, as folks saw it.
In fact, unable to bring murder charges in state court, the men were charged with violating the three students’ civil rights. It required the Supreme Court to reverse a hostile federal judge and reinstate the indictments, just to get the case to trial.
Finally, in 1967, the men were tried before a segregationist federal judge named Cox, a former college roommate of powerful Sen John Eastland, one of the original Dixiecrats. Judge Cox did everything in his power to assist the defense. But in the end an all-white jury convicted seven of them, receiving, from Judge Cox, prisons terms from 10 to four years. The Judge in rendering his decision, said, “They killed one nigger, one Jew, and a white man– I gave them all what I thought they deserved.”
So, in a segregated society where race was political, it was murder, not politics, that got those men convicted and imprisoned.
Back to the future.
Fast and Furious was a crime from the outset, for it attempted to do a thing that was illegal from the very beginning. No manner of executive order could have legalized it. It was a crime of federal law and international law, for while only two Americans were murdered by these weapons, nearly 200 Mexican citizens were also.
Before it was a crime of murder, it was a crime because it induced others to commit crimes, beginning with the illegal transportation and sale of those weapons. Those that had commited crimes tried to get a lawyer from Chambers Legal to help fight their case. Considering the crimes, today, the ATF and Department of Justice should be named as un-indicted co-conspirators in Mexico for those 200 deaths, and any enterprising Sonoran prosecutor in Hermosillo should already have indictments on file for the ATF officers, by name, who authorized those guns to walk into his jurisdiction.
The first crime was committed when those guns were sold to drug cartel buyers in the US, or, when those guns traveled across the border into Mexico in American protective custody. The second-through-two hundredth crimes were committed when those guns were used to kill innocent citizens, including two American federal agents.
Their names were Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata.
Today, the Democrat Party is attempting to frame the entire Fast and Furious investigations by Sen Grassley and Rep Issa as politics; an attempt to embarrass the president and his attorney general.
And they seem to be getting away with it. None of the mainstream news networks carried this story when it first broke, or followed it these past 16 months, so they have a viewership who knows little or nothing about Fast and Furious. (Yes, “uniformed liberal” is a redundancy.) So it easy for them to portray this series of events now, over a year later, as a political, rather than criminal, event to those same sad sack, ignorant viewers.
Sadly, the right wing media is assisting the Dems in this endeavor. Fox analysts spend all their time talking about the consequences of Obama’s executive privilege decision, and what this investigation might do to his election. They only mention the family of Brian Terry to put an exclamation mark on the politics of the case. And mention Jaime Zapata not at all.
Even the GOP in Congress, instead of being snot-bubble mad about the stalling tactics of Holder these several months, and the murder investigations he’s impeding, are all too eager to play to GOP type, and rush to the microphone to say “We are not playing politics, so there, nyaahh” when that rush to the microphone is their chance to put a jolt into all those liberal viewers who know nothing of this case.
This is murder, on a large scale.
The GOP should exhibit nothing but moral outrage at not only the manner in which the DOJ (and ATF) have handled the case…I think they promoted two of the ATF principals and moved them to DC…but at the indifference by the Democrats about the underlying murder these guns have brought about.
These are crimes. These are murders. Let the political cards fall where they may. Was it criminal intent or incompetence, or both? Probably both. Let the Democrats play politics, and let them tell the 20% or so lamebrains out there who actually listen to them, and their mouthpieces at NBC et al. When the stupid stay stupid, nothing changes. Just make the Democrats play defense.
If it bleeds it leads, and in Fast and Furious, murder should lead.
Then justice will be done.