You can read Daniel Pipes:
[…] No one who knew him said a bad word about him, which is important, for it signals that he is not some low-life, not homicidal, not psychotic, but a conscientious student and amiable person. Which raises the obvious question: Why would a regular person try to kill a random assortment of students? Mr. Taheri-azar’s post-arrest remarks offer some clues.
- He told the 911 dispatcher that he wanted to “punish the government of the United States for their actions around the world.”
- He explained to a detective that “people all over the world are being killed in war and now it is the people in the United States’ turn to be killed.”
- He said he acted to “avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world.”
- He portrayed his actions as “an eye for an eye.”
- A police affidavit notes that “Taheri-azar repeatedly said that the United States government had been killing his people across the sea and that he decided to attack.”
- He told a judge, “I’m thankful you’re here to give me this trial and to learn more about the will of Allah.”
HT: Il Mascellaro.
Taheri-azar is being prosecuted in state court, and North Carolina doesn’t have an applicable terrorism offense that can be brought to bear against him. The state only has two statutory provisions dealing with terrorist incidents. One bans weapons of mass destruction, while the other amends the murder offense. The amendment to the murder offense doesn’t apply here–not only because Taheri-azar didn’t murder anybody, but also because it only applies when the murder was performed with a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon.
The federal sentencing guidelines do contain a sentencing enhancement in §3A1.4 for offenses intended to promote a federal crime of terrorism. In turn, 18 U.S.C. § 2232b(g)(5) sensibly defines the predicate intention for a federal crime of terrorism as actions “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct.” While this provision may seem at first glance to apply to Taheri-azar, it doesn’t provide federal courts with independent jurisdiction. Rather, the terrorist intentions must be coupled with an independent federal crime.
Quite simply, prosecutors would have trouble getting Taheri-azar into federal court because it appears that he committed no federal crime. The prosecution could argue that there was a federal civil rights violation because this was carried out on the basis of religion. But Taheri-azar didn’t target his victims on the basis of their religion. He may have been motivated by religion, but federal civil rights laws really only come into play when the victim is targeted because of his religion. And Taheri-azar’s SUV didn’t discriminate between Muslim, Jew, Christian and Hindu. Federal hate crime laws seem inapplicable for the same reason.
This gives rise to a serious point. Terrorist crimes are worse than other crimes because of their potential to disrupt society. Terrorists make war on the United States, and we should provide prosecutors with an additional ability to punish the terrorists. In the future, we may well see a shift not only to more decentralized terrorist cells that act autonomously from broader terror networks, but also to more lone-wolf acts of terrorism. If we take Taheri-azar’s statements in this case at face value, this would be an act of lone-wolf terror for which there is no way to enhance the perpetrator’s sentence due to his terrorist motivations. This is an issue that states should now begin to address in their criminal codes.
HT: Noisy Room.Net.
So, as a result: there is no law to pursue him on terrorists charges in the State of North Carolina and that will be used by terrorists in the future to commit their own crimes. Wow, this is marvellous…
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