A personal constitutional dilemma
Dec 03, 2017 | 954 views | 0 0 comments | 149 149 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To the Editor:

Halloween 2017 put me in a quagmire with my own personal feelings which I inevitably pitted against the Constitution. This day brought forth another terrorist attack on American soil by a terrorist who pledged loyalty to ISIS. My immediate reaction was probably like others, it has to stop and we must do anything to deter people from committing these acts, full well knowing that logically this is not possible. Raw emotion can be dangerous if not reigned in and my second thought was this person deserves nothing and should get nothing other than death. As the events of the day unfolded some began to suggest that this person should be treated as an enemy combatant. My initial reaction was that this is an appropriate course of action and could technically be constitutional. This person pledged allegiance to ISIS which has declared the United States its sworn enemy, an enemy not of a country but an enemy in ideology scattered throughout the world.

My thought process flowed logically to some degree because if someone declares allegiance to another country or a foreign entity they are siding against the Constitution. Logically they have given up their Constitutional Rights and should be treated as an enemy combatant and due process does not apply. As I pondered this and my emotions calmed down and I started questioning my own reasoning. This person was here legally and as such they are afforded the same rights as we are. This Constitutional Republic is built on the premise that all are equal under the eyes of the law and the Constitution. Suspending Habeas Corpus on an individual who was admitted into this country legally would be a very slippery slope.

I continued to ponder if this is something that could be decided by the courts via a judge. Could a judge make a ruling as to if an individual’s rights to due process, could he be stripped and reclassified but I hit the same wall. Having a judge make this decision is a slippery slope. How could we trust the courts or the government to do the right thing, what would stop them from abusing such authority. I thought about it more and realized why the founders feared mob mentality so much. When a time of crisis is upon us, people are willing to throw away all ideals and reasoning to achieve justice even if an injustice results.

As I viewed this dilemma that I inflicted upon myself I realized once again why the Constitution is so important and not outdated. The Constitution not only protects us from the Government but also protects us from ourselves, to protect us from the enemy within. The enemy is raw emotion, mob mentality. That is why this terrorist, a monster, a stain on mankind still must have due process. The 5th & 6th Amendment is clear and if we allow mob mentality to take control and deny due process then what happens when they come after me to deny due process. Maybe it will be you the reader who they come for in the middle of the night to take you into the darkness.

Shawn Jaryno

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