Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Death Penalty Opponents Don't Make Sense as Terror Suspects

Sportswriter Dave Zirin writes in his Huffington Post blog about a bad experience he had with the Maryland State Police's Department of Homeland Security. According to documents obtained using the Freedom of Information Act, the department spent nearly 300 hours spying on an anti-death penalty organization of which Zirin was a part. Some members of the organization were designated as terror suspects in the homeland security database, simply because they organized peaceful protests. No evidence existed that the group was engaged in any criminal activity. (More at the Baltimore Sun.)

Aside from the obvious first-amendment issues, the Maryland Police's choice of target is a curious one. Anti-capital punishment activists are among the least violent and threatening people in our country. These are people who are opposed to using violence even to punish the most dangerous criminals. Spying on these activists in hopes of foiling a terror plot is a waste of time, money, and faith in government.


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