David Brooks opines today concerning the murders in Paris (quit calling them “executions” and giving them some sort of legal patina):
Americans may laud Charlie Hebdo for being brave enough to publish cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad, but, if Ayaan Hirsi Ali is invited to campus, there are often calls to deny her a podium.
So this might be a teachable moment. As we are mortified by the slaughter of those writers and editors in Paris, it’s a good time to come up with a less hypocritical approach to our own controversial figures, provocateurs and satirists.
The first thing to say, I suppose, is that whatever you might have put on your Facebook page yesterday, it is inaccurate for most of us to claim, Je Suis Charlie Hebdo, or I Am Charlie Hebdo. Most of us don’t actually engage in the sort of deliberately offensive humor that that newspaper specializes in.
We might have started out that way. When you are 13, it seems daring and provocative to “épater la bourgeoisie,” to stick a finger in the eye of authority, to ridicule other people’s religious beliefs.
But after a while that seems puerile. Most of us move toward more complicated views of reality and more forgiving views of others. (Ridicule becomes less fun as you become more aware of your own frequent ridiculousness.) Most of us do try to show a modicum of respect for people of different creeds and faiths. We do try to open conversations with listening rather than insult.
Yet, at the same time, most of us know that provocateurs and other outlandish figures serve useful public roles. Satirists and ridiculers expose our weakness and vanity when we are feeling proud. They puncture the self-puffery of the successful. They level social inequality by bringing the mighty low. When they are effective they help us address our foibles communally, since laughter is one of the ultimate bonding experiences.
A lot of people are panning Brooks today, but on the large point, I think he’s right. What was done was, in many people’s opinion, “puerile” and “offensive”. But as he further points out, even those who are puerile and offensive in that regard do indeed serve a “useful public role.” They point to things that need pointed at and they do it in a way that is difficult to ignore. That doesn’t mean I have to like their methods or even their message, but I do want them to have the freedom to express it.
For myself, I usually avoid that sort of offense. I personally think most points can be made within reasonable bounds of propriety. But those are limits I put on myself. It’s a personal belief that I am able to sway more people with reasonable arguments and bits of sarcasm that I am from being puerile and offensive. I believe that those who engage in that sort of behavior turn off more minds than they turn on. But that’s my belief. However, for those that believe otherwise, they have the full right to engage in such behavior as long as it doesn’t violate the rights of others. And no, you have absolutely no right to not be offended.
So in that regard, Brooks is right. I’m not in the mold of Charlie Hebdo … but I defend their right to be offensive, profane, blasphemous and puerile via their speech with everything I have. That doesn’t at all mean I like it, am not offended by it or think it is right. And whatever they do, their right to free speech also opens them up to the consequences of exercising that right.
Murder is not one of them. Violence of any sort is not one of them. We hear a lot about proportionality. What is a proportional response to being offended? Off the top of my head I can think of any number of “proportional” responses – depending on what you find offensive, there are several ways to make that point – condemnation, boycott, peaceful activism, ignoring them, dismissing them, etc. But their right to say what they want is as fundamental a freedom as the consequences that come with it. And that’s how it should be.
Modern Christians, for instance, have seen many examples of profanity and what they’d consider to be blasphemy writ large – in supposed “art” for instance. However, they’ve responded proportionally to the offense.
So Brooks is right in the large sense. I’m not Charlie Hebdo – but I’ll support Charlie Hebdo’s right to do what they did to the death.
Let me start out with the conclusion – the government does not have a right to have easy access to your possessions on the premise that at some point in the future you might turn out to be a criminal.
There’s a lot of hoopla going on about child molesting pedophiliac serial murdering terorists(non islamic of course) who are just waiting for the release of the newer Apple IPhones so they can encrypt and hide the evidence of their crimes. This reckless disregard for government’s need to easily poke through your posessions, i.e. read the stuff on your IPhone, will allow these yet to be criminals to get off scott free because the government will be unable to easily decrypt the data.
Well, that at least seems to be the argument I keep hearing. I probably could have thrown in some other things these criminals are going to encrypt, but pedophiles and terrorists seem to be the hot button crimes the government thinks are the be all end all arguments for why they should be able to get at the data without a great deal of hassel on their part.
As a counter weight to that set of players, let’s imagine a journalist, with secret “Deep-Throat” level informers inside government who has data encrypted on his phone that pertains to government malfeasence with names, and dates, including the name or names of the informers (and copies of 8×10 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a parapgraph on the back explaining what each one is to be used as evidence against them). And for crazy but obvious reasons the reporter really doesn’t want to share that with the government and he encrypts it on his IPhone.
Let’s presume for a moment a corrupt Department of Justice or other government agency. Crazy talk, right? Gee, that could never happen (cough cough…. DOJ FIFA foot dragging, contempt of Congress Fast and Furious, IRS investigations, lost emails, crashing hard drives, NSA reading everything written by everybody that traverses the internet) Let’s presume that the encrypted data that would bring down the government perps in these corrupt agencies is on the reporter’s IPhone, and the corrupt agency creates reason to confiscate said phone, and would like to know what’s on it, again, for crazy but obvious reasons. Suppose the criminals ARE the government. Nah, that could never happen.
So, do you believe you’re obligated to make your possessions easy for the government to search? Do you believe your house should be an open book to government warrant, because, hey, you might be a criminal in the future. People don’t think of their data as a posession, but just because the old way of storing data was ‘papers’ doesn’t mean that ‘bits’ aren’t really the same thing. All we did was change how it’s stored. Should you be obligated to tell the government about any and every secret hiding place you have on your property when they show up looking for those Cuban cigars you knew were illegal to bring back from your Carribean cruise? Should you be obligated to make it EASY for them?
It has been correctly pointed out that this action by Apple is in direct response to the NSA snooping, and we joke about it, but be honest, we all pretty much think they’re looking at EVERYTHING, don’t we? And despite their protestations of innocence, we think they’re doing it here, and abroad, for practically everyone, on any electronic transmission they can get access to. It all has to go through routers somewhere, sometime, it’s all being recorded and relayed at some point. All of it. This ain’t magic ya know. And now they’re outraged! outraged! that people might be trying to make it hard on them to peek and poke and prod.
And I’m supposed to believe being able to crack the data on an IPhone is going to stop, oh, another Boston Marathon bombing? When they lost track of a guy because they didn’t spell his name right? How are they going to get his phone to decrypt his data?
Nah, sorry, there’s a whole lot of government house cleaning that needs to go on at the IRS, the DOJ, and the many flavors of DHS before I get excercised about them not being able to easily decrypt data on an IPhone. I’m more afraid of the listed agencies than I am of Achmed and Mohammed or the guy who dresses up as Barney and keeps encrypted pictures of nude kids on his phone. I’m against all of those things okay? And my way of dealing with such people would probably be much more at home on the frontier west of the 1800’s than 21st century America.
But we have people flowing across our southern border from who knows where, thinking who knows what, carrying who knows what diseases or posessions and agencies getting bent out of shape over not being able to decrypt future criminal eveidence are doing exactly jack-all to stop THAT even though they know it’s occurring RIGHT NOW. Keep Achmed and Mohammed out of the country, and we won’t have to worry what they’ve encrypted on their IPhones. And we caught pedo’s before they had IPhones to encrypt data on.
Federal law enforcment can spare me their attempts at moral outrage because from what I see they’re not outraged much by the abuses they can do something about directly right now that have nothing to do with easily decrypting future data on a future criminal’s phone. And I am flat not convinced that the 4th Amendment was written to make it easier for the government to poke through my stuff.
Seriously, that’s the question some whackadoo feminist columnist in the UK is asking (it makes you wonder if the paper that published it is a serious news source).
But this is less an issue of costliness than it is of principle: menstrual care is health care, and should be treated as such.
She wouldn’t know true principle if it throat punched her. However, what is clear is when you allow yahoos to redefine “health care” and get government to take control of it, well then everything should be ‘free’.
Her authority? Not to worry, feminists have declared a few things to be “true”, and that make this a no-argument, slam-dunk:
Sanitary products are vital for the health, well-being and full participation of women and girls across the globe. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch, for example, have both linked menstrual hygiene to human rights.
Well there you go. I’m not sure where the human right not to be coerced by government into subsidizing another’s wants went, but apparently that’s a real right that is to be forever ignored.
If it is “health care” then it is a “right”. And if it is a “right” then it should be “free”. And if it is “free”, someone else should pay for it – or so the “reasoning” goes. /sarc
Of course the fact that any such product has to be produced at a cost, transported at a cost and distributed at a cost that someone has to pay is just lost on these sorts of folks. It doesn’t register.
As far as they’re concerned tampons come from magic tampon trees and when they need them, well, they’re just there. And because they’re just there, they should be free! Don’t you get that, you neanderthal?
Frankly I like this answer from a commenter to the article
Why aren’t tampons free?
Why isn’t soap free or wet wipes or shampoo?
If your argument is that sanitation should be provided for all cheaply then fine [Ed. sorry, but it already is].
But it isn’t. Your argument is that its all a plot to make women pay for stuff they need. At the end of the day its not free because in the real world you have to pay for stuff. Your right to a hygienic lady area is no more compelling than mine to a clean backside or clean hands. You are once more guilty of making women victim’s of their vaginas.
The commenter is right – the unspoken part of this attempt to fleece others is supposed victimhood. Read the article – it reeks with it.
In reality this is just the inevitable extension of the Sandra Fluke argument that all women are entitled to free contraception because it is a “right” or something.
Where I come from “rights” aren’t something others pay for with either time, labor, material or money.
But hey, if you can redefine “health care” you can certainly redefine “rights”, no?
What was the time necessary for “first responders” to arrive at the Newtown CT school? 20 minutes?
Unacceptable if, as many want you to believe, you should leave your defense in the hands of others.
Sorry, I simply refuse to be a victim.
What happens when armed people going about their everyday lives are confronted by evil?
Well, things like this:
Police say a gunman, identified as Jesus Manuel Garcia, chased patrons from the nearby China Garden Restaurant into the lobby of the Santikos Mayan 14 movie theater at around 9 p.m. on Sunday. Garcia, an employee of the restaurant, reportedly walked in the establishment looking for a woman.
A gunman retreated from a Casper nail salon last week after realizing one of its customers was packing heat.
Police say about 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, a man walked into Modern Nails at 2645 E. Second St. and asked a female employee if she wanted to buy some diamonds. The man walked toward the front desk area and the woman replied that she had no money to buy diamonds.
A witness said the man then reached into his coat pocket and began to take out a silver-colored pistol.
At that moment, a woman who was getting her nails donereached into her purse and got her own firearm. Police say the man never fully raised the gun and left the building after seeing the customer had her weapon out.
Eric Posner wants us to understand that we “value” freedom of speech much too much. Because, after all, the rest of the world doesn’t see it the way we do, and thus, one gathers from his article, we should become more like them. In the title to his article he says we “overvalue” the right of freedom of speech. Here’s what the hoary whisper of oppression sounds like:
This is that Americans need to learn that the rest of the world—and not just Muslims—see no sense in the First Amendment. Even other Western nations take a more circumspect position on freedom of expression than we do, realizing that often free speech must yield to other values and the need for order. Our own history suggests that they might have a point.
He goes on to give examples of our history where government has been less than supportive of the right.
Notice what he values more than free speech? Order. I wish I had a dollar for every pop-gun totalitarian whose clarion call was for “order” over other rights.
You see one of the acknowledged problems with freedom is it’s messy. That’s right, people get to make choices you don’t agree with and, even more importantly, get to act on them without your permission.
That’s just too “messy” for some, like Posner. Instead we sh0uld voluntarily curtail our freedoms to placate mobs and murderers half a world away because they choose to become violent over something someone said.
Posner spends the rest of the article trying to defend his premise and sound reasonable. Interestingly it devolves into a secondary attack on conservatives who apparently use this wretched overvalued freedom to oppose such wonderful and valuable things like hate speech laws and political correctness.
Make no mistake about it, at bottom, this is an appeal for speech codes and legal remedy for speech those like Posner find to be “invaluable” for whatever reason – in this case “order”.
Putting this to the old libertarian test, i.e. “freedom = choice”, it flunks. It limits or removes choice in the face of mob violence half a world away. It gives in to people who chose to be violent.
Anyone with more than a day on this earth knows that such a move would only encourage more acting out by those mobs. They sack an embassy, we clamp down on our own rights. Any time they can dictate a limiting of our freedoms with their actions we essentially play right into their hand and they win. For some reason, those like Posner can’t see the dark hand of al Qaeda and other violent radical Islamic gangs behind this. And the first thing these cut-and-run cowards suggest we do is limit our freedoms to placate those who would willingly kill us if given the chance?
Yesterday, as the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted for the 30th time to repeal ObamaCare, Nancy Pelosi said:
“We put forth a vision for the middle class to make health care a right, not a privilege for all Americans. Today, as they have done more than 30 times this Congress, Republicans will vote to take away that right.”
Pelosi, among many of our legislators and politicians in general, displays a level of ignorance about rights and privileges that seems pretty basic to me. Governments don’t grant rights, they grant privileges no matter how hard they try to characterize what they do as a “right”.
A right, to be a right, must be inherent. It is something you have even before government shows up. The right to life. The right to liberty. As our founders identified these rights, they’re “inalienable”.
The best government can do, and the true foundation of a just government, is the acknowledge and protect our inherent rights. I.e government should exist to protect those rights.
Real rights are passive. They don’t require the assets, time, labor or commitment of others to enable their execution. Health care, of course, is a perfect example of a pseudo“right” which requires all of that.
Anything that government can give you (remember, we had the inherent rights I talk about before government existed and we formed the government to acknowledge and protect them – see founding documents) is not a “right.” And when government has to use it’s coercive power to “enable” these pseudo “rights” as it has in this health insurance debacle, it isn’t a right.
There is no right to health care. Period. There never has been. You have no inherent right to demand someone else use their skills, time and assets to service your health. You certainly have the right to negotiate and reach a voluntary agreement (see liberty) with health care providers based on a mutual exchange of value (see property). But “right” – no.
And besides, what Pelosi et al really cranked out was a requirement to buy health insurance via the coercive taxing authority of government. It no more guarantees health care as a right than the previous system. You still have to find a health care provider to accept your insurance and agree to treat you. In fact, it’s even tough to characterize the ObamaCare monstrosity as a government granted “privilege”.
Back to the point – this fundamental ignorance about rights and privileges, however, is at the root of many of our problems. For decades we’ve allowed government to get away with calling things it grants “rights” to the point that the concept of rights is so muddled that most people don’t understand them at all and have fallen for the government line.
Falling for that line helps enable horrific legislation like ObamaCare because it gives it cover, a veneer of "good” the proponents use to push their agenda. Who wouldn’t be for something that’s a “right”?
My point: Don’t let them misuse the word. Call people and politicians who do this out. Make them substantiate their claim of a right and when they can’t point out what is really going on. They’re talking about a privilege established by government coercion. That’s not freedom. That’s not liberty, two things you have a right to expect and something these privileges usually curtail.
It’s time to take back the political language. And there’s no better place to start with the understanding that government’s don’t and can’t grant rights.
I come down on the side of the former – a violation of my civil rights. When does the government unilaterally get to decide if I’m able to talk to someone (or communicate by other means, such as Twitter) on a device I’ve contracted with a private company and for which they provide service? When it sees a compelling public safety risk.
And what would define that public safety risk? Well that’s kind of up in the air. Take the expected riots in Chicago for the NATO summit.
According to the Daily Beast, a little known Bush era regulation gives law enforcement the ability to jam cell phones … you know like they did in Tehran when the people attempted to stand up to their government. Or Syria?
Not only do the FBI and Secret Service have standing authority to jam signals, but they along with state and local authorities can also push for the shutdown of cell towers, thanks to a little-known legacy of the Bush administration: “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 303," which lays out the nation’s official “Emergency Wireless Protocols.”
The protocols were developed after the 2005 London bombings in a process that calls to mind an M.C. Escher work. First, the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) formed a task force— composed of anonymous government officials and executives from Cingular, Microsoft, Motorola, Sprint, and Verizon—that issued a private report to President Bush. Another acronym-dragging committee, also meeting in secret, then approved the task force’s recommendations. Thus, according to NSTAC’s 2006–07 annual issue review, SOP 303 was born.
"In time of national emergency," the review says, SOP 303 gives “State Homeland Security Advisors, their designees, or representatives of the DHS Homeland Security Operations Center” the power to call for “the termination of private wireless network connections… within an entire metropolitan area.” The decision is subject to review by the National Coordinating Center, a government-industry group responsible for the actual mechanics of the shutdown. The NCC is supposed to “authenticate” the shutdown via “a series of questions.” But SOP 303 does not specify, at least not publicly, what would constitute a “national emergency,” or what questions the NCC then asks “to determine if the shutdown is a necessary action.”
“[T]he termination of private wireless network connections …”. That should send a chill up your spine. This is the realm of dictatorship.
What if I have nothing to do with whatever the disturbance in the area might be? What if I have an emergency? What if I can’t get to a land line? Who in the hell are these people to deny me access to a private service I pay for and they don’t?
And all for their convenience, because that’s the point. Protesters use wireless services and social media like Twitter to organize.
Instead of Law Enforcement learning to monitor that and react sufficiently well to blunt its effect, they prefer to use the sledge hammer approach and shut down service to all in an area.
I have a contract with a provider. That provider agrees to provide me uninterrupted service for payment. I pay. Government decides to void that contract at its own whim and possibly endanger my life and safety by doing so.
Oh, and here’s a little ground truth:
“It’s the nature of law enforcement to push the envelope,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a former New York City police instructor and professor of police practice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It’s act first and litigate second.”
Understatement of the year. For instance:
While it’s against the law for individuals or nongovernmental organizations to sell or use jammers, the devices are easily found online. The U.S. military was among the first to use communications shutdowns, and local government demand for the technology has been building for years, even as the legal rules for its use have remained ill-defined. Prison wardens want to snuff out the use of smuggled cellphones by inmates; school officials hope to disable students’ phones; the National Transportation Safety Board wants to disable all “portable electronic devices within reach of the driver” while cars are in motion.
I’m sure you can dream up many more rights abusing nanny state scenarios (yeah, jamming illegal prison cell phones actually seems legit) than those listed. Imagine a state banning cell phone use in cars and installing jammers along all major highways. Imagine a car wreck with injuries. Imagine the law suits to follow.
For once the ACLU and I are on the same side:
The ACLU, Verizon, and a coalition of public-interest groups noted that cellphone blackouts would, with few exceptions, violate the Constitution and federal communication law, as well as threaten public safety by eliminating the means to share vital information or call 911.
Now other efforts to cut through the legal haze have emerged. In response to the wireless shutdown in San Francisco last summer, California State Sen. Alex Padilla introduced what would be a first-of-its-kind bill stipulating that to cut off service a judge must sign off that the move is necessary to avert “significant dangers to public health, safety or welfare.” If approved, the bill, which has the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, could become the gold standard for state policy. San Francisco transit officials codified their own policy, which remains quite vague, after the public backlash to their shutdown. It calls for “strong evidence” of dangerous and unlawful activity, a belief that an interruption will “substantially reduce the likelihood of such an activity” and that the interruptions are “narrowly tailored.”
No. That agrees to the premise that government should have that power and then tries to define it “narrowly”. I don’t agree with the premise of government’s right to do this. If they want to talk about an exceptional power in time of a declared National Emergency, I’m willing to listen. But we all know how wide “narrowly” becomes when law enforcement is given an ability to use such a power. They’ll use it for their convenience, screw your rights.
A lot has been said and written about the oral arguments before the Supreme Court concerning ObamaCare. Many have claimed you can’t base much on such arguments.
Perhaps. But it seems to me that you can get an indication of the mood of the court if you consider them carefully and keep them in context.
What I’ve surmised over the past few days is the law is in deep trouble. I think, if nothing else, the oral arguments pointed out how dismally weak and poor the arguments “for” this law are.
Of course, depending on how they would like to see the court rule, each side has found ways to spin these arguments to support their hoped for result. No huge surprise there.
But I think the one thing that is clear is the court is pretty well split down the middle and along ideological lines. And, as we’ve said for some time, in reality the result will hinge on the vote of Justice Kennedy.
However, I think you have to keep in mind that it won’t be a single ruling but one which entails several votes. One on the individual mandate, one on severability and possibly, depending on how the severability vote goes, if portions or the whole bill ought to be struck down. If the whole law is struck down, of course the expanded Medicare portion discussed yesterday will go with it.
That leaves you wondering where Kennedy is in his deliberation of the case. Again, if looking at indications to be gleaned from the oral arguments, one could assume he finds it true that the individual mandate would “fundamentally change” the citizen’s relationship with government – and not to the citizen’s favor. I think it is also true that he is not satisfied that the government has successfully articulated a “limiting principle” – a critical and key point in the discussion.
Finally, I get the impression, from yesterday’s arguments, that Kennedy is leaning toward “paving over” the whole law. In other words, giving Congress a “do over” since taking the mandate out would create a law and a consequence that it is hard to argue was Congress’s original intent. What is also interesting is the developing opinion that striking down the entire law would actually be an exercise in judicial restraint, not judicial activism.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Mr. Clement is asking the Court to conduct "a wrecking operation," before stating that "the more conservative approach would be salvage rather than throwing out everything." The Obama Administration didn’t say exactly that, but it did argue that the mandate is indispensable to its supposedly well-oiled regulatory scheme and if it is thrown out the insurance rules should be too.
But Justice Anthony Kennedy doubted Justice Ginsburg’s logic, since by taking out only the individual mandate the Court would in effect be creating a new law that Congress "did not provide for, did not consider." To wit, costs would soar without any mechanism to offset them.
"When you say judicial restraint," Justice Kennedy said, "you are echoing the earlier premise that it increases the judicial power if the judiciary strikes down other provisions of the act. I suggest to you it might be quite the opposite." Overturning the mandate alone, he continued, "can be argued at least to be a more extreme exercise of judicial power than to strike the whole."
This is a critical point.
I think it is clear the 4 justices traditionally identified with the liberal side of the court are fore-square for the law and will find some way to justify it’s egregious and unconstitutional over-reach. And yes, no secret, I’ve always considered the law to be that and nothing I’ve heard in oral arguments has changed that. I think Justices Thomas, Alito and Scalia are for finding the mandate unconstitutional and for killing the entire law. I think Chief Justice Roberts is against the mandate although I’m not sure it’s a foregone conclusion that he wants to kill the entire law at this point. However I think he’ll be persuaded eventually.
That would make Kennedy the guy … again. No surprise for most who’ve watched the court for the past few sessions. He often ends up as the swing guy. You may disagree with my assessment of where he is in his decision making process, but his questions and comments, at least to me, seemed to indicate he was forming a particular opinion and that opinion favored both striking down the mandate and then striking down the whole law.
Should that be the case, and given the Democrats are unlikely to have an unassailable majority in Congress anytime soon as they did when they passed this monstrosity, this is indeed “the most important case in 50 years”. That’s a “good thing” because the likelihood that a “replacement” will be passed in Congress becomes much less likely. Kennedy’s vote could save America as we know it and protect us from a law that would “fundamentally” change our relationship with government and place us in a position of involuntary servitude to a government given license to run our lives in pretty much any way it see’s fit to pursue.
Gotta love it (he said sarcastically):
The Freedom and Justice Party, political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, says it does not endorse gender discrimination, although the Brotherhood argues women should not be allowed to rule the country.
The party is the dominant bloc in both houses of parliament after a sweeping victory in a multi-phase general election that began in November. Women hold just two percent of the seats in parliament.
Because, you know, not allowing women to rule the country isn’t “gender discrimination” as the Muslim Brotherhood sees it (they too are adept at redefining words apparently).
A women’s conference organized by the dominant Islamist bloc in the Egyptian parliament has called for a council for families to replace the existing National Council for Women, a state-owned daily reported on Friday.
The conference, held Thursday on International Women’s Day, also condemned the 1978 U.N. convention against gender discrimination saying it was “incompatible with the values of Islamic sharia” law, the Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
Remember, the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate organization, or so say our apologists in the West. And, as all can see, it is taking a very moderate position by making women 2nd class citizens in their own country again.
But *cough, cough* they don’t “endorse” gender discrimination. Got it?
The suspect in the LA arson fires is Harry Burkhart. Burkhart lives in Hollywood. What else do you need to know?
According to law enforcement sources, Burkhart has been involved in a dispute with federal immigration officials.
Burkhart appears to have been battling the U.S. government over the immigration status of his mother.
His solution? Burning up other people’s property.
A string of 53 fires mostly destroyed the property of people he didn’t know and who had nothing to do with his dispute with the government.
The Los Angeles Times reports that it appears a U.S. State Department source pointed to Burkhart after he unleashed an anti-American tirade in U.S. immigration court recently, apparently in reaction to his mother’s reported deportation: A government official recognized him as resembling the man in the Hollywood+Highland surveillance video and alerted local authorities.
Oh, and his mom?
One woman told the [radio] station that the mother had indicated to her that her son wasn’t all right in the head.