Monday, August 14, 2006

Since when are these felonies?

I'm gratified to read about recent terrorism charges being dropped against American-born Muslims who were arrested in the Midwest last week, but one paragraph confused me:
The men - brothers Adham Othman, 21, of Dallas and Louai Othman, 23, of Mesquite, and their cousin Awad Muhareb, 18, of Mesquite - were stopped by police Friday outside a Wal-Mart store in Caro, Mich. They were charged with gathering material relating to terrorism and surveillance of a vulnerable target - apparently the bridge - felonies with a 20-year maximum penalty.
So if I buy some ammonium nitrate fertilizer and photograph the American Airlines center more than most people would think is normal, I can be charged with not one, but TWO felonies, felonies which have no discernable victim and are already covered in some form of conspiracy charges?

It seems that these men were simply being good capitalists:
While local authorities in Michigan and Ohio feared the cell phones could be used in terrorism attacks - they've been used to detonate bombs in Europe, the Middle East and Asia - the men's relatives and friends said the men are innocent entrepreneurs buying cheap phones for marked-up resales. They were targeted, supporters said, because of their Arab heritage.
Pretty much any electronic device can be used to set off a bomb, if you're creative enough. Random Arabs being creative entrepreneurs should not be charged with obtuse felonies simply because they're Arabs being creative entrepreneurs.


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