Last night, Kim linked to the mouthpiece for CAIR (a named but unindicted co-conspirator in at least one terrorist trial) issuing his veiled threats to those who would report suspected terrorists on airplanes. The debate about the “John Doe” protection act is getting heated.
Several people have questioned the need for such a measure. The act, as originally written, would grant legal immunity from civil lawsuits for those who — in good faith — witness “suspicious” behavior on an airliner and report it to officials.
According to CAIR, this law is a bad thing, as it would grant license to bigots and ignoramuses (who, apparently, are a far greater threat to our nation than terrorists — after all, 9/11 was almost SIX YEARS ago, and that’s almost forever) to exercise their prejudices and wage open discrimination and hate against Muslims and any other group they choose.
This is such a load of codswallop that I can not accept the idea that CAIR is simply misguided and misunderstanding the act. This has to be nothing less than an assault on the security of the American people.
Let’s take the setting — an airliner — out of the equation for a moment. Suppose that you were in a park and spotted someone acting in a very suspicious manner. You were disturbed enough by what you saw to tell a police officer about it. The officer goes over and confronts the person, trying to ascertain whether or not they are, indeed a danger.
If they are not, then there really isn’t any harm done. If they are, then you are a hero — or, at least, a good citizen.
Now let’s toss in CAIR’s boogeyman, the Dreaded Evil Islamophobe, and play out that same scenario from their perspective. Suppose you saw someone in that park who was obviously a Muslim. (Say, walking with — that is, a couple steps ahead — of a woman in a full burkah.) You hate and fear Muslims (a follower of The Religion Of Peace), so you decide to make trouble for that noble Follower Of The Prophet (Peace Be Unto Him) and seek out a police officer and lie to him, saying that you saw him strapping a bomb around himself (the sort of thing that a True Devotee Of Islam would NEVER do). The officer goes over and talks to the Noble Muslim. The officer immediately recognizes that the charges you made were utterly baseless, and sends him on his way to continue doing Allah’s work and spreading His word.
The law, in this case, is clear: you are on the hook, legally, for what you did. Technically, you could be charged with giving a false statement to the police.
The distinction here: in the first case, you were acting in good faith. You honestly reported what you perceived, expressing concerns, but not fabricating details. In the second, there was no good faith involved; the reporting to the police was done in malice, not based on actual events, but on your biases and ill will.
And that is the crux of the John Doe law. It protects those who act in good faith — but does nothing to protect those that CAIR speculates might act.
Of course, sometimes it is hard to determine who is acting in good faith, and who is feigning it. That’s why there are structures set up to screen these complaints. They are called “police” and “air marshals” and “airline officials.” They are the ones who hear the concerns, evaluate them (and the complainant), and then investigate them.
They are the ones who make the ultimate decision on what is done about these complaints. And it is them — not the complainant — who bears the responsibility for whatever actions spring from that initial complaint.
Let’s go back to the park. In that case, if the accused is innocent and persecuted, they have legal recourse — against the police. And the police, if they believe that they were lied to by you, they can pursue charges against you. But the accused can not immediately go after you.
In the airplane case, the complaining passengers are not taking any direct action. They are simply informing the appropriate officials about things that ought to concern them. It is the officials that are responsible for evaluating those complaints (and complainants), and then taking whatever action they believe appropriate.
And the John Doe amendment would not change that in the least. It simply gives formal protection to those who report what they believe — in good faith — is suspicious behavior to those who are trained to evaluate such things, and empowered to take appropriate action if they deem it necessary.
In the park case, the accused can sue the police for harassment if the allegations are utterly unfounded. And in an aircraft, the accused can sue the airline if they are mistreated. The John Doe bill would not have changed that one whit.
CAIR’s opposition is not motivated by fairness or justice. It is about one thing, and one thing only — silencing those who might speak up. It is, in spirit, an assault on the passengers of United Flight 93, a whole planeload of “John Does” who acted in good faith on that day and chose to take action.
That is the sort of spirit that must be crushed, if militant Islam and its apologists at CAIR have their way. And that must not be allowed to happen.