National Rifle Association (NRA) board member Ted Nugent essentially advocated the return of public American lynchings in a Sunday column that decried the modern justice system as too slow to deal with “voodoo” terrorists like the Boston bombing suspect and the Fort Hood shooter.
“He probably won’t go to trial for more than a year due to court-sanctioned delays,” he wrote for right-wing conspiracy website World Net Daily. “Once he’s found guilty, he will be afforded any number of appeals that will take more years, possibly more than a decade. The young voodoo nut has got a long life in front of him, thanks to America’s screwed-up justice system.”
The Detroit-born rocker went on to say that he views the Fort Hood shooting suspect in a similar light. “Hasan is a voodoo terrorist who should have been the feature attraction at a neck-stretching party on the grounds of Fort Hood years ago,” Nugent added. “I would have supplied the rope, the lumber for the gallows and gladly pulled the hatch on this soulless rabid dog.”
Nugent goes on to say that since American “jurisprudence” has been hijacked by things like attorneys, evidence and appeals, “a July 4 celebration of stringing this son-of-a-b-tch [sic] up in the Boston Common and letting the crows pick on his rotting flesh” would be more his speed.
“There will be no swift justice for the Boston voodoo punk,” he concludes. “He’s got a long life ahead of him. How pathetic.”
Nugent may be surprised to learn that jurisprudence is a field of study, rather than an attitude or plodding, methodical system of doing things. A key piece of literature in that field is Oliver Wendell Holmes’ “The Common Law,” which contains a series of lectures on how laws against murder, assault, property damage liabilities and the like evolved over time.
Holmes, as any student of jurisprudence would note, dissects in great detail how society moved from mob rule justice, hangings, lynchings and regular public displays of barbarism to a more nuanced, logical system of rigor, evidence and oversight through appeals.
“For the most part, the purpose of the criminal law is only to induce external conformity to rule,” Holmes explains. “All law is directed to conditions of things manifest to the senses. And whether it brings those conditions to pass immediately by the use of force, as when it protect a house from a mob by soldiers, or appropriates private property to public use, or hangs a man in pursuance of a judicial sentence, or whether it brings them about mediately through men’s fears, its object is equally an external result.”
“In directing itself against robbery or murder, for instance, its purpose is to put a stop to the actual physical taking and keeping of other men’s goods, or the actual poisoning, shooting, stabbing, and otherwise putting to death of other men,” he adds. “If those things are not done, the law forbidding them is equally satisfied, whatever the motive.”
Anyone who would place “the condition of man’s heart or conscience” above the rigors of logic and evidence, Holmes adds, is trafficking in “the very opposite of truth.”
The suspect in Boston, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is in critical condition after shooting himself in the head Friday night as police uncovered his hiding spot. Authorities said Sunday that his condition recently stabilized enough for him to answer questions in writing.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.