Two nights ago on Monday evening, I attended and spoke at a public forum held by North Alabama State lawmakers. The forum was broadcast by a local cable carrier, and for those viewers no additional explanation of my remarks will be needed.
However, although the Huntsville Times actually did a better job of placing my own public comments into an appropriate context than they have in the past, I still would like to be sure that the public, and those who were directly affected by the tragic event in Athens, fully understand the message that I intended to convey at the forum, and that I believe I did in fact communicate within the full context of my remarks.
After I finished my prepared comments, Tom Butler lashed out saying I was insensitive, and then gave a needlessly graphic account of how the officers were slain on that day. If anyone has acted without consideration for the people involved in the tragedy, it is in fact Tom Butler, who quickly saw an opportunity to exploit the event by jumping on the gun-control band wagon — while the families and community are still stunned, and in a state of shock and grief. Hence, the reason for referring to the Senator as “demagogic.”
The blow by blow that occurred on January 2nd doesn’t leave much room for discussion, and as stated in my remarks, I do not defend the killing of the two officers involved, nor do I defend the individual accused. However, I stand firm in my assessment of the information presented by the Huntsville Times, that clearly suggests Farron Barksdale endured persistent harassment and provocation in the months, and perhaps years, prior to January 2nd.
While that reality is not justification for the killing deaths of officer Larry Russell and officer Tony Mims, it does leave room for the consideration that Barksdale’s situation may have been at least partly aggravated, finally to the breaking point, by previously inappropriate behaviour of other police officers, or other individuals in the community. In short, a greater attention to decorum by all those involved prior to January 2nd, might also have prevented the loss of life.
It seems indisputable that Barksdale suffered some psychological challenges, however, again based on the information presented by the local media, he may or may not have been a case for legal commitment. Did Farron Barksdale shoot and kill two police officers because he is mentally unstable, or did he become angered by provocations to the point of retaliation?
Taken out of context, the Huntsville Times on Tuesday states that “Casey said people involuntarily committed for mental treatment do not pose a greater risk to society.” In fact, I did not use those words. Here is exactly what I said:
Recent reports indicate that the people who fit into Mr. Butler’s targeted profile, do not actually pose anymore risk of criminal behaviour or violent crime than the regular population. The farther reaching ramifications of Mr. Butler’s demagogic policy suggestions are staggering. Tom Butler would give an already corrupt medical community the authority of marshal law to be administered onto their chosen targets as they see fit. The abuse of the mental health system for illicit political agendas is by no means a new trick.
In context again, I stand firmly by my comments that obviously allude to a larger group of people who may or may not have ever been legally committed. To expound on that concept, imagine anyone who ever felt like they might benefit from an anti-depressant after watching the barrage of suggestive advertising that now peddles pharmaceutical remedies for anyone who ever shed a tear for any reason. How much professional coercion, how much more suggestive reasoning, how much more money in the hands of corrupt and greedy medical dispensers does it take to finally legally commit someone who may not actually have any real, much less dangerous, condition?
Perhaps an individual does in fact pose a political threat to those who wish to rule the masses with an iron grip. In the post 911 climate of Orwellian infrastructure, the possibility, the potential, and the probability, all add up to present an ominous and almost incomprehensible attack on our Constitutional government. If a search of Barksdale’s living quarters yielded the current farmer’s almanac, would that then negate his supposed mental condition, and instead place him in the genre of enemy combatant, or terrorist suspect?
Now add to that the reality that the empirical data doesn’t support the suggestion that people who have undergone psychological treatment pose any greater risk of violence than the regular population, and you can begin to see that Butler’s underlying motivation is to initiate and propagate gun-control all the way across the board. Tom Butler surely will not be satisfied until gun ownership by all people is eliminated.
Tom Butler would set a standard to deny Constitutional rights to a targeted group of individuals based solely on arbitrary reasoning. If someone kills a police officer who owns a red Camaro, then following Butler’s reasoning, all people who own red Camaros should be legally branded and relegated to second class citizenship without the full rights guaranteed to American citizens by the United States Constitution.
Interestingly enough, that is exactly the sort of concept the George W. Bush has proposed for illegal immigrants. There is a larger scheme at work, just connect the dots, call it conspiracy, call it Orwellian, call it what you will, it adds up to Constitutional erosion, and the end of American freedom and independence.
Here is the full context of my prepared remarks as I read them at the public forum:
The war in Iraq has now claimed 513 American lives. In good faith, we believe that we send our troops to Iraq in order to secure our way of life. We believe, that the war that has cost 513 American lives in Iraq, more than 50,000 American lives in Viet Nam, and hundreds of thousands more American lives in other wars, is in order to secure democracy, freedom, liberty, and independence, and to preserve the United States Constitution.
A few weeks ago, two police officers lost their lives in Athens. A terrible and unnecessary tragedy. Last week, Senator Tom Butler exploited the unfortunate event in Athens, to propose additional enforcement of gun control policy that would in fact negate the sacrifice of all the soldiers who have died fighting for our rights.
Presently the score is 513 American lives lost in Iraq, vs. two lives lost in Athens.
I am sorry for the death of officer Russell and officer Mims. But abrogating constitutional rights over the loss of two vs. the purchase price of those rights by thousands upon thousands just doesn’t make sense.
Recent reports indicate that the people who fit into Mr. Butler’s targeted profile, do not actually pose anymore risk of criminal behaviour or violent crime than the regular population.
The farther reaching ramifications of Mr. Butler’s demagogic policy suggestions are staggering. Tom Butler would give an already corrupt medical community the authority of marshal law to be administered onto their chosen targets as they see fit. The abuse of the mental health system for illicit political agendas is by no means a new trick.
Genetic profiling vs. All Men are created equal.
I do not know Mr. Barksdale, and so I cannot, and do not, defend him personally. However, the evidence presented by the Huntsville Times does NOT corroborate any sort of illness. It clearly does show that he encountered pervasive harassment, either by the community, or by the Athens Police department, or both.
If you want to make our communities safer for everyone, then you must first embark on a path that will ensure the equitable and fair dispensation of law that is already in place.
Arbitrary profiling that erodes the Constitution and ultimately advances an Orwellian police state will not solve the problem. Ultimately that will only serve to destroy all that we value so highly, and that has been purchased at such a high price.
©2004, 2013 – Jim Casey
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