That meddlesome Fifth Amendment

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Massachusetts Democrats are at the forefront of the demand to deny Second Amendment rights to anyone placed (erroneously or not) on a terror watch list, including the No Fly List. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton and Katherine Clark, and State Representative Lori Ehrlich are among those demanding that anyone whose name appears on such lists be denied access to guns.

“The FBI should have the authority to block gun sales to anyone they believe is a terrorist,” Warren said on the Senate floor, apparently forgetting everything she ever learned about due process in law school. Note the absence of any sort of judicial review posited by the former Harvard Law professor.

Ehrlich has taken time away from her work in the State House on important Massachusetts issues like rhinoceros poaching to file state legislation that would deny those on watch lists access to guns. Never mind the fact that she has no idea what criteria are used to place individuals on the watch lists. Big government cannot possibly get such things wrong, can they?

There is, of course, an abundance of hypocrisy in the Democrats’ position. Consider the following: What do the Tsarnaev brothers, Omar Mateen, and Mohammad Atta all have in common?

Answer: They all participated in fewer terrorist attacks than Bill Ayers.

By his own admission, Ayers, a remorseless member of the Weather Underground, participated in at least three terror attacks: the bombing of the New York Police Department headquarters (1970); the bombing of the United States Capitol building (1971); and the bombing of the Pentagon (1972). And yes, that same Bill Ayers hosted Barack Obama’s political coming-out party in Illinois in the 1990s.

Regarding his career as a terrorist, Ayers is unapologetic. In an interview published in the New York Times on, of all days, September 11, 2001, Ayers stated “I don’t regret setting bombs.” In fact, his only regret was “I feel we didn’t do enough.”

Keeping the door open to further terrorism forty years later, he told the Times, “I don’t want to discount the possibility” of additional bombings.

And if that isn’t disturbing enough, think about this: Ayers dedicated a book he co-authored to, among others, Sirhan Sirhan. That’s right, the man who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy.

Sounds like someone who should be on a terrorist watch list, doesn’t he?

Perhaps he is. Terror watch lists are secret databases maintained by the federal government. They are not subject to judicial review because they are not grounds for an arrest. They merely include the names of those suspected of things like having ties to terrorists. Ostensibly, the Bill Ayers of the world.

So, one wonders: if Warren, Moulton, Clark, and Ehrlich are so eager to deny constitutionally-guaranteed rights to the likes of Ted Kennedy and Cat Stevens (both of whom were on the No Fly List) and the seventy-two Homeland Security officials who are on the watch lists, would they also deny them to Ayers (or his fellow terrorist and wife Bernardine Dohrn for that matter)? One could make a very strong argument that the FBI should “believe” (Warren’s standard) that he is a terrorist.

So, why not deny him, say, his First Amendment right to free speech? Using the logic of Warren et al, why should someone who is an actual—not just a suspected—terrorist have access to Twitter, from which he might radicalize a new generation of anti-government terrorists? Doesn’t he present a believably clear and present danger? Remember, Ayers admits to keeping the door open to the possibility of future terrorist acts.

If that sounds extreme, consider the plight of the despicable Anwar al-Awlaki. He was the Muslim cleric who used the internet to preach jihad and to radicalize the likes of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan, the Times Square bomber Fasial Shahzad, and the Christmas Day underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Unlike Ayers, there’s no evidence that al-Awlaki personally tried to kill anyone himself. Instead, the cowardly imam used the internet to inspire terrorist attacks by others.

The government didn’t just decide to take away al-Awlaki’s First Amendment rights. No, for his efforts, al-Awlaki, a United States citizen born in New Mexico, was assassinated on the order of President Barack Obama via his trusty Hellfire missiles.

To be clear, no tears should be shed for al-Awlaki, who was a reprehensible psychopath. But one should cry for the Constitution and the rule of law as liberal ideologues mount a fight against the Bill of Rights. As U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) incredibly bemoaned, “Due process is what’s killing us right now.”

Got that? It’s not radical Islamists. It’s the Constitution. And here we were all this time believing that the Fifth Amendment was there to protect us.

Anthony Amore

Anthony Amore

Anthony Amore is an expert in security matters and is formerly an Assistant Federal Security Director with the Transportation Security Administration in Boston. Read his past columns here.