Two interesting stories juxtapose themselves in the Detroit Free Press this week.
In the first story, nine members of the Hutaree militia were ordered released on bond. They were arrested for plotting the death of law enforcements officers by luring one to a 911 call and killing him, and then attacking the funeral procession where many police officers would be killed. The judge released these dangerous people on bond, declaring that there was not enough evidence to hold them and hateful speech was protected by the First Amendment, even though the speech threatens an attack on the government with clearly laid out plans, including weapons. (A federal judge has stayed the release until Wednesday at 5:00 pm.)
In the second story, a man released on bond for multiple violations including being an absconder from probation for previous convictions and carrying a concealed weapon shot a killed a Detroit police officer early Monday morning. He wounded four others before taking a bullet to the back side. Today, a young wife is a widow and a young son is fatherless because a judge decided to release a dangerous man on bond.
The judge who ordered the release of the Hutaree must surely hope that the second scenario doesn’t take place again. That will be a heavy burden to bear for this gross misjudgment and irresponsible order.
The judge has imposed some strict bond conditions, such a home arrest, electronic tethers, surrendering passports and concealed weapons permits, and staying away from guns and drugs.
But this group strikes me as the type of group that is totally unmoved by government orders. If they were likely to submit to the authority of the government, they would not have have been plotting this attack in this first place.
In a land of freedom, there is also responsibility. And that responsibility falls as much to the judicial branch as to the citizens of this country. When a person or persons declare their intent to commit mass murder, and have laid out those plans, a responsible judiciary takes action; it does not release them to continue their plots.
Free speech has never included the right to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. Surely plotting to the mass murder of law enforcement officers is not less than that.
We have many dedicated police officers who place their lives on the line every day. Every call they go to is a potential grave for them. They know it. It is a life of risk.
Judges should not increase that risk by releasing people with violent histories and documented plots to kill law enforcement officers.
It is irresponsible. It is dangerous.
Hopefully, it won’t become tragic again.