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Friday, December 09, 2005

Standing up for his constituents

The WSWS comments on the shooting of an unarmed man at Miami Airport on Wednesday.
The most enthusiastic response, however came from Congressman John Mica, a Florida Republican whose district office is located in Maitland, the same town where Rigoberto Alpizar lived.

“This shows that the program has worked beyond our expectations,” the Congressman said of the slaying. Mica is chairman of the House transportation subcommittee on aviation.

Asked on CNN television news whether the marshals shouldn’t be able to distinguish someone suffering from mental illness from a terrorist—as many of Alpizar’s fellow passengers did— Mica replied contemptuously, “Air marshals don’t have time for counseling.”

Mica is typical of the right-wing element that dominates in Washington. Earlier this year, he delivered a speech declaring the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo “too good for the bastards” and dismissing the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib by declaring, “I saw worse things at fraternity houses in college than what our troops were involved in.”

Summing up his attitude to the gunning down of a mentally ill airplane passenger—one of his own constituents—Mica declared, “This should send a message to a terrorist or anyone else who is considering disrupting an aircraft with a threat.”
Message sent, alright. "We can kill any one of you at any time. Love, your government." In case you doubt whether that is actually government policy, Scottie McLiar will set you straight:
Asked about the shooting at a White House press conference Thursday, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan declared (emphasis added): “...the air marshals that were on this flight appear to have acted consistent with the extensive training that they have received, and that’s important to note. And so we are appreciative of all that our air marshals do day in and day out in terms of trying to protect the American people.”
Protect them by killing them, of course.

The WSWS covers other aspects of the story, including that none of the other passengers heard Alpizar say anything about a bomb or make any threats, and the Gestapo treatment given all of the other passengers on the plane. The WSWS concludes:
Official Washington’s celebration of the fatal shooting of an innocent man fleeing a commercial airliner, however, sends another message entirely. It is a message of a brutal society, increasingly indifferent to human life, and prepared to inflict the methods of Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and Fallujah on its own citizens.
[Update] Time has an article on the shooting featuring an interview with a passenger who saw or heard most of what happened.
He thinks the whole thing was a mistake: "I don't believe he should be dead right now."