Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Wrong Answer

While I can certainly appreciate Eric Holder's position betwixt a rock and a hard place, my fellow alumnus has come to the wrong conclusion.
In short, damn Congress, sir! New York City needs this trial.
This is not about protecting the citizens of New York City, as the cowardly mayor, Mike Bloomberg thinks. He's not form New York anyway, and shame on you for listening to the advice of a Red Sox fan. And the members of Congress who railed against bringing terrorists to the Big Apple to stand trial are even more cowardly, for they could give a rat's ass about the security of our city. If they did, they wouldn't make cuts to programs so vital to our citizenry.
We New Yorkers are a tough breed, as you know, Mr. Holder. If a manhole cover explodes, as they do so frequently (thanks again, Republicans!), we shrug our shoulders and "call it in the air". When a truck backfires, it's the tourists, the commuters and the fresh-off-the-bus-from-Podunk yokels who flinch. New Yorkers are the ones turning up their iPods.
We survived September 11, most of us. Some of us got pretty scared. Some of us even suffered psychological damage. Most of us are suffering some physical ailments, too. The air was pretty crappy for a very long time around our city.
We. Need. This.
We need to see the face of the man who caused all this. We need to hear his voice. We need to know that he's in our prisons, in the drab and dreary confines of the tall grey buildings where we keep people like him.
Not on some Caribbean island, I don't care how austere the surroundings.
He needs to suffer a New York winter. He needs to look out of his cell, if he can, and see the drab grey sky of a snowstorm. He needs to hear the guards, the born and bred NYC Corrections officers, growl and sneer at him. He needs the occasional "accidental" elbow to the head as he's cuffed for court.
We need to know that he knows exactly how hated he is. There's the nub of it. New Yorkers need him to feel the rage he's stirred up, the damage he's done to the cause of billions of peaceful Muslims worldwide.
If for no other reason alone, you cannot hold this trial in the insulated confines of Guatanamo Bay under the auspices of the heavily disciplined command of the Marine guards who will be individually selected for their ability to keep their cool under the circumstances.
For he needs to experience this. And we need to know that he has. We need to see twelve of our own sat in a jury box, glaring at him yet giving him the full benefit of the law in order to give him the freedom of a fair trial, just as our Constitution promises. We need to see a local judge, a man or woman anyone of us could be put in front of, preside over a trial that will be both angry and fair.
If you remove the emotional element of the trial, if you put this in the hands of the Judge Advocate General corps which slants the verdict in the favor of the United States, if in anyway this trial can be spun as a sham, then New Yorkers will never heal. We'll always have in the back of our heads that this was a set-up.
You know how paranoid we New Yorkers can be.
Just as heartland Americans don't want us "librul" East Coasters dictating how to live their lives, so do we not want those yahoos telling us we need to be protected. We face tougher commutes than they'll face whitewater rafting trips or hunting parties. We can handle it.
This is literally a no-brainer, Mr. Holder. We as Americans have the right to face our defendants as much as the defendant has the right to face his accusers. If he is found guilty, as I have no doubt he should be based on the evidence we've seen in public, then the outpouring of relief will be welcome to a city that's struggled even to this day to try to come up with some appropriate way of getting past this tragedy.
And if he is found innocent, as bitter as that pill might be to swallow, at least we'll be able to mourn as one, in person, and not view the proceedings from the sterile confines of a courtroom in the Caribbean and lose something even in the mourning.
And there are eight million of us accusing him. Please, rethink this. We need this. We lost much that day, from 3,000 souls to two landmark buildings to our very innocence and swagger. It would be wrong not to do everything you can to help us heal.