Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why we read “terrorists” their Miranda rights

I don’t understand why reading Miranda rights to a “terrorist” suspect is so controversial.
I think it is because people on the right immediately hear the word “terrorist” — ignore the word “suspect” — and then demand to know why we are “giving rights” to terrorists who are trying to kill us.
But that is not the way one should look at it. We are not “giving rights” to criminal suspects. We are agreeing not to take away rights which we rightfully believe belong to all people regardless of their guilt, innocence, nationality or immigration status. These “rights” are not for the criminal suspects, they are for us. They are not meant to shield the guilty from facing justice, but rather to shield us from the shame and stigma of putting innocent people behind bars.
You see, these “rights” say more about us as a people than they say about the criminal suspects. We won’t take these “rights” away because of who we are. We are good people who do not believe in putting innocent people in jail and we will take the necessary steps to help insure that such mistakes are rarely made and are quickly rectified when they do occur. At least, that is the noble of intent of reading suspects their ‘rights’.
So if the thought of giving a criminal undeserved rights makes you agitated, just remember that is not what it is all about. We do it because we are a great country. So stop telling me that is not how they do it in other countries. Those other countries should strive to be more like us, not the other way around.

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