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In Print: On News Stands Now

SOME WORDS FROM A JUDGE

by Tumbleweed Smith

People say significant things all the time and usually they go unnoticed. This came to my attention the other day and I have used it in a couple of speeches.

Remember the guy who got on a plane with a bomb built into his show and tried to light it?

Did you know his trial is over?

Did you know he was sentenced? Did you see or hear any of the Judge's comments on sentencing?

Prior to the sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say.

Richard Reid admitted his allegiance to Osama Bin Laden and defiantly stated, 'I will not apologize for my actions. I am at war with your country.'

Judge William Young, in his Boston courtroom, then said: 'Mr. Reid, the court sentences you to life in prison. In my court, life sentences are real life sentences.

'Mr. Reid, we are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. You are not an enemy combatant. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

'So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a terrorist, a species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders.

'In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and TV crews were and he said, 'you're no big deal.'

'You are no big deal, Mr. Reid.

'I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty of doing. It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it from sea to shining sea. We Americans are all about freedom. We will bare any burden, pay any price, to preserve our freedom.

'See that flag, Mr. Reid. That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag stands for freedom and it always will.

'Mr. Custody Officer, stand him down!'

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