Advocates of the right to keep and bear arms have long maintained that the text of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”) is not that hard to understand: The right to self-defense is among the chief enumerated rights of all American citizens.
On Friday, November 26, Somali-born Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, parked a van loaded with what he thought was a bomb near Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, Oregon, where the city’s annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony was taking place. He dialed a telephone number that he expected would detonate the bomb. Nothing happened. On the advice of an associate, he stepped out of the car to dial again. At that moment, FBI agents arrested him on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction; if found guilty, he could face life imprisonment.
Daniel Van Pelt, a former member of the New Jersey State Legislature, has been given 41 months in a federal prison for accepting at $10,000 bribe to help a developer get the environmental permits needed for construction along the coast of New Jersey. Undercover FBI informants provided the evidence needed to convict Van Pelt.
The White House is currently facing criticism after a federal jury convicted former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Ghailani of just one out of 285 charges. Critics assert that the single conviction is an example of why suspected terrorists should be tried in military court instead of civilian court. Others, however, cite the conviction as evidence that civilian courts effectively deliver justice.