Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I report what I'm about to show in this post as an American citizen and a citizen who is fully aware of the mistakes that have been made by many leaders of both political parties in the last eight years in America. I'm also aware of some things accomplished for which I'm grateful. It IS a mixed bag in my way of thinking.

I am far too cynical to believe in ONLY pure motives by the politicians on either side of the asile in the past or in the present. [As well as having a knowledge of the fallen human heart including my own.] So, while I honestly admit some disappointment with some of the policies of my former President George W. Bush and with some of the policies of my present one, President Barach H. Obama, I do respect both because of the office they held/hold and have no desire to be uncivil about either as many Americans are prone to be on both sides of the political aisle. As an American I WILL disagree with policies. As an American I WILL vote my conscience. But I will not disrespect either as an American.

I do wish, however, to call attention to moments when I can be proud of my country. This is one of those moments. I hope you enjoy the reading of it.

Also know that I'm taking a break from the computer for the next several days. Why? I need it.

The following is what was said by Judge William Young, of the US District Court prior to sentencing the terrorist Richard C. Reid who has become known as the shoe bomber because he attempted to board an airliner with explosives in his tennis shoes. Upon conviction and prior to sentencing the Judge had the following exchange with Reid.

Reid was asked by the Judge if he had anything to say. After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid went on to admit his "allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah." [Reid did engage in a diatribe about the USA having slaughtered 2 million children in Iraq and slaughtering many other Muslims in many other countries.] He then rather defiantly stated, "I think I will not apologize for my actions for I am at war with your country." Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below: Judge Young said:

"January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid. Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you. On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutively. (That's 80 years.) On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed.'

"The Court imposes upon you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.'

"Now, let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier, you are not----- 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 the TV crews were, and he said: 'You're no big deal.'You are no big deal. What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing? "

"I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know. 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 everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom, so that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges. We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.'

"Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America , the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.'

"See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America . That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will.'

"Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down."
____________________________________ ______

WOW. Thank you Judge William Young.

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


I wish more of our people had a similar respect, apart from political and other bias, for elected leadership as you obviously have.

I would also hope to have a judiciary of the calibre of Judge William Young.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie John,

Unfortunately not all are and for my desires not enough of our judges are of that calibre.

Aussie J, I'm going to be away from the computer for a few days for personal reasons but you guys feel free to discuss any issue that any comment may bring up. The post is just a spring board this time.

I told my wife, Mary, I sometimes wish I lived within driving distance to you, Chris, Rodney and a few others who often comment here so we could gather regularly for coffee, fellowship and discussion of issues. Man...what a treat that would be.

Aussie John said...


Your last paragraph: You have no idea what a mouthful you just said when it applies to our situation; fly might be more appropriate for me.

Kate Johnson said...

Praise God for men like Judge Young. And as you say, Paul, too bad there are not more like him. We have too quickly forgotten 9-11 in this country, and it amazes me it happended so fast... "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."

Steve Miller said...

Brother Paul,

Amen and Amen. It is amazing the weight of words delivered with a little backbone and a conviction of truth. After serving for over 30 years in the military I could not have said it better. I agree with an earlier comment about forgetting the past. Many Americans forget how quickly Americans forget. Thanks for the timely input on the comments of Judge Young. I will be in Tulsa in November and would love to come visit you in Norman. Blessings to you and Mary.

Steve in San Antonio