On free speech and perceived threats, SFPD appears to have its head on straight. Unless we see charges in the coming days against our shoot-em-up 15-year-old, A.G. Jackley appears to have a double standard.
Tangentially Related: I check the voter rolls and find that Ehab Jaber is a registered Republican. So back the truck up and give Marty credit for taking one of his own to court.
Today’s guest is Renée Wise, candidate for Aberdeen school board. Wise talks about her interest in dyslexia, classroom technology, and personalized education. Then Wise answers some questions about gifted education, extracurriculars, open enrollment, and other school board issues.
But first, co-host Spencer Dobson and I recap the March for Science, discuss the impact a government shutdown could have on South Dakota tourism (perhaps averted since our recording by Trump’s skillful caving), and review why it stinks to be poor and transgender or Muslim and armed in Sioux Falls.
And did I mention the Dakota Free Press Tip Jar? Click that link or the lovely Tip Jar in the right sidebar, send some money through PayPal, and we’ll use your contribution to keep the show going… and maybe even make it better! Thanks for listening!
Annette Bosworth famously posed for a cheap campaign photo with a gun and a Bible in her hands. Ehab Jaber walked into the anti-Muslim propaganda fest in Sioux Falls with a Koran in his hand and a gun on his hip (and possibly in a sock holster). Hickey isn’t cutting Jaber slack (he labels Jaber a terrorist when the evidence does not support that conclusion), but…
I’m not all that convinced what he did is all that different from what a lot of flag/gun waving Christians do. This meme illustrates the point.
If the book the gal on the left is holding up says don’t kill the other person, why is she holding that gun? Here’s why? Because since Constantine, the Church has embraced a grave heresy to find justifications to do the very opposite of what Jesus taught. The gal on the left believes her book gives her justifications to kill the other JUST LIKE the gal [referring to another meme] on the right believes her book gives her justifications to kill the other [Steve Hickey, “Our Opportunity to Love on Our Local Terrorist,” The Other Cheek, 2017.04.26].
Neither Bosworth nor Jaber actually made any threat to kill anyone. However, Hickey seems to support my basic contention that carrying and displaying a gun is in itself an expression of a willingness to use deadly force. And Hickey and I agree that such an expression does not fit with the teachings of the Nazarene carpenter.
But then Hickey preaches some real radical Christianity and recommends local Christians love Jaber by bailing him out:
Second, I think it is high time Christians start acting like Christians and that means we start acting like Christ. That means we figure out a way to love this enemy. Missionaries do it all the time… they reach out to those who are hostile to them and who have even tried to kill them. That’s when the Gospel is most powerful. That’s when we are most like Christ. As is this guy is sitting in jail thinking hundreds of local Christians at an event hate him. I hope that is not true. He needs to know Christians love Muslims even though they take issue with Islam.
So how do we love on our local (alleged) terrorist? My suggestion is that we post his $2500 bond and I’ll put forth the first $250. He needs to know there are people who care about him and that they are they very people who he views as enemies. This gesture would send this guy a message in a way that sending him a Bible wouldn’t. It would send him am important message that so far we have failed to communicate to him and others like him.
…But I really ONLY want these donations to come from people who are “friends of Jesus” and preferably Conservative Christians only – it needs to come from us. Mr Jaber needs to think about the fact that he was bailed out by friends of Jesus [Hickey, 2017.04.26].
Now I still have a problem with Hickey’s exhortation to love. He’s still stuck in some contractual love—bail Jaber out, and maybe he’ll realize the Christians at the anti-Islam rally are really great people and Christianity is a superior religion. The truest, most radical Christian loves for love’s sake, with no thought of recompense.
But Hickey’s call to spring Jaber is a more coherent and confident expression of Christian love and faith than any of the Trumpy fearmongering offered at the April 9 anti-Islam event that Jaber found so appalling.
Jaber, like Bosworth, isn’t a terrorist. Jaber, like Bosworth, is just a bit nuts. Hickey isn’t perfect, either, but his Christian advice is worth considering.
As we know, Attorney General Marty Jackley has charged Ehab Jaber with one count of making a terrorist threat. Being a Muslim gun owner’s lawyer will likely be a thankless task… but it may also be an easy win. Let’s review the charge, the law, the arrest affidavit, and the evidence, and see just how flimsy the terrorist threat charge may be.
In his April 21 complaint, Attorney General Marty Jackley says the defendant violated SDCL 22-8-13:
Highlighting the key language from the relevant statutes, the Attorney General contends the defendant “threaten[ed] to commit a crime of violence… with the intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” Making such a terrorist threat is a Class 5 felony—five years, $10K fine, max. The Attorney General’s invocation of the language about “chemical, biological, or radioactive material, or any explosive or destructive device” seems out of place; Jaber displayed none of those items, only firearms, which SDCL 22-1-2 distinguishes from “destructive device” and “explosive.” The more language in SDCL 22-1-2(9) that might describe the defendant’s allegedly threatened crime of violence is “murder, manslaughter,… or any other felony in the commission of which the perpetrator used force, or was armed with a dangerous weapon….”
In the following affidavit in support of the arrest warrant, Sergeant Sean Kooistra of the Sioux Falls Police Department explains what he saw during his interaction with the defendant on April 9 and his subsequent review of three videos on the defendant’s Facebook page.
In paragraph 2, the officer describes the subject entering a parking lot, parking, backing out, driving quickly (but not, apparently, illegally) toward another lot, and parking. The officer deems this behavior “suspicious” but cites no threat.
Paragraph 3 describes no threat, only legal exercise of First and Second Amendment rights.
Paragraph 4 indicates the defendant was evasive about his name but not about the fact that he was armed or that he was recording the event. The officer says the encounter ended without incident.
Paragraph 6 describes on online video in which the defendant makes no threat.
Watch that video at the bottom of my Monday post. “If you really want to be scared,” the defendant says before displaying any of his weapons, placing his entire display in the conditional. He does not point any of the weapons at the camera. He does not hold any of the weapons in a ready-to-shoot gesture. He displays ammunition but loads none of it in his weapons; instead, he places the ammunition back in the storage compartment in his vehicle.
His final words on the video are “This is f—ing bulls—.” He conducts this entire tirade while wearing a t-shirt that (as acknowledged by the officer in paragraph 8) clearly says, “I am only dangerous if you are stupid.”
The defendant says not one word in this video that indicates an intent to fire any of his weapons at anyone at the anti-Islamic event from which he was ejected or at anyone else. Simply, the defendant issues no threat, either verbal or physical. Rather, the defendant mocks those who would consider him a threat.
Paragraph 9 describes a third video in which the defendant describes his perception of the fear felt by the people attending the April 9 event and by the whole of “white America.” This video makes no threat; it shows the defendant’s belief that fear already runs rampant in society and his perception that such fear deserves mockery.
That’s all the evidence the affidavit presents. No evidence shows the defendant engaging in a crime of violence or preparing to commit a crime of violence. The evidence shows the defendant engaging in entirely legal conduct and expressing disdain for, if not disbelief at, the fear his legal conduct and his mere presence appear to arouse in other citizens.
If the above evidence is all the state has, the state had better drop the terrorism charge fast and focus on the meth charge.
Attorney General Marty Jackley and Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman confirm today that Ehab Abdulmutta Jaber, 45, Sioux Falls, has been arrested by the Sioux Falls Police Department and charged with one count of terrorist threat, class 5 felony, punishable by up to 5 years in the state penitentiary and/or $10,000. During a search of Jaber’s residence law enforcement seized firearms as well as methamphetamine.
Charges stem from an alleged incident on April 9, 2017, involving Jaber at a hotel in Sioux Falls. He was observed to have been videotaping an ongoing event with his cell phone and carrying a handgun. He was escorted out of the event, but later was found to be live streaming terrorist threats to the public and brandishing a number of firearms and ammunition [Attorney General’s office, press release, 2017.04.21].
I have little sympathy for a guy with meth in house. But as I contended on The Greg Belfrage Show on Friday before the charges against Jaber were announced, brandishing a weapon, online or in public, inherently threatens violence. Picking up a gun says, “I’m ready to use deadly force.” Displaying a gun says, “Be afraid of me.”
If Jaber can get charged with making terroristic threats by showing how tough he and his arsenal are on Facebook, then folks marching to Starbucks with assault rifles should anticipate a visit from the Attorney General as well.
Ehab Jaber’s Facebook page is down, but as you can imagine, his April 9 video that got him worldwide fame and criminal charges persists. Watch and tell me whom Jaber is threatening:
Heck, he doesn’t even point his guns or put his finger on the trigger the way Lynne DiSanto does.
A man who was asked to leave an anti-Islam speaking event last week after he held up the Quran and was believed to have weapons on his person will not face charges in connection with the incident, a Sioux Falls Police Department spokesman said Monday.
…Sam Clemens, a spokesman with the Sioux Falls Police Department, said security officers at the event believed the man had a weapon at the event and asked him to leave. Clemens said the man left the Hilton Garden Inn South and went to his car.
At that point the man voiced his concern about the tenor of Hadian’s talk titled “Sabotaging America: Islam’s March Towards Supremacy” using Facebook Live. In the video the man pulls out multiple handguns, a shotgun and ammo, which he had in his vehicle. In the video the man curses and says, “be scared,” as he shows the weapons.
Clemens said police and FBI agents met with the man at the event and later on in the evening to verify that he posed no harm to event attendees. Concealed carrying a firearm is legal with a permit in South Dakota, though private business owners can restrict possession in their establishments.
A Muslim man entered a private gathering of Christians in a hotel ballroom in South Dakota, started cursing and livestreaming video on Facebook of the event and then, after he was ushered out, displayed multiple firearms and issued statements the speakers say were a direct threat to their safety.
…“I do believe the off-duty police officer who noticed what was going on is a hero who may have stopped a potential attack,” said Brannon Howse, who was on the podium speaking when Jaber was asked to leave [Leo Hohmann, “Heavily Armed Muslim Warns U.S. Public: ‘Be Terrified’,” World Net Daily, 2017.04.17].
Ehab Jaber has displayed his weapons and rhetoric on Facebook for some time:
Rather than covering his tracks, Jaber is keeping his Facebook page public and displaying his gun pride as unashamedly as Stace Nelson, Jordan Mason, and other South Dakota gun owners. Jaber offers this lengthy response to the white noise (out of Internet politeness, I take the liberty of de-capitalizing what appears on his page in all caps):
i’m sure by now, you probably have seen the picture or video and you’re checking out my fb profile. welcome. relax. it’s not what you think. believe me or not, it’s up to you. i am almost 46. sioux falls has been my home for the last 24 years. as a matter of fact, sioix falls has been home since before i was even born. i am an american. so any call for deportation is just not gonna happen, even with trump in the white house. 80% of my friends are christians. you know what the other 20% is?
i’ve served you and your family, food and drink. i’ve watched over your teenagers when they came to the club for teen night. all common sense says, deactivate my page. shut it down. damage control. buT alas, i’ve done nothing wrong. justlike the fbi detectives told me already. i have nothing to hide. so go ahead, take the fb free tour. if this fb page is no longer up, know that i did not deactivate it. the shirt i’m wearing in the video, i have worn out before many times. some of you might have seen me at huhot wearing the same shirt or a pink one, with my .45 calliber kimber ultra carry stainless…. i know, very nice pistol… some of you might have seen me while getting their hair cut at the mansalon. some might have seen me at walmart or hyvee. and many of you have seen me at the gun range, with my entier arsenal. it’s not for you. i armed myself against stupidity and against what might become one day an oppressive government. because come hell or high water, this american who happens to be a muslim, ain’t getting on no bus and ain’t going to no camp. the double negatives are intentional. to appeal to some in the crowd. if you set out to harm my son or anyone i love, bare in mind, 80% of which are christians, i will do what any of you would do in that case. you will also quickly find out how dillusional and paranoid you are. my fb page is open to you. and will open up my home to you if you want to have a conversation. but stupidity will be met with absolute intolerance to it.
love peace and chicken grease
don’t fall victim to fear. there is no dignity in fear [Ehab Jaber, Facebook post, 2017.04.17].
I maintain as I have in previous discussions that carrying around that many weapons serves little good and much ill. Both the carrier and the people around him are in greater danger of being shot than if the carrier’s guns were not present. That’s why I oppose guns in the Capitol, in courthouses, and in classrooms. If I see Jaber at Huhot with his pistol, I’ll tell him that gun isn’t going to protect him from the biggest threat he faces at that moment, the Five Village Fire Szechuan sauce.
But Jaber is expressing the same misguided armed response to fear and objectionable politics as South Dakota’s avid gun advocates:
Shooting things is a bad solution. Carrying guns and thus threatening to shoot things signals a failure of imagination and faith in civil society. If anyone had shown up at the anti-xenophobia protest here in Aberdeen a couple weeks ago, I suspect organizers would have told the gun-toters to beat it.
But if “Gunny Granny” can show that bad faith and bring her guns from home, why can’t Ehab Jaber? I can offer you a consistent response as to why Granny and Ehab ought to put down their weapons and seek more civil interaction with their neighbors. South Dakota’s white-wing gun nuts cannot. Whatever the Second Amendment covers, it applies equally to white Christian grannies and brown Muslim cooks.