The tragic Boston Marathon bombings have generated powerful conversations about homegrown terrorism versus attacks by foreigners. About how easy it is to jump to conclusions in the wake of disaster, and about how difficult it is these days to feel truly safe.
I wonder, then, if this isn't the perfect weekend to attend one of a series of forums related to the controversial National Defense Authorization Act, the military spending bill that includes a provision allowing the executive branch to detain US citizens indefintely and without due process.
Three Mainers, all activists for prisoner-rights, will be honored by the Maine Civil Liberties Union on Friday, with the MCLU's Roger Baldwin Award, named for a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Reverend Stan Moody (a former prison chaplain and former state legislator), Dr. Janis Petzel (president of the Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians), and Emily Posner (with the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition) are being recognized "for their extraordinary contributions to the campaign to end solitary confinement in Maine," according to an MCLU press release.
Maine has an online "freedom watchdog," available on YouTube, with very interesting viewpoints and questions. While perhaps more right-of-center than others, Jarrod LeBlanc nevertheless takes a fairly even-keeled approach to issues, and is direct and clear with his concerns.
Check him out!
I spent a night in a replica of a Guantánamo Bay prison cell last week, time during which I reflected on the perilous status of the men held at the offshore prison even the president says he wants to close. They are held in legal limbo, not charged with anything, rarely, if ever, having seen a judge - and if so, then only a military judge whose chain of command starts at the president and works its way down (not an independent judge who is a member of the third branch of government).