28 March 2007

I Have a Question for Betty . . .

Recall the story of the six flying imams, who were leaving MSP after the Islamic equivalent of a prayer revival and aroused the suspicion of passengers and employees of US Airways by their behavior in the gate area and on board the plane. After their carefully-scripted news conferneces had run throught eth news cycle, no one was shocked to hear that they are selectively embracing Western values by filing suit against every deep pocket in sight. The new twist comes from the fact that they intend to also sue the passengers that alerted the flight and ground crews to the situation.

You can say that it's a ridiculous move, and the suit will probably be tossed by the first judge that hears it, but to even get to a point in the process where an attorney can request summary dismissal, the defendants will be in for a lengthy and expensive journey through the legal system. Fortunately for the "John Doe" defendants that CAIR and the imams intend to sue, a lawyer from Faegre & Benson in Minneapolis has decided to represent them pro bono. Our hats are off to you, Mr. Nolting.

The crass intimidation of the suit has already produced a legislative initiative in Washington: The Rail and Public Transportation Security Act (HR 1401) was amended to include protections for the travelling public who notify authorities of suspicious activity and happily it passed, 304-121:
(T)he Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007, provides that any person who makes a voluntary disclosure regarding suspicious activity that constitutes a possible threat to transportation security to appropriate security and law enforcement authorities shall be immune from civil liability for such disclosure. The amendment protects any such disclosure relating to threats to transportation systems, passenger safety or security, or possible acts of terrorism. The amendment also shields transportation systems and employees that take reasonable actions to mitigate perceived threats. Finally, the motion authorizes courts to award attorneys fees to defendants with immunity.
Both the government and common sense request of the travelling public notification of persons, behaviors and activities that they consider suspicious in all parts of the transportation infrastructure. This act protects those individuals from legal action. Who could be against this? Well, Betty McCollom, my representative, for one.

I have sent an e-mail to her office asking why she opposed this and will post the reply when received.

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