December 26, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Trial by Piranha

This holiday season, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge reminded us that the War Against Terror is far from over. While visions of sugarplums danced in the heads of children, adults laid awake with images of Orange Alerts and suicide attacks weighing on their minds. The strongest terrorism rumors since 9/11 grounded several Air France flights amidst fears that they might be hijacked. Saddam Hussein is safely locked away, but Osama bin Laden is still out there. Still plotting. Still sowing evil.

If we capture bin Laden alive, what should we do with him? Such a question with regard to Saddam Hussein is problematic, given that the man is the former leader of a sovereign nation. But bin Laden is a nation-less terrorist, an admitted mass murderer, an uncommon criminal. The question of what to do with a captured bin Laden, to me anyway, seems pretty simple: squeeze him like a sponge till every last drop of information bleeds out of him, then toss him into a pool full of piranhas.

But don't ask Howard Dean. The man who so far seems the front-runner to secure the Democratic nomination for president feels that bin Laden, if caught, deserves a trial by jury before we pass such judgment on him. "I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said in an interview published today. "I will have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to ... prejudge jury trials."

I'm all for withholding judgment until a person is found guilty—at least when that person is American, protected by the U.S. Constitution and the concept of "innocent until proven guilty." But when someone admits to intentionally bringing about the deaths of thousands of innocent people, I figure a trial by jury, a trial by tribunal or even a trial by a group of deaf-mute mimes is a waste of good money.

Perhaps more importantly, does a man who wants to give Osama bin Laden a jury trial belong in the White House? Is a man who wants to afford bin Laden the dignity that the terrorist snuffed out of so many poor souls someone who will make our country safer? To me, the answers to those questions are crystal clear, but I'll let you come to your own conclusions.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

Send a Comment

December Columns:

12/31: Happy New Year
12/29: Return of the Oscar King
12/28: The Year in Travel
12/26: Trial by Piranha
12/25: Merry Christmas
12/22: Red Squares
12/21: Havasu Falls
12/20: Last Will & Testament
12/19: Bah Humbug
12/16: Newsworthy
12/15: The "Strick" Dialogues
12/14: Animal-Animal
12/12: Old Memories
12/7: Letters to the Editor
12/5: Greed Strike
12/4: Another Day at the Office
12/3: The "Back" in Quarterback
12/1: Sixty-Four
Previous months in The Archive

Like what you've read?
Find more good reading on

In Association with

(and support future Daily Stricks!)