Cynthia McKinney - A Minor Variation
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While we await Cynthia McKinney's planned news conference on her alleged assault of a U.S. Capitol Police Officer (a "mistake" about which Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi advises we not "make a big deal"), let's conduct a little Freaky Friday thought experiment.
Let's pretend the officer were a black woman and the Representative were a white man. A Republican white man. Let's say John Linder, fellow Georgian, fellow member of the freshman class of 1992.
I generally don't buy the whole "what if the situation were reversed" supposition when argued that the hypothetical is instructive as to how the actual should necessarily be handled. Still, let's pretend for a moment, just to envision how unrecognizable the situation would be.
John Linder rushes into the Capitol with a fresh haircut and no ID pin. Upon bustling past the checkpoint, he's yelled at by security but refuses to stop until a female police officer catches up with him and grabs his arm. Linder breaks her grasp, whirls around with cell phone in hand, slugs her in the gut, and storms off.
Would Linder get away with a statement without a trace of apology? Would there be a roughly even balance between appeals to the woman to press charges and claims of overreaction, even racism on the part of the officer? Would Nancy Pelosi find it "no big deal"?
I submit that Linder would currently be locked up, having already been forced into scribbling a hasty resignation, and would be awaiting criminal prosecution. Pelosi & Co. would be drafting rafts of upside-down memoranda about the festering culture of violence among the Republican party, suggesting for good measure that the incident is allegorical of the GOP's bloodlust overseas. Congressional calendars would be wiped clean so that press conference upon photo op could be accommodated, rhetoric about respect for women, minorities, and authority replacing quibbles over immigration policy. Massive protests would break out, with sporadic rioting in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Paris. Every Republican in the House would be hounded into offering his fullest and damningest condemnation of everything John Linder ever stood for, lest they be shredded in the press as a closet wife-batterer, hate criminal, and scofflaw. Markos Moulitsas, Arianna Huffington, and Keith Olberman would all have simultaneous just-won-the-lottery-style heart attacks. Conspiracy theories would abound about why Linder actually punched the cop ("Was he on drugs? Was he smuggling something bulky under his jacket so he couldn't be subjected even to a brief encounter with security? Who put him up to it? How high up does this thing go?"). Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer would be "troubled". Hollywood would kibosh Rocky 6 out of respect to the victim (well, and perhaps to all of us). The Dixie Chicks would organize a Cop-Aid benefit concert to finance the abusee's medical bills. Newt Gingrich would fall into a deep depression as the Republican Congressional majority he orchestrated would now assuredly be lost, possibly for all time.
It would be, in short, a "big deal".
Via Pirate's Cove, by way of AllahPundit (blogsitting for Michelle), the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Capitol Police will seek an arrest warrant for McKinney next week. That's all well and good, but why not today? The woman's clearly a menace.
Meanwhile, I'm no lawyer, but this appears to be the relevant section of the criminal code (relevant to anyone who actually did what McKinney is alleged to have done, anyway), by reference covering assault of U.S. Capitol Police Officers.
Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees
(a) In General. - Whoever -
(1) forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person designated in section 1114 of this title while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties ...
shall, where the acts in violation of this section constitute only simple assault, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, and in all other cases, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
(b) Enhanced Penalty. - Whoever, in the commission of any acts described in subsection (a), uses a deadly or dangerous weapon (including a weapon intended to cause death or danger but that fails to do so by reason of a defective component) or inflicts bodily injury, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
If McKinney did indeed punch this federal law enforcement officer, she'd better hope she didn't inflict bodily injury.
[The conspiratorial Eugune Volokh advises, "The statutory upper limits in federal statutes are almost never actually given, at least unless the defendant has a long criminal history. If you want to get a better sense for the likely sentence that an ordinary person in McKinney's shoes would get, you'd have to look at the relevant U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (which are now advisory, not mandatory, but do represent likely actual sentences)."]
Update: Matter resolved. Via Expose the Left, McKinney's lawyer explains that she is simply a "victim of being in Congress while black." That might just be the mother of all race cards.
Note to Cynthia McKinney: YOU'RE ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING A FEDERAL COP!
Not everything is a race thing. Some things are just violent criminal acts that have to be answered for.
Handcrafted by Flip on March 31, 2006 |
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