An Islamic scholar from Florida named Marcus Robertson was charged
and convicted of tax fraud and possession of a gun by a convicted felon
and sent to jail in 2011. Since then, the federal government has sought a
“terrorism sentence enhancement” that would keep Robertson in jail for
20 years for the crimes of not giving the government all the money the
government demanded from him, and seeking to exercise his Second
Amendment right after previously having been convicted of a
felony—crimes that, at their heart, are non-violent.
Where did the attempted terrorism enhancement come from? The books Robertson was reading. The Intercept reports:
Robertson’s case attracted national attention after prosecutors
attempted to argue earlier this year that the contents of his book
collection constituted evidence of his connection to terrorism.
Prosecutors singled out roughly 20 titles from the more than 10,000
e-books Robertson owned, highlighted a selection of controversial
passages, and used that to argue that he should be sentenced as though
he were a terrorist.
None of Robertson’s charges — conspiracy to file a false tax return
and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon — were terrorism
Thankfully, this particular federal judge had some sense, and pointed
out the federal government hadn’t produced any evidence Robertson
actually read the controversial passages, and that even if he had, it
would not be unusual for a scholar to have among his read works,
extremist material. I would go one further—even if you’re not a scholar
in a country that says you have a right to free speech and to be secure
in your persons, properties, and papers, that what you read and why is
none of the government’s business and certainly no crime, no matter what
POL note: Recall how many people want to try Dylan Roof as a terrorist. This case of Marcus Robertson, a man who did nothing wrong, is a perfect example of what happens when we view every crime (per-meditated murder in Roof’s case) through the lens of the War on Terror.
They wanted to call him a terrorist because of the books he read.