Terrorists Strike Christiansburg

The authorities in Christiansburg and Pearisburg can finally use some of that anti-terrorism grant money that Congress has spread around the country. They nailed two “terrorists” in the midst of an attack on the local Wal-Mart and K-Mart. The two Pembroke teenagers left defaced playing cards mimicking the movie “The Dark Knight” in the stores. They were arrested, admitted everything . . . and were charged with conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

The cards had “Joker” written on them and the police considered them threatening. While the threats on the Christiansburg cards were less specific than the ones found in Pearisburg, they also referred to Aug. 15.

This is obviously a stupid teen trick and should have been the subject of police intervention, but conspiracy to commit terrorism? What do you get in Christiansburg for a late night TP attack on a friend’s house? Use of a WMD?

For the full story, click here.

15 thoughts on “Terrorists Strike Christiansburg”

  1. Chris,

    You have just added to my fears with that reference to knitting needles! Did you know many cities have knitting (excuse me, terrorist) groups called Stich and Bitch?

  2. Are we sure this isn’t ‘terroristic’ threats, not ‘terrorism’? Maybe the reporter got it wrong.

    On the broader issue, there’s definitely a lot of ignorance in the media getting spread to the general public. A few years ago I saw a local TV reporter who kept referring to assault rifles as “weapons of mass destruction”. Uh, no.

    But how many people heard that and then used it themselves later. Next thing you know knitting needles are WMD since, you know, your grandmother could stab someone to death with one.

  3. Mojo,
    Thank you for your post in response to Jill, on the police. It was a cogent and succinct summation of the problematic state of the Law Enforcement Agencies in the US. I agree with it entirely.

  4. Puzzling,
    I can understand how the communities near VA TECH could be a little “trigger happy” because of the tragedy that they suffered, but the police and justice authorities must not be swayed by public fear when dealing with minor criminals. These two teens cannot be made an example of an over the top prosecution.

  5. Christiansburg and Pearisburg are adjacent to Virginia Tech, and local authorities may feel a high level of pressure to counteract real (and imagined) threats to the public after the mass homicide in 2007. I am somewhat familiar with this area, and with the exception of Blacksburg would not describe the broader community as one collectively inclined to tolerate nonconformists.

    The broader question I worry about is how terrorism continues to be redefined to encompass an ever-broader set of criminal actions and thought crimes. Over time, I expect the public to become accustomed to the terrorism label being applied to a whole range of activities, from environmental and anti-war protests happening now, to organized crime, violent crime, and ultimately even to certain categories of white collar crime.

  6. mnoble –

    “I hope it is better where you live …”

    No, I’m here in the USA so I know of what you speak. I just wish that there was a law that requires certain demonstrative knowledge about the issues before one can actually vote on them. A little test that determines that, “Yes, you are allowed to vote on what happens inside your apartment complex, but nothing else beyond it.” If you score higher, you get to vote on what happens in your neighborhood, and so on …

    No, it may not be democratic but it would stop people from voting nationally simply based on what their pastor tells them is important to them.

    I think we likely agree on many things, mnoble. My tolerance for ignorance is also quite low.

    Also, one of the trick questions on the ‘voting test’ should have to do with your favorite reality TV show … if you check anything other than none-of-the-above you automatically revert back to only voting on your apartment complex …

  7. rafflaw: True they like spreading the pork for their own benefit but even more disturbing and well documented is that of the hundreds or thousands of pages they pass they only read their page or two of pork. In those other hundreds of pages they don’t read are what enables these local (and national) tragedies. Evidence they don’t read the bills is the fact that some of these bills were not published in time for them to read before they were passed. They are driving the country with their eyes closed. Please check out the proposed “read the bills act” at: http://www.downsizedc.org/page/rtba_legislation

    Jill: Please give your representative and Nancy Pelosi a call and let them know you feel betrayed. I have and I think that does some good, at least it gives their staffers something to think about. This is not about right versus left it is about good versus evil. Hitler was “right wing” and Stalin was “left wing” and yet they were both immensely evil. Running from the devil you do know to the devil you don’t know will just get you a different devil. There is little difference between National Socialism and Communism, they both serve the elite at the expense of the average person.

    Mojo: Many do live in fear but my personal experience is that most live in ignorance and apathy. The average person has not a clue what is going on, they live only in their own immediate lives. If it has not touched them directly it is of no concern to them. They prefer fiction to reality, Police Dramas to real stories of police abuse. A very low percentage bother to vote and few of those do so even halfway informed. I hope it is better where you live but here I am living in a sea of willful ignorance. I am afraid it is going to take as much to wake up the American People as it did to wake up the Germans and Russians (and in both countries there are still people who praise both Hilter and Stalin).

  8. Jill said:

    “But if you look at the whole picture of “justice” in the US right now I think you see a police and judicial force arrayed against its own citizens.”

    I’ve worked with a number of law enforcement people over the years, and while individually many can be funny, engaging, and use common sense when dealing with problems or problem-people, when they are grouped together viewing themselves as a team, or a force, far too often it really can become an “us-against-them” mentality and that needs to change because Jill is absolutely right:

    If it’s not a police state yet, we’re well on the way toward one.

    They are supposed to be serving the public and not beating the crap out of us. Too often they collectively view the public as stupid or “part of the problem”, and too often again they see themselves as somehow dominating over the civilian populace. As Cartman from South Park would say, “Respect my authori-tay!” Except it’s no laughing matter to see misfits with weapons and badges crossing the line because somebody is audacious enough to exercise their own rights, or even to dare to peacefully disagree. Out come the pepper-sprays, batons and tasers, or worse … and then the lies on the police reports will follow.

    Comply or else.

    I saw an officer the other day who was dressed in an outfit that looked disturbingly like something an SS Stormtrooper would wear, with the pants tucked down inside ‘jack boots’ (yes, mnoble, it’s eerily familiar). He was dressed like he was ready for urban warfare. And speaking of Batman, he had a utility belt that would make the caped-crusader envious–all sorts of intimidating weapons and gear around his waist. Pretty creepy.

    When did seeing police start making us feel less safe? I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work.

    And Jill is also right about the ’06 election. We were had.

    mnoble –

    I don’t know if it’s so much apathy as it is just fear. I’m not so sure that the FBI, for example, was terribly upset when it was revealed they keep tabs on ‘dissenters’ and build files on people at political rallies. I think it helps keep a lot of people inside, hiding under the bed.

  9. hello
    let me tell you about terrorisim, first i lost custody of my son after having him for seven years nether him or my self had ever been in trouble and i had worked at the same job and we lived at the same address the whole time,i lost him in a hearing that was suppose to be a mediation review of his school grades and at the time he was student of the month and on the honor roll,at the next hearing they shuffled me and the other party into a little court room at the end of the hall where nether the judge or the mediater in the case was present in fact there was not even an attorney in the court room ,and during this hearing the other party held up asealed envelope that was said to be for the mediator the judge accepted this envelope and needless to say i lost and the reason given was that i had in the courts oppinion been an excellent father and had done a wonderful job rasing my son but the fact was that my son was at the age where he needed more then a camp trailer at mossdale,this was never even mentioned in the court room in fact it is not even true,i was a mobile home in a mobile home park and with all the rights that residency law allows for,end the end they locked all 32 leased lots tenants out after we had evacuated for a flood from the san joaquin river,they say we abandoned our homes some of us had lived there over 40 years i being a new comer only living there for eleven years,they say weabandoned our homes then bull dozed them with out even one single legal notice,nor was i given a dime for my loss.thank you city of lathrop california,your politacal future is hanging on a thread ,what next march us in to gas chambers,you can pass any municapal ordinance you like but im afraid in this country the constitution is the law of the land not you,and even though i cant even get an attorney to return my call or if they even did i counldnt pay for one,there will come a time in this great nation of ours when we must look at our patriotic ancestors whom we hold in such high reguard as well as the countless thousands that have given there life in order to preserve the constitution and our freedom,we must some day take from there example what freedom cost if not in there honor our childrens future,to insure they are not victim to tyranny suchy as you continuly exibit,in my eyes you are the terrorist,you would also in my imagination some day be held accountable for your crime even if it is just made for allo to see your moral conduct and ability as a public official be shown for what it is ,crimminal,
    yours truly
    kurt buckler
    10 west mossdale rd space 14 lathrop ca, 95330

  10. Sorry, I didn’t mean “arrest” of Mr. Ivins, I meant the closing of the case with total blame for everything laid at his feet.

  11. rafflaw,

    That was very interesting about the Blue Angels. I can see why the woman was afraid as this govt. has terrified our populace. I think they’re doing it now. I’ve been hearing a lot on bioterrorism lately which neatly correspondes with the arrest of “dead men don’t tell tales” Ivins.


    I think people do care. We came out in record numbers in 06 with a real intent to put things right. Our Congress betrayed us (with some exceptions). As to how to get more people involved I do think left-wing groups should develop more people skills (or they need to get more inflitrators, because those people are good at personal interaction)!

    But what I mean is this. There is a very ascetic, joyless, mindless committment to cause that is supposed to take precedence over friendship, sleep, food, fun, that I’ve experienced in left wing groups. It’s almost a form of religious asceticism in a secular atmosphere. I would suggest that leftist groups could be more friendly, less worried about petty power struggles and bizarre measurements of ideological purity, less demanding of a total commitment that the Chinese govt. would be proud of getting. Joy, kindness and silliness and rational thought are missing from this society. You can beat “the man” with these qualities. They may not be sufficent conditions, but they are necessary.

  12. I think this is more a case of congressmen spreading pork than not reading the bill. The local police and States Attorney are the ones who charged these kids with terrorism. Jill, these kinds of over charging could just be the spreading of fear among the populace. 3 years ago I was on Navy Pier in Chicago and the Blue Angels were practicing over th lake for the upcoming Air and Water Show and when one of the Blue Angel jets buzzed the pier, one lady wondered aloud if we were being “attacked again”! I shook my head in disbelief but this regime has put serious time and money into keeping the masses afraid. If these kids can be charged with terrorism, what happens at Halloween when some windows get soaped? Do they charge them with using chemical weapons?? January cannot come fast enough.

  13. This is what happens when you have congresspersons who neither read nor ponder the laws they pass before they pass them. We are experiencing a near complete failure of the political system do to the almost complete apathy of the American People. Fortunately a decent Congress could repeal all of the monstrously bad laws that have been passed in last few years in one single vote. But how are we going to get a decent Congress when the overwhelming majority of people just don’t care enough to put much if any effort into getting one? Anyone have any good ideas about how to get the People to care enough before we all end up in concentration camps held on terrorism charges without bond? I feeling like it’s 1930’s Germany, and that’s not a good feeling.

  14. I had the opportunity to hear three people speak on the issue of police and prosecutorial budgets being cut. Two of them, Jack Goldsmith and former US attorney, Dan Bogden could not be descirbed as wild eyed liberals. The third, David Harris who writes on, “Police Behavior and Regulation”, whom I think of as liberal, cannot be called a “cop hater”.

    I asked each person why he thought the money in justice and law enforcemnt was being put into counterproductive areas (and the counterproductive aspect was part of each man’s evaluation of current trends, not my bias in questioning) and not being given to first responders, port security etc. and why US attorney office budgets were being cut back. Dan Bogden said he really didn’t know. It didn’t make sense. Jack Goldsmith said he didn’t know because those were policy questions and he didn’t think about policy (I believe this was a lie). David Harris said he wasn’t certain either.

    I bring this up by way of saying these spending priorities are coming from the top. I think these priorities speak for themselves.

  15. Teens I know have seen “The Dark Knight” five times in three days from its opening (and they planned to see it more!) with the Joker being their favorite character by far. Surely some of the police must be parents of teens or at least know some teenagers. If they’re 20 + they can remember being a teen. I’m not faulting police for checking into something that MAY have been serious. I am faulting “the burgs” for once investigating the matter, charging teens for terrorism.

    Law enforcement is out of wack in this country. Resources are put into uparming and upcharging. That is where the money is and I think that in part explains the terroist charges. But if you look at the whole picture of “justice” in the US right now I think you see a police and judicial force arrayed against its own citizens.

    If you look at the number of agencies spying on our citizens, so many, that the same information is coming in multiple times. If you look at the amount of armor these civilian forces carry which varies little from military armament. If you look at the ease with which weapons are used against our civilian population and then you look at the directives from the whitehouse to use all this power against the populace–at this point I think it’s fair to conclude we do live in a police state. Those plans, those orders where sent from the top. They filter down in Blackwater “training” camps for municipal police depts and money for “terrorism” but not for citizen protection.

    Others have pointed out the need for our population to “WAKE UP”. I can’t agree more. We have to band together to demand new priorities from “law and order”. I would suggest impeaching dick cheney, then george bush is an important part of the return of our rights.

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